By on December 19, 2011

With Saab’s death dragging on month after month, fans of Sweden’s plucky little auto industry haven’t had much to celebrate recently. Volvo launched the most powerful car in its history, the 325-horspower Volvo S60 T6 R-Design, and hardly anyone bothered to notice. When one of the buff books got around to testing the compact all-wheel-drive sport sedan, they compared it to a four-pot front-wheel-drive Buick, and concluded that the Buick is better. Against the Audi S4 I found the S60 a clear second. Those seeking a segment-leading Swede need not despair, though. Just do what I did right after driving the S60 in Charleston, WV, and check out a different, less mature segment: compact premium SUVs. The XC60 T6 R-Design, with a couple of power bumps since it was introduced two years ago, might just be the best of the bunch.

Though no one will mistake it for a Honda, the XC60’s exterior has never worked for me in gray-cladded, small-wheeled base trim. The R-Design treatment addresses my reservations, and then some. Paint the cladding body color and fit 20-inch five-spoke wheels, and suddenly the overhangs don’t appear oddly stretched. Most likely this is the look the designers had in mind when they were carving the clay.

Scandinavian furniture has been popular among a certain social stratum for decades for a reason: northern Europeans are masters of tastefully stylish modern design. The same aesthetic has been applied inside the latest Volvos, including this one. Nothing remotely over the top, but even in the tested dark gray with cream accents much warmer than a German auto interior. Materials are more-or-less in line with the price.

This being a Volvo, the seats are among the most comfortable you’ll find. Much cushier than those in German competitors, yet also properly supportive fore-aft and laterally. But the S60 sedan has similar, perhaps identical seats, and they haven’t been enough to win comparison tests. So what’s the XC60 got that the related sedan doesn’t? Answer: a higher, much more open driving position. You can more easily see over the dash and between the more upright pillars of the crossover. The XC60 might not be ye olde 240, but it’s more of a spiritual successor than the new S60. This enhances both perceived agility and actual safety. The driver rightfully feels more confident behind the wheel.

The XC60 is also a much happier place for rear seat passengers. The crossover’s back seat is much roomier and mounted comfortably high off the floor. And cargo space? A sedan with a smallish trunk can’t begin to compete with a crossover. The front passenger seat folds to extend the cargo area in both, a rarity in premium cars, but this feature is even more useful with a rear hatch. The V60 wagon variant, currently not offered in North America, would put up more of a fight.

For 2012, the XC60 T6 R-Design has the same powertrain as the S60 T6 R-design, a transversely-mounted 325-horsepower, 354 pound-feet turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six connecting to all four wheels via a manually-shiftable six-speed automatic and Haldex-based all-wheel-drive system:

Sorry, couldn’t resist sneaking in this photo. The dealership’s owner parks his personal collection in the service area, and it includes a “continuation” Cobra. The service writer who popped the hood for me reported that this beautiful multi-throttled V8 was a $30,000 option. The Volvo’s engine:

The Polestar tune adds 25 horsepower and 29 pound-feet to the engine that powered last year’s R-Design and that continues to power the regular T6. The engine in the 2010 R-Design was good for “only” 281 horsepower. You can get more than 325 horsepower in a compact sedan. But in the compact SUV segment this is the most potent powerplant available. (At least on paper; BMW might understate the output of the X3 xDrive35i’s 300-horsepower engine.) The XC60 crossover weighs significantly more than the S60 sedan, 4,236 to 3,877 pounds. But from the driver’s seat the XC60 feels at least as quick, perhaps even a little quicker. Credit the more commanding driving position, from which you can better view the outside world as the Volvo passes rapidly through it. The Haldex system does have the same limitations here. It doesn’t instantaneously shunt power to the rear wheels, so with a hard launch there’s a split second of wheel spin and torque steer.

