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2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design Review – It’s got the brawn, but who’s got the brains?

Tuesday August 2nd, 2011 at 4:88 PM
Posted by: bclark

2011 Volvo XC60
By Bill Clark

Pros:

  • Turbo V6 feels like a V8
  • Exterior and interior styling
  • Very comfortable
  • Versatile cargo capabilities

Cons:

  • Mind-baffling electronics
  • Useless proximity key
  • R-design rear bumper not compatible with receiver hitch

Having tested a number of small crossovers, I can say with certainty that the Volvo XC60 is almost the perfect family crossover and certainly one that provides enough ‘fun factor’ to entertain car enthusiasts. I never expected to say that about a Volvo crossover. If it wasn’t for the frustrating vehicle electronics menu systems, I’d call it perfect.

The good:
I had the pleasure of testing the XC60 in T6 AWD R-Design trim ($43,160). Optionally, the tester came with the climate package with rear heated seats, Technology Package, Rear Park Assist, and Integrated Navigation, which brought the price up to $50,365. Testing a Volvo allows us to get a look at advanced safety features, so I was really disappointed that they left out the $800 Blind spot Indicator System (BLIS)

2011 Volvo XC60

Other than the missing BLIS, the car still provides an abundance of safety features, which they dub, ‘City Safety”, such as Collision-detect with full auto-brake, Pedestrian-detect with full auto-brake, distance alert with brake warning, Lane departure warning, Adaptive cruise control. The distance alert with brake warning is great! There is an 8-inch wide band of red LED’s on the dash that reflect on the windshield and gives you a heads-up and audible warning if the car detects that you might not be ready for a quick stop. If you don’t put on the brakes, the XC60 will. Oddly enough, the owner’s manual says you can override the auto-braking by using the gas pedal (weird!). I guess someone might really prefer to hit the car in front of them (?)

The XC60 is easily the best-looking crossover in the segment, and is unmistakably Volvo – inside and out. The R-design theme with XC side-sills, striking XC-badged 5-spoke 20-inch wheels, and R-design rear bumper give it a confident, sporty look. The R-design theme carries on inside and offers unique, blue clock-face gauges and a much sportier-looking steering wheel that shares a nice perorated leather treatment with the shifter.

R-Design black leather upholstery w/beige inlays

The seats are the most comfortable seats I have been in – very plush, but still provide plenty of support with adequate side-bolstering for the amount of cornering traction available.

That ample cornering traction is courtesy of the R-design’s larger 255/45/20 wheels and tires and despite its ~4200lb curb weight. Volvo did their homework here. Your passengers will object to hard cornering maneuvers before the tires do.

Even with those large wheels and tires, the XC60 has a noticeably small turning radius and feels very nimble. As a result, parking-lot maneuverability is great.

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3 Responses to 2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design Review – It’s got the brawn, but who’s got the brains?

  1. MikeG says:

    sweet

  2. Bill Clark says:

    Thanks, Peter. I think only the black ones come with a complimentary vampire. A friend of mine just bought an outback as well and he loves it. I personally like having this kind of power in an SUV. I think it depends on how you will use it. Load one up with camping gear, four mountain bikes (on the receiver hitch), and four passengers and head up into the Sierras and you’ll appreciate the power. If you are not going to need the power, Volvo makes a non-turbo model starting at $32k, which would be a great alternative. The crossovers do put you at a higher level where you might have a better chance in the case of an impact with an over-sized SUV – compared to sedan vs. oversized SUV.

  3. Peter Anastopulos says:

    Nice review Bill but does it come with a Vampire since it’s the car of choice in the Twilight series?It is nice looking but does one need that kind of power in an SUV because the R type was never meant to tow anything.I don’t believe tall cars should be fast since it’s against there nature.Low cars should be fast and tall cars should be useful.Having bought my first SUV I can see why people like them our 2012 Outback is great and it is slow.My previous vehicles have been turbo charged wagons from Audi, V.W., and Volvo .Low slung shooting breaks with tons of power with the 2 box styling working as a foil.The comfort that the SUV gives is what I think it’s main purpose above all and I am told Women with a baby like the ease of entry .





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