AH THE three month itch. Typically this is the time in a car’s journey through the Wheels Garage when the excitement of running a new long-termer begins to wane and some frustrations of familiarity begin to rise. It’s a key reason we run long-term test cars: to unearth the niggles and quirks that only begin to surface after prolonged use – the very same journey you’d experience if you bought the car yourself.
The only problem is that, in this instance, there aren’t any frustrations to report. Not yet anyway. Three months in and the XC60 T8 is proving the near-perfect companion. Quiet, comfortable and fantastically frugal (it sipped just 4.9L/100km this month; an impressive effort for a 2174kg SUV), the T8 has slipped seamlessly into my life.
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It’s effortless to drive. The steering is light and crisp, which bestows a sense of wieldiness in tight urban spaces. Visibility is excellent courtesy of an airy glasshouse and parking is a painless process, even in cramped underground spots, thanks to three camera views (choose between rear, side or overhead), which are displayed in high resolution on the central screen.
And then there’s the powertrain, which manages to achieve the usually mutually exclusive traits of being efficient while also feeling muscular and responsive. The instant torque of the electric motor helps here, yet even when the battery seems fully depleted, the T8 captures and stores enough energy in general driving to add small bursts of battery-assisted shove as you move away from the lights or gun for a gap in traffic.
Even annoyance-prone areas like the infotainment system remain bugbear-free. All of the buttons are where you’d expect, the menu structure is logical and detailed (allowing you to navigate between different song playlists without needing to touch your phone), and the portrait-orientated touchscreen swipes like a smartphone.
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The only niggles are delivered by the stumpy Orrefors gear selector (T8 specific), which requires a double pump to move from drive to reverse. And the infotainment system can lag slightly on start-up if you’re impatiently pressing the screen to ignite the seat heaters on a cold morning. I’ve long since adjusted to the sensitive brake pedal, which I now find easy to modulate.
And that’s it. After 12 weeks of everyday use, they’re the only criticisms I can level at the T8, which further validates its COTY win. Even better is that on top of delivering the ease-of-use and functionality you expect, the T8 does so with just enough Swedish flair and x-factor (through neat design touches and quality materials) to feel interesting and desirable.
Which aren’t words often used to describe medium SUVs.