By any objective measure, the S60 outhandles the XC60. There’s no defeating the laws of physics as they apply to extra pounds and a center of gravity farther from the ground. But expectations are also lower for a crossover, and direct competitors are less talented. Audi offers no S variant of its Q5. And the BMW X3 xDrive35i, while certainly an outstanding performer, has vague steering and a cold personality. The XC60 does not have the S60’s selectable-assist steering. The system it does have is similar to the sedan’s in its “light” setting, but with a less artificial feel. Not sportily hefty, and not as communicative as the system in an Audi Q5, but intuitive and good for perceived agility. The crossover’s suspension tuning isn’t as aggressive as the sedan’s nor is it abetted by brake-based torque vectoring, and partly as a result its handling feels more fluid and natural while its ride feels smoother and steadier. Add in the XC60’s driving position, and I actually found it more fun to drive than the more stiffly suspended S60 or any competing compact crossover. While the BMW would be quicker along a challenging road, I enjoyed the Volvo more. Well, until I had to stop. Even more than in the S60, Charleston’s steep winding roads made it clear that the Volvo’s brakes aren’t as strong as its engine.

Equipped like the related sedan, the XC60 lists for about $2,000 more. The R-Design starts at $44,025. Add a couple packages and the blind-spot warning system to get heated seats, keyless access, nav, and an outstanding audio system, and you’re at $50,175. But, as is often the case with a crossover, the XC60 includes more features than the S60. Things like a power liftgate, two-panel (instead of conventional) sunroof, bi-directional obstacle detection, rear privacy glass, and a slew of cargo-related accessories. Adjust the XC60’s price for this additional content using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool, and the XC60 emerges the better value by about $900. And a similarly-equipped BMW X3 xDrive35i? It’s $3,750 more before adjusting for feature differences, and about $2,700 more afterwards.

The XC60 T6 R-Design is roomier, more comfortable, more functional, and more fun-to-drive than the S60 sedan. A BMW X3 is a stronger performer and better handler, but the Volvo has more attractive styling, a more natural feel, and those oh-so-comfy seats. On top of this, the XC60 fits Volvo’s heritage. While three generations of R sedans have never quite achieved top shelf status, people have long gone to Volvo for fast, functional wagons. The XC60 is the natural evolution of these wagons, a little taller but casting a smaller shadow. Car buyers seem to agree. It’s easy to find a dealer with plenty of S60s in stock. XC60s are another matter. If I were to buy a premium brand compact crossover or a Volvo, it would be this one.

Vehicle provided by Chris Myers of Smith Company Motor Cars in Charleston, WV. Chris can be reached at 304-746-1792.

Michael Karesh operates, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

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43 Comments on “2012 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design...”

  • avatar

    Too little too late. Volvo should either bring over the V60 wagon or call it quits, as the X3 and Q5 will continue eating this one for lunch.

    • 0 avatar

      Higher sales doesn’t mean a better product. Volvo doesn’t have to have the highest sales to be profitable and I trust Volvo’s reliability any day over Audi or BMW.

  • avatar

    Beauty WTF moment with the Cobra pic! Do you have a feeling on the Chinese Volvos? Are they as good as the formerly Swedish versions? Granted the people making them haven’t changed but the bosses sure have.

  • avatar

    No more wagons, no manuals outside of the underwhelming C30, Chinese ownership…Volvo’s pretty much dead to me.

    • 0 avatar

      The only thing underwhelming about the wife’s C30 is the mileage. Currently my 350Z is getting about the same: 23 mpg. Granted she drives only in the city and I drive a 70/30 highway/city mix, but a small(ish) hatchback with turbo should get better mileage. Our larger Passat (also a turbo) managed 30 mpg under the same conditions, but it was not where near as quick as the sexy C30. Still gotta love those Volvo seats!

      I assumed any of the R-Design models would have a manual as an option, but this XC60 is an SUV so automatic only makes sense. I’ve heard rumors of an V40 coming out… basically a 4 door version of the C30, which would make it a small wagon: however it also might not make it to the US which would be a bummer.

    • 0 avatar

      The XC70 IS a wagon despite whatever Volvo calls it.

