Volvo XC60 2018
Hello people of South Africa and abroad. Sorry, we haven’t blogged in a while. Starting a new business is no joke and will share our 2 new companies with you all soon!
The reason for the Blog. Volvo test drive. I recently had to shoot for a client and need to pack away my lights and softbox in my BMW twice, while setting up again and again, because I couldn’t drop my 3 series rear seats. This led me on a fever driven pitch to the nearest station wagon bearing dealer near us. This led to Volvo, couldn’t find any station wagon on google maps while driving but them. So, with some courage, I popped into Bryanston Volvo and met Jeremiah (the Great).
Mention the word Volvo and automatically the first thing that comes to mind is Safety. Hung up on the shelf for nearly 30 years, Volvo has come out swinging with a new set of gloves. Like the work ethic of the original money team, a quick check on international sales shows an improvement over the past 3 months globally for the Swedish Marque from July to date. So, while the past is the past, and the square shapes of the Swedish safety icon are now mostly gone, there is a new design language that the team from Volvo have put together which is really bold, but still very discrete.
In a way that would irritate the average Lexus driver who isn’t really disturbed by any other brand, there are some lines on the new XC90 interior and the exterior overall shape that would even make an owner of the new LC 500 look twice. So, let’s dig in. We have always been very big fans of BMW, and have had a great relationship with the Brand, but there is something about getting married and having kids that will have you looking for new options regarding safety, while performance and looks may come second. That being said there is plenty to say about the new features like autonomous lane keeping, avoiding children walking into a road etc. We are not going to focus on that for now.
Today is first things first. We don’t know anything about the brand beyond what you may see on TV. Never a person really having fun in a Polestar Volvo, flying around the ice somewhere in northern Europe, while doing cold weather testing. All we do see is a focus on safety that beats any other manufacturer in the world. While most modern cars will meet, and some exceed the requirements of the EURO NCAP, only a very few deliver on the safety aspect in the way that Volvo does. We have Volvo to thank for the 3 point seat belt. something that has saved more lives than any other device installed in a car or any other piece of equipment. Thanks, Volvo!
If you do need a good-looking car, that also has features to keep the entire family safe in case of an accident, where do you look. as much as people in SA have been going crazy for Double cab bakkies, with the marques of Ford and Toyota leading the charge. We feel there is so much more to a family car that mom or dad can use, that the overall utility of a luxury SUV needs to be accessible to anyone that decides to hop in and drive.
Okay. Off the bat, lets mess about talking lines and curves. We will get to that later. Right now, I want to talk about the diesel AWD that I drove. Really great diesel engine – transversal mounted 2-litre diesel. Not the smoothest thing I have driven in terms of noise coming from the engine at the start, but once you do take off, well then the torque takes care of itself as you go. The XC60 has a great motor in it, and if you like power but don’t want to seem like a BMW driver up the asses of everyone else, then this is for you. Lately, with respect, BMW drivers have been okay. It is the drivers from Ford with the Ranger and the bigger Volvo brother XC90, that have been getting stopped in front me on the road to the Drakensberg or Durban by the local polizia. The engine is not a street eater but will certainly help you climb up the side of the road at your kid`s sports day (get the black one for more attraction at the Saint`s (or KES if you are like me) rugby festival). It may even get up a curb outside your local gym when things get packed. Summer is here baby, and that means everyone is back at the gym and about to head off on holiday to some coast or overseas somewhere. Into the corners there is a bit of body roll, again, I don’t care about that aspect with this specific car.
Will you need shares in a petrol station to drive this car? No. It seemed to be on an average of 9 l/100 km, with moderate driving, so I am sure that you will be fine on the long road and more than capable of dropping it down a bit.
The R range vehicle is awesome. In a country that appreciates the racer look more than most, this would not leave you wanting next to a GTI or even the Lexus LC 500. This car is beautiful from every angle. The front fascia is more focused and determined than before. The boxy lines are gone. This is the kind of car that reminds me of Angelina Jolie. Sexy, but without the drama.
Performance on road
Handling is very decent. We didn’t have the car for too long. Guys need to sell cars, so 1 test drive on a warm day is hardly the kind of test we prefer to do. The thing is that most of you will also have to make a decision around the block from the dealer. With insurance costs super high and the price of petrol and diesel in SA, we may even get to the point where you get to virtually drive the car in a model simulator before you even buy the car, at some “experience centre” in a mall near you. That would be before you even get to a dealer. Brand manager or product manager this could save a lot of pain for those who just want to test the car and not talk to sales yet – especially we very busy millennials with 2 phones, laptop`s – a day job, a side gig or two, a wife and baby on the way (in planning or production). We will always have test drives, just not the way you expect.
