Goes hard with elegance

What is it?

Volvo’s hard charging, mid-sized SUV.

It’s comes in three flavours: Inscription, Momentum, and R-Design. There’s a range of power plants too, including a hybrid setup.

Our test car was the top of the line T6 R-Design, powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine that’s both turbo- and supercharged.

The sole transmission is a beautifully smooth 8-speed auto with paddle shifters, plus drive modes such as Dynamic and Eco.


What’s it cost?

XC60 R-Design is priced from $76,990.

But the car provided was fitted with a number of options such as the $2500 Lifestyle pack that includes a panoramic glass roof and cooling for the front seats.

It’s astounding that so few car makers don’t include this feature in Aussie spec cars.

It was also fitted with air suspension and emits a couple of quiet groans as it settles after powering off – that’s another $2490.

Bowers and Wilkins audio adds another $4500 to the mix taking the all up the price as tested to $87,180 plus on road costs.

There’s four zone climate control, head up display, DAB audio, and a fingerprint trapping 9.0-inch touchscreen that, very much like a Tesla – controls almost everything.



What’s it go like?

It’s a roomy enough for both front and rear passengers.

The driver’s display can show different themes, driver and safety aids, apps, car settings and more.

But it’s not exactly intuitive and some practice is needed before becoming reasonably fluent in its usage.

Swipe left or right to access three horizontal screens, or down to unlock another pair of screens for more information.

Start and Stop is via a knurled dial in the centre console, while the drive modes were via a similarly finished roller dial located just behind.

It’s a simple, effective, and ultimately classy look.

Another appealing feature is the windscreen cleaning system that delivers a low-flow mist that is unbelievably effective.

Volvo is safety and it’s all here. 360 degree camera system? Check. Collision Alert and Autonomous Braking? Check. Traffic Sign Recognition? Check? Lane Keeping Assistance? Che . . .  wait a second.

Yes, it’s here but it needs fine tuning. The wheel tugs you back to the straight and narrow at 65km/h with the same force as it will at 110km/h – a more speed sensitive feel is needed.

Off the line the car is fluid, seamless and smooth.

Acceleration can be startling for the uninitiated, but the throttle is super responsive and, combined with feather light steering, is a perfect match.

Ride quality is alsoi superb, considering the R-Design rolls on 21-inch wheels.

They’re shod with 255/40 Pirelli P-Zeros and the footprint is huge. Only rarely did the airbag suspension and tyre combination feel unsettled, with the occasional sideways skip on closely rutted surfaces – otherwise it’s a very confident package.

The steering is light as mentioned and that’s surprising given both the heft of the car and size of the tyres.

It’s easily driven with just two fingers on the tiller, but that’s not recommended as there’s occasional instances of bump steer.

To back up the go, there has to be a stop and to ensure the XC60 stops appropriately, Volvo have built in one of the best feeling brake systems I’ve encountered.

At any level of travel on the pedal the driver will be aware of just how much grip the pads are putting on the discs. It’s superb, and allows the driver to judge just how much is needed in the circumstances.

Weighing in at 1965kg, fuel consumption is a sore point. On run from Sydney, south to Bega via Canberra and back over a two-day period, the best we saw was 10.0L/100km from the 71L tank – this was on the way back to Volvo HQ.

However, it should be pointed out – this was a full load aboard – two adults, two kids, a dog, luggage, and Christmas presents which considerably upped the load the engine had to deal with.

Drive conservatively and the distance will go up. Fang it, and the tank will drain quicker than a beer in the hands of a thirsty dock worker.

Fuel consumption aside, it’s a beautiful grand tourer. The driver can easily do a 500km stint, with a break here and there – and feel barely fatigued.

The Euro VI compliant twin charged engine pumps out a healthy 235kW of power and a very useful and usable 400Nm of torque.

That latter figure is on tap between 2200 and 5400 rpm and that means ease of use in just about any situation – be it freeway, around town, or in between.

It also means the high side of legal speeds are easily found and, sitting at just 1800rpm the well insulated interior removes any aural connection to the speed you’re travelling.

Another niggle is the