  • avatar

    From what I heard about XC90 (this should be similar or worse), Volvo is firmly on the same path as other “premium” Euro brands: i.e. being an insatiable pig to be repaired/maintained and even more so past the warranty.

    Michael, what are the reliability rankings for the XC60 so far?

    • 0 avatar

      The XC90 was awful for its first few years. The first model year of the XC60 has been about average, the 2011 perhaps even better than average (small sample size). So it’s clearly more reliable than the XC90 so far. But the real test with European cars is how they old up after the warranty ends.

      To check the latest reliability stats:

  • avatar

    That small hood looks like it’s only there to cover air cleaner and fluid tubes. I’d hate to do any work in that engine bay.

  • avatar

    I had a chance to drive a more basic 3.2L version awhile ago and I didn’t come away very impressed considering the price. However, it at least seemed to be relatively capable for a CUV as far as towing and rough dirt-road driving was concerned. Reminded me a lot of the Land Rover LR2.

    It sounds like the turbo engine and R-design upgrades offer decent improvements.

    Nearly $50K is a bit rich for me in general, but I think I would go with the XC70 over the XC60. It just feels more Volvo-y.

  • avatar

    The Regal v. S60 R was a stupid comparo. The S60 R is equipped in a way that few buyers are going to appreciate. The turbo Regal is equipped to relate to more buyers, and it does. Had they compared the Regal turbo to the S60 T5, the Volvo may not have lost by as much, and the price differential would have been more reasonable. Since they saw fit to compare apples and oranges, why did they not use the S60 T6 with either the adjustable suspension, or the T6 with the comfort suspension setup? The Volvo would have then won the comparison.

    • 0 avatar

      Failing to follow your logic. The five-cylinder has been sorely lacking in refinement for at least…well, about as long as they’ve offered it. And the problem with the non-comfort suspension isn’t that it’s too firm, but that it needs another round or two of further sorting out. The comfort suspension won’t compare better against a Regal suspension that both rides and handles well.

      The adjustable suspension was on neither the dealer car nor the press car I drove. There’s probably a reason for this.

  • avatar

    That Cobra pic really got me; I was thinking Volvo had gone to retro ‘trumpet’ intakes?!

    “The XC60 T6 R-Design is roomier, more comfortable, more functional, and more fun-to-drive than the S60 sedan.”

    This breaks my heart. If I was in the market for a Volvo in this price range, I really find the looks of the S60 T6 seductive – perhaps more than any other car today. But I also know the interior is small, and several reviewers have faulted its utility as a driver’s car.

  • avatar

    Mike, this has the new NAV setup from the S60, right? When the XC60 launched it had arguably the worst NAV system of any car on sale. The passenger had to point a REMOTE CONTROL at the dash, straight out of 1993. Is the new one at least from this century?

    In my mind when you’re paying $50K, and the Audi and BMW have MMI and iDrive, the Volvo system was simply inexcusable. Customers would’ve been better off with a Best Buy coupon to buy a TomTom.

    Even with the new system, 50 grand is an awful lot for a badge that’s in the Acura and Buick class. The seats may be lovely, but that interior says 35 thousand.

    • 0 avatar

      bull, this vehicle is just as good and arguably better than what the “Germans” are producing. It’s definitely more stout,reliable and STYLISH than what the German’s make – some people just seem to be blinded by anything that comes out of Germany. As stated in the article you aren’t going to get anything more powerful for the price, the current generation of Haldex AWD is excellent and the INLINE SIX is robust, smooth and powerful – not a compromised V6 like you will get in a VAG product. The safety of this is superior to Honda/Acura products – look at the IIHS roof strength tests for Honda products (hit and miss depending on the model and year) and you realize Acura rushed in a roof strength improvement just for the 2012 model year MDX.

      • 0 avatar

        Volvo likes to think that it plays in the big leagues, but it doesn’t. A high price doesn’t just give you a premium product. See Volvo S80. Nobody’s buying. The XC60 succeeds only because of the relative weakness of its competitors.