Volvo has a number of features specifically linked to active safety. Active means the things that stop the accident from happening. You can google up the stuff under “City Safety”, which allows numerous electronic systems to detect pedestrians and other cars front and rear. Now I always suggest you keep alert while driving, and I will not go into AI and autonomous driving just yet. For now, while we wait for African countries to allow their transportation laws to cover the various scenarios for autonomous cars, we will still urge you to look out for taxis and trucks in SA, which most times are not obeying the rules of the road. And while the car can help avoid an accident, always be alert – both hands on the steering and stick to the speed limit, especially when driving on holiday or in a new area. The version we choose is the all-wheel-drive – 2-litre diesel, which comes standard with most of the electronics needed to keep on the road. The stuff I would add as extras includes a version of Active Steering – which stiffens up the steering when at speed, and also lane departure warning. This helps on long roads, especially on those trips over 6 hours or more. I would add a camera for the rear – just something I find really useful when parking in a shopping mall or even at home when there are skateboards or hoverboards left on the driveway.
The XC 60 has two rear seats that can be folded nearly flat in the back. This is great and just what I am looking for while loading various pieces of photographic gear in and out. The weight of the seats as I put them down, was much heavier than what I had lifted by a few other brands in the rear. There is no lip at the boot, so loading it is very easy. The overall space is smaller than some of the other brands, but in my mind, that is a small price to pay for what I actually need which is also Safety for baby number 1. In my mind, we can fit 2 adult cases and a pram easily in the back. Also, if I need to load 3 Pelican cases of photo stuff with many tripods and a dog- it can be done.
Sitting in the front of the cabin, there feels like loads of room. I am happy with space both for the driver and the rear seated passengers. Some brands have a bit more leg room, but it seems with each new vehicle iteration, every brand increases the wheelbase and width to accommodate changing tastes. The move from sedan to SUV is specifically for the purpose of going on holiday with the entire family, and not worrying about space and ground clearance for the B-roads. There is also a slightly better feeling driving a bit higher, with security in South Africa a key concern, my family agree, the SUV is better.
Warranty and Maintenance
5 Year plan with 100 000 kilometres of servicing cover. This includes all the stuff excluding your consumables like fuel and tyres. Meeting with the team in service, I don’t expect any difference in quality or satisfaction against our current German supplier.
Other options to consider based on size and price:
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro (good option for those working in finance or accounting).
Subaru XV AWD 2.0 Turbo Petrol (are you ready for the ABSA Epic son?).
BMW X3 2.0 D Auto X Drive (for the people from Durban who had a GTI, then kids).
Mercedes GLC 350 D 4-MATIC (buy the AMG version, for the people who enjoy the solid drive, but not as stiff as the BMW in terms of handling and comfort).
Starts from R 674 000 at the current date – 17 October 2018.
Note to dealers (not a complaint, just read it)
No one has time for small talk at dealers anymore. Life is short, and we don’t want to spend life-fighting for pricing on our trade-ins or even negotiating the price on your car. Especially when we can get offers from a multitude of new sites and companies that truly understand the lack of time pervasive today. This includes pricing offers on our cars or even quotes from dealers.
Greeting. Very simple. Do it. Regardless of how the client looks or how many cars that customer has bought from you, keep the greeting at the front door focussed and with some energy. This is the first thing the person sees walking in, so make an effort in ensuring someone says hi and how can we help.
At various dealerships in Johannesburg, I have walked in for 20 minutes and not been helped. Am I looking for it or putting negative vibes out. No. What I do see is mass complacency in dealerships. People are still sitting at desks focussed on their quotes, and not the person on the floor. Look up. Wake up. Please.
The buying cycle has changed now thanks to the internet and videos online making life a lot simpler when people need to decide. What doesn’t change is our need for service – very good, very intelligent service. That means if a person asks a salesperson questions about their product, don’t rely on google for the info. We head to the dealer for advice on their product. Google may have just made every salesperson completely useless. Know your stuff.
We may expect your staff to message via WhatsApp. Please get your staff to update their profiles both online and on WhatsApp. If I make a buying decision and the guy that I am dealing with comes up with a bare chest on WhatsApp profile pic, with 4 shots of tequila on his forehead this may not bode well for the image of your dealership but also your brand. Your job doesn’t end when you go home. Please pay for your staff cell phone usage. If you expect them to message clients, cover them for their private use.
This should be the case anywhere where people interact face to face with customers and may converse on non-traditional media like IM. Also remind staff, anything they type or message online leaves a trail.
Well done to Bryanston Volvo!
The above applies to all car dealership`s but it also applies to every organisation that has to serve clients. I recently interacted Discovery Health head office in Sandton. The service and level of professionalism I experienced there was unparalleled. I felt the same dealing with Jeremiah from the Volvo Bryanston CMH office. That`s my point. Make sure you have the right people on the team. People who deal with customers in a professional way, are very cool-headed and know their product. That is key to building a great experience for your customer.
Enough ranting. Go buy the car!
Jeremiah Motlhabane is a good guy his details are 011 700 4712 or firstname.lastname@example.org
They are based on 277 Main Road, Bryanston Gauteng. They deserve a visit!