By Shereen Shabnam
As a Jury of the Middle East Car of the Year Award (MECOTY), I compared notes with other jury members and we collective agreed that while Volvo Cars have long been known for their safety and steadiness, more recently the new style and performance elements seen in their new models has given them a new edge in the SUV segment.
However, we were not the only jury to vote for the XC60 as it took away accolades in other parts of the world as well. In the Middle East, the Volvo XC60 was named Jury Car of the Year by MECOTY’s jury panel during the Abu Dhabi Motor Show week when they also received the Midsize Premium SUV award. The XC60 also took home the prestigious North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award in addition to the World Car of the Year 2018 at the New York Auto Show.
I drove the new XC60 in Dalaman and into the mountains near Marmaris in Turkey. The premium SUV has an athletic sculpture with a subtle, timeless quality while the interior is a masterful composition of well-resolved architecture and the very latest technology perfectly blended together.
Driving through different road terrains from Dalaman to the Topgozu Canyon area and then to Marmaris, Akyaka and then stopping at Sakar Hill, we had a commanding view of the road ahead in a functional and aesthetically pleasing cabin while enjoying the comfortable ride. The roads gave us the opportunity to use the Pilot Assist, Volvo’s advanced semi-autonomous driver assistance system, which takes care of steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 130 km/h.
The new stylish and dynamic SUV is fully loaded with new technology. Steer Assist has been added to the ground-breaking City Safety system. A new safety system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation uses steer assist to help mitigate head-on collisions, while Volvo’s Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS) now uses Steer Assist functionality to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions.
Upgraded and improved as well is the driver infotainment and connected services offer, Sensus, and the Volvo On Call app, smartphone integration with CarPlay and Android Auto. Plus the new safety features provide the driver with automatic steering assistance or support to help avoid potential collisions.
Power and performance is also worth mentioning as the new XC60 has Volvo’s award-winning T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid at the top of the powertrain range, delivering 407 hp and acceleration from 0 -100 Km in just 5.3 seconds. The new CleanZone four-zone climate system removes harmful pollutants and particles from outside the cabin to deliver fresh air on the inside.
The City Safety feature has been updated in the XC60 to include steering support, which engages when automatic braking alone would not help avoid a potential collision. In such circumstances, the car will provide steering assistance to avoid the obstacle ahead and avoid collisions with vehicles, pedestrians and large animals.
Volvo Cars has also added a system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which helps drivers to avoid collisions with vehicles in an oncoming lane. Then there is the optional Blind Spot Information System, which alerts drivers to the presence of vehicles in their blind spot and includes steer assist functionality that steers the car back into its own lane.
The picturesque drive in different terrains in the XC60 was a memorable experience and allowed us to enjoy the car to its full potential. It is suitable for executives, working mothers and anyone looking for a SUV that combines the best of space, style and perform