        Lexus doesn’t have a dog in the fight, the RDX is basically crap, the Infiniti EX is far too cramped to be useful, BUT the interior of the EX blows the Volvo into the weeds. That looks like a premium product on the inside, it just has no space for people’s legs. I think if Infiniti had designed the EX properly, it would be enjoying G37 levels of success. The Mercedes GLK, like the RDX, is basically crap.

        So, you’ve got two competent but not outstanding Germans and a lot of crap and a no-show vs. Volvo. When Volvo has to seriously compete against an entire field of highly competitive models, they lose (again see S80, or S60, S40, C30, etc).

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, it received the new Sensus system halfway through the 2011 model year.

  • avatar

    Wish I had known you were going to CRW to test these things. I know some absolutely stellar roads with little traffic around. Growing up there, I used to simply go on drives for the fun of driving. Now, I hate to drive. Guess that’s what happens when you do 20,000+ miles/year for a living.

    I’m assuming these came from Smith, off Rt. 119? If so, that’s about 2 miles from my mom’s house. Interesting…

    Mr. Karesh, you certainly do spend some time in WV. It makes me happy. Few know how good the roads are here!

  • avatar

    Volvo keeps focusing in the wrong direction. For most of the 2000’s my wife and I drove Volvos. Me an S60 and her a 240 and then V70 XC. Now we’re Volvo free. For good I think.

    My 2001 S60 looked good, had decent space, was comfortable, and returned about 27 MPG combined. Not a 3 series competitor, but much more comfortable and efficient, while still handling better than a Camry or Accord. And the price was right. The XC70 was ideal as a family highway cruiser for New England weather.

    Now the S60 is a tarted up strumpet with less utility at twice the price. The XC70 looks great, but the 3.2 is a weak engine with horrible mileage for the power output. Explain how the new generation XC70 got smaller and gained a few hundred pounds? Our RX 350 is bigger, faster and gets better mileage.

    The XC60 looks great, but it weighs too much and nobody will buy this overpriced R type. They need an efficient engine with sufficient torque and they need to bring the price down. Volvo needs to compete with Buick. That’s exactly the right comparison point. It should be nicer and safer than a Buick at the same price, which will give some Mercedes buyers pause, as it used to.

    • 0 avatar

      The XC70 with the T6 engine is the only way to go, however. That engine is a MUCH better match for the vehicle and so equipped is a fantastic choice. The 3.2 can’t handle the mass.

    • 0 avatar

      an XC60/XC70 T6 will eat your RX350 all day long, probably out last it and is safer. Pay careful attention to the roof strength rating (IIHS website) of Volvo’s Japanese competitors and you will notice it is only of late that many of them have starting reinforcing their roofs to at least meet IIHS roof strength recommendations. Volvo’s XC90 exceeded the IIHS recommendation back in 2003 AND still has stronger roof strength rating than a 2012 Lexus RX. The ACURA RDX drags the absolute bottom of the class for midsize luxury SUVs with a marginal roof strength rating.

      Volvo is using four different grades of STEEL in their front end crumple zones along with engineering the transversely mounted engine to move in a frontal impact in a controlled manner to absorb tremendous amounts of energy. There is a Volvo XC90 (keep in mind Volvo older safety tech) that took 90MPH (estimated) frontal impact and all occupants survived with the worst injuries being broken ribs IIRC:,bhVBgj41

  • avatar

    I immediately knew those velocity stacks weren’t from the Volvo since there was 8 of them, and not 6.

  • avatar

    I really like this Volvo. How it looks and performs. But $50k? I understand it’s better than X3 or Q5 (which are also overpriced in my mind), but still, $50k for a Volvo sounds a lot.

    I’ve been looking recently for a small CUV with good dynamics for the wife and I could get 2 years old RDX for literally half the price.

