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HomeEditors PicksDown memory lane in the talking car, the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge

Down memory lane in the talking car, the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge

Volvo is making positive strides with stylish cars like the 2024 XC60 T8. This happy family chariot took me on nostalgic trip down memory lane, both literally and figuratively, writes Prashirwin Naidu.

In a week of so much insight and wisdom, I encountered many people from my past who shaped me in the most profound way. There’s still plenty of kilometres ahead, though.

The chariot I drove last week was the car with plenty of talk: the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge. I went back in time. This amazing car reminded me of the beauty of my many friends and mentors who believed in me when I was a head full of dreams – plenty of dreams to fulfil, still.

Sometimes life is sad. People, in the words of pop band Visage, fade to grey. Let them. Let bygone be bygones. The ones that love you stay. For those that don’t, silence is golden.  As I ponder behind the wheel, I wish no ill upon them. Malice, have I none. Why let the soul burn when there’s good on the planet?

I am human; cars are an escape. The XC60 T8 Recharge was mine. You see, every car tells a story from one’s perspective. I cherish the idea that a car is like a best friend. One that lights the soul on fire and is always a faithful companion when needed to go anywhere the heart desires.

Swedish Delight gracefully meandering the winding roads in Sweden.

Sometimes, as Freddie Mercury once sang, I feel slightly mad. Well, my dad Edwin Naidu has a zany, crazy streak. I guess it is in the jeans, er, genes. I wonder if cars could come to life.

Herbie was a movie I grew up on. Oh boy, how I wished I had a car, best friend. Imagine if you could talk to it like the classic hit show ‘Knight Rider‘ with David Hasselhoff and KITT.

I always dreamed of that one wish, and of course, taking a trip down the memory lane, I’d fantasise about being the coolest kid in school, having a talking car that could fly off buildings, talk to me all the time, and protect me 24/7. I’d be too cool for school, so I thought.

My uncle Aldrin once wrote a speech about flying cars in 2000. He was pretty fly. He also left us too soon. Anyway, I felt super cool this week in the VolvoXC60 T8 Recharge. Maybe it was more dialled down. Of course, no explosions or bullets were implicated. But ever-so-often, one gets a test car and fawns over it – it’s obsessive, to be honest.

It runs in the DNA; my late uncle Morgan Naidu Junior was a motoring journalist. As a pioneer, he injected passion into the motoring industry. I remember Morgan doing a video review on the Volvo XC60 almost 17 years ago for Ignition GT. Time flies. That Volvo looked old-school and suited that era, but it was not as handsome as it is today.

Don’t Hassle The Hof, David Hasselhoff and KITT from the 80s hit show ‘Knight Rider’.

In fact, it’s like an ugly duckling. However, it’s grown up into a beautiful swan. I always liked the Ugly Duckling story. My mother used to read that to me as a child. Good memories, Mom.  

But to cut it short, Volvo is making positive strides; their cars are stylish, and the 2024 XC60 T8 was the sweet spot for me. The looks of it enamoured me. Its regal charm follows in the footsteps of its bigger brother, the XC90.

A striking colour called Vapour Grey adorned the body of the XC60 T8, paired with striking 21-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, which created an allure of simple, timeless elegance that’s not over the top.

As your eyes wander about like a kid at a candy store, the front end blends an aggressively-looking face with some modern fine lines. There are Thor Hammer LED headlamps in front, an official Volvo term. Lovely indeed.

The stance sits well as if it’s ready to pounce and make a move. A sleek silhouette follows through towards the rear end.

The cabin is nothing short of luxury. Scandinavian minimalism is the name of the game, yet it could use some fancy thrills, like the Mercedes-Benz GLC, with its ambient lighting and modern-fancy flair.

However, the Swedish delight is cosy. It is kitted out with plush Nappa Leather Charcoal seats. One could fall asleep, as I did upon charging the vehicles multiple times this week. Taking four hours long was well worth it. I managed to work and nap, what a beautiful combination.

Wildcards include heated seats for front and rear passengers and a piping-hot heated steering wheel. Your winters will be warmed up. The infotainment system is powered by Google, and navigation is available. It’s user-friendly, and driving modes and everything else can be accessed via it.

Cosy, comfy and simplistic!

Now for the fun bits, our test unit had a banging Bowers and Wilkins sound system installed. It was one of the best sound systems I’ve ever heard. The bass is fantastic. I better book my Bluetooth hearing aids now.

With a panoramic sunroof, there’s plenty of room for rear occupants, and luggage space is ample, offering 488 litres with all seats up and 1410 litres with all of them stowed down. The safety systems are equally impressive. It has semi-autonomous driving capabilities and multiple driving aids. One has to trust the vehicle, I guess.

To name a few, the Volvo XC60 has adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and auto brake while reversing. If one gets too close, the Volvo sweeps in like a best friend in a brawl and saves the day. Equipped with six airbags and having an NCAP safety rating of five, the Volvo XC60 is safe.

The only qualm about this vehicle is its resale value. Depreciation is not easy, especially if you’re the first owner to take the hit. But apart from that, it’s worth every cent. I must applaud the Swedish brand for crafting this happy family chariot.

Talking numbers, it is ludicrously fast! A 0-100km/h sprint in 4.8 seconds, thanks to a 107-kilowatt electric motor kicking out 309Nm of torque, combined with a 2l turbo-charged-petrol unit with four cylinders, that produces up to 228kW and 400Nm of torque.

With both working like ebony and ivory in perfect harmony, power is channelled to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It gushes an incredible power output of 340kW and 709Nm of torque.

The fuel economy is reasonable. If one drives with a light foot in Hybrid mode, one can yield low figures of 3.3l per 100km. Impressive right? I can have my cake and eat it too. But alas, once the electric range of 65km is drained, you’ll have to rely on the petrol engine.

Still, cruising in Hybrid mode allows you to drive in silence for the first 45km/h; once that is passed, the petrol motor kicks in. Regenerative braking is also instilled into the system. I got 9l per 100km from driving more spiritedly. To increase the electric range and produce low fuel economy, one would have to charge the 18.8kWh battery.

Shining with style, the Volvo XC60 T8 rides on 21-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.

The XC60 T8 is blessed with sporty flair but can be comfortable. It’s enjoyable, fast, and makes the heart skip a beat. It’s agile enough for straight roads and some winding ones but beware of the corners. Do not drive this like a BMW M3; you may go sideways in a not-so-cool kind of way. You get my drift. But it’s fun, perfect for someone who wants speed and comfort intertwined into one.

To buy the Volvo XC60 T8 or not to buy? I’d take the plunge. I say the XC60 T8 was a special chariot this week. The starting price is R1.4 M – before optional extras.

Its well-heeled competitors are the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC Class, and Porsche Macan. However, the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge offers efficiency, luxury, safety, and performance— all provided in great measure. This is a superb SUV with plenty going for it. My talking car that enables me to drive down memory lane. I love it.

*This article is exclusively written for NOWinSA by motoring contributing writer Prashirwin Naidu.  © Higher Education Media

Prashirwin Naidu
Prashirwin Naidu
Aspiring scribe, Prashirwin Naidu is a writer focusing on cars and the arts.
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