  • avatar

    I haven’t updated the nav data for my ’04 S60-R GPS for several years, because they want $200 for a new set of discs for each annual Navteq update. I went the more cost-effective route and got a Garmin that sits on the dash, on top of the pop-up screen slot. Map updates for life are about 40% of the cost of a single DVD set for the built-in. The OEM GPS has a very clunky interface that requires too much concentration to be safe entering commands while underway, although there are controls built into the steering wheel on the right end of the crossbar, opposite the very good thumb-operable cruise control buttons. It sounds like that is still the built-in option from Volvo. Sharing the righthand button cluster are the controls for the instantly-obsolete analog built-in cell phone and its accompanying, equally dead, “OnStar, oops, On-Call” assistance system. (That feature was on the car as it sat in the showroom, so I kept it until the initial free service disappeared.)

  • avatar

    With two little ones on the way, my wife and I bought one of these in August. It’s a 2011 model appearing pretty much exactly like the one in the test above. It was a dealership manager’s car, so we got it at 4500 miles and paid $44K. What sold us on the car was the combination of power, looks, and those sooo comfortable seats. I drove the Q5 and didn’t think the interior material quality matched the price, although it handled well and had good power. It’s a good looking car on the outside, but I didn’t like the interior. The BMW was more $$ than I wanted to spend, and I already own a 335i that gives me all the sportiness I need. So far I’ve been very happy with the XC60. It’s got more than enough power, handles reasonably well for an SUV, and has a very comfortable interior for long trips. I’ve only taken it out in the snow once so far when we got a foot in late October. It got along fine with the standard 20 inch wheels and all season rubber. I may consider getting a set of 18″ wheels and spiked Nokians for the remainder of the Maine winter. My only complaints about the car are the lack of progressive weighting on the steering wheel, the premium audio system could still be a lot better, and the computer system/NAV could be simpler to operate. There’s also an annoying disclaimer that comes up on the NAV screen as soon as you start the car. I need to back up out of my driveway to leave the house, and I want to see the backup cam image right away. I can’t do that because of the stupid disclaimer.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s been fixed on the 2012, you’ll likely be sorry to hear; but current prospective buyers can rest easy. The voice commands work fine and even obscure NM trails are handled accurately. I agree the premium sound doesn’t knock my socks off; but it’s fine. Rear cam is very handy as are active bending head lights.

    • 0 avatar

      As a new owner the XC60 R-Design I guess my comments might not be as objective as the next person reading this review but I have to say, I think this review is spot-on…. With a small family of three we were looking to buy a new car that was roomy (wife’s most important factor) but quick (my requirement), stylish, well made and safe…. what can I say I’m an idealist. Being a fan of BMW’s I immediately thought 335i Msport. Beautiful car and great handler. Roomy… not so much. On to the Audi…. S4 that is. Wow! Loved it more than the bimmer. More room in the back and the rear seats folded to make a big trunk even bigger. That’s it! Done Deal! Then those dreaded words… “Can we look at the Q5″… sure honey…Not bad, but could use some more power and the cargo area wasn’t the biggest but still bigger than the sedans.

      Then one day I saw this cool car zooming by and I was like wow, what kind of car is that…. that wld be the XC60 R-Design. That w/e I was at the dealer taking my first test-drive. I was skeptical at first because I just never thought I’d like a “boring” Volvo. Obviously, they made a believer out this admittedly German car lover. So why did I choose the XC60 over those other cars you ask. You did read the review didn’t you??? Well, simply put I think it was the best choice (and compromise because let’s face it she’s probably going to be driving it more than me) amongst the competition. Plus throw in 5 yrs/50K free maintenance and the city safe crash avoidence standard feature and it was a no-brainer for me. However, I will admit I was not too keen on the $50k price tag for a Volvo. So naturally when a dealer almost 3 hrs away offered to accept $45K if I ordered it from them I jumped at that without a second thought.

      First impressions after about a month + of ownership:
      This car is quick, very quick for 4236lbs.
      Seats are awesome. Took a 1200 mile round-trip that seemed like 600 miles.
      Everyone ask what kind of car is that…. you don’t see many of these cars unlike the X3/Q5.
      Lots of cargo room for kids bike, stroller and other stuff.
      Bugs on previous models have been fixed.
      Nav is good (not great). Audi’s was better IMO.
      No Audi/Merc style LEDs. I had some installed last w/e. Fix perfectly in the slits and looks factory installed.
      Brakes could be beefier especially considering the quickness of the car but no hills where I live.
      Avg 19 mpg so not great by any means but that’s the price of a 325 hp turbo 6.

  • avatar

    Troy- we loved your sincere and well formulated 31 Jan e-mail. We would like to get back with you in regards to your LED lights installation. I just bought LED lights from Philips for my ’12 XC-60 Ploestar R Design. The IPD U-Tube of the lights put into their R Design did not sound uncomplicated. I am very happy with my car, it just needs the Euro touch.

  • avatar

    I realize that this is an opinion piece, but the article is misleading. My family owns both a 2012 S60 T6 with Polestar mod and a 2012 XC60 R Design. So I drive them back to back on occasion and your readers need to know that your comparisons between the XC60 and the S60 are suspect.

    “the S60 sedan has similar, perhaps identical seats…” Not true. The XC60’s seats are bolstered and over-padded in areas that can make it difficult to get comfortable. And the seat bottom is shorter in the R-Design seats, providing less leg and thigh support. I’m 6’2 and I find the S60’s seats just right and instantly comfortable. I spent weeks trying to find a comfortable setting in the XC60 R-Design and it still makes my back hurt.

    “But from the driver’s seat the XC60 feels at least as quick [as the S60], perhaps even a little quicker.” Utter nonsense. Hit the pedal hard in the S60 (from a stop or from a toll booth) and it will knock you back in your seat and tick off shifts with extreme urgency. Better yet, slide the S60’s shifter into sport mode (which the XC60 R-Design doesn’t even have) for even more urgent acceleration. Floor the XC60 and it builds speed with no particular urgency and is in no hurry to downshift. It’s definitely not exciting.

    “The driver rightfully feels more confident behind the wheel [of an XC60 than an S60]” Completely disagree. The XC60 feels far less confident at 65 mph or higher. The center console and the arm rest in the XC60 are too low and provide zero support to the driver’s right side. My right arm just hangs with no support (until I bought an after-market center console bolster.) The driving position in the S60 is more supportive and natural in the twisties and on the highway.

    The XC60 would be good choice for someone who wants a supple, quiet, elegant, roomy cross-over that’s firm enough to handle winding highways confidently. But it also feels heavy and shares virtually no driving characteristics with the Volvo S60 T6.

    • 0 avatar

      The 2012 XC60 R certainly does have the sport shift mode: I insist on using it to my wife’s utter dismay when she’s a passenger! (Perhaps you’re thinking of the variable suspension mode that comes with the Tech package, not the Platinum R most folks get?) I tested the S60 extensively last year and was mighty tempted; in its 2012 R guise, it’s quicker, you’re right. However, I agree with Mr. Karesh: the XC60 R “feels” like it has greater thrust, perhaps because you’re moving a greater mass. If the XC60 hadn’t come out in the US with the R/Polestar package in late 2011, I probably would have bit on the S. As it is, having put 8,000 miles on it including a nice trip from ABQ up into the deep CO Rockies with a pretty extreme variety of terrain covered, the XC60 R is easily the most fun and comfortable car I’ve owned for a trip like that. And it is IMO one of the best lookers on the road in this segment; we get compliments almost every time out. The new Volvos are leaps and bounds better then their forebears. We now have a C30 R to accompany our XC60.

      • 0 avatar

        abqcleve, you are confusing the auto-manual and the sport transmission modes and you have your packages mixed up. The XC-60 R Design DOES NOT have the S60’s sport transmission mode that changes the automatic transmission’s shift points (and throttle travel/response) when you slide the shifter to the left. The XC-60 only has a manual shift mode that lets the driver shift the automatic transmission. They are two different things.

        The variable suspension does NOT come with the technology package. The only variable suspension is the 4C chassis option, which is a stand alone option and is NOT part of the technology package.

        While you may have “tested” an S60 a year ago, I’ve owned 3 S60s (two 2012’s and a 2013) and a 2012 XC-60 R-Design. The statements that the XC-60 feels like it has greater thrust are made by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. A 325 hp S60 weighs over 400 lbs less than a 325 hp XC-60. The S60 is faster objectively by the numbers and subjectively by feel.

        What you mistakenly think is a difference in the feeling of “thrust” is the difference in throttle travel and response. Without the Polestar mod and in normal transmission mode, the S60 has a long pedal travel in order to save fuel. So you have to work the pedal more to get the same performance. Add Polestar mod or R Design package in either vehicle and that changes. The throttle (along with steering force and transmission shift points) are sport tuned and provide instant response.

        My S60 T6 with Polestar mod has the exact same engine and output as my XC-60 R Design. The XC-60 is not faster and doesn’t feel faster. 400 lbs extra weight, a higher center of gravity, greater mass, and the lack of sport transmission settings are the reason why. I compare them back to back every day. You and the author of this article took a test drive.

  • avatar

    As an owner of seven Volvos, beginning in 1970 and ending with the current 2010 T6, I can tell you each successive model we have bought is better assembled (detailing in the interior, tighter tolerances / panel fit inside and out, more refinement). In none of the models from 1995 – 2010 have we had any serious mechanical issues whatever. Several minor DOT recall notices, that is all. Other than about 140 – 150,000 miles on the 1970, which was well past its prime, the next highest number was about 56,000 on the 2004 V70R. I especially appreciate that Volvo eschews aping the mighty fine German brands point by point, which are over the top in complexity and too many gizmos. For too long Volvo was too Amish spartan, but from the days when Ford purchased Volvo, the American ownership introduced needed freedom of expression outside the Swedish envelope. Steve Mattin, the British stylist hired by Volvo, who was responsible for the XC60, did a magnificent, IMO. And if you consider the Safe and Secure warranty / maintenance program (5 yrs., 50,000 mile currently; the 2010 has 5 yrs., 60,000 miles) an incentive from both a customer and manufacturer’s point of view, then Volvo clearly bests Audi’s plan and in
    some aspects is better than BMW or Mercedes Benz. One more point: the new IIHS slight offset crash test illustrates Volvo’s DNA since its beginning. As much as I admire the Germans, I very much doubt I would ever pick their CUVs over the XC60.

  • avatar

    Old thread. We have owned this exact vehicle for 5 years now. Purchased CPO @22k miles for half the sticker. Recently the front wheel came off doing triple digits in the Utah desert. Coasted to a stop, no drama, but the whole corner of the car was ripped-up by the wheel as it left. We considered replacing it and looked around. Decided there is still nothing on the market we would clearly prefer. The SQ5 and the X5 40 are the closest equivalents, list at $60k and are not superior, except fuel mileage.

    The XC60 is quiet, comfortable, very quick, decent-handling, roomy for 4, built like a tank and has been almost completely trouble-free. The seats are GREAT, as they were in the V70R that preceded it. Audio system is excellent. And when that wheel came off, we were very happy to be in that vehicle. (Tire shop error mounting winters).

    To top it all off, the XC60 is fairly wicked offroad with the right tires/wheels. The R-design without air suspension loses some ground clearance (otherwise best in class, I believe) but there were some quizzical looks from F150 and Rubicon-Driving hunters when I took her up a remote road here in CO.

    The design still looks fresh too. Would do it all over again in a blink. The dealership that did the repairs also sells the new Buick wagon. I asked if I should try it out. Service manager: “I don’t think you’re interested”. “How’s that?” “I drove your car. Do you know how fast that thing is?” “Yes, I do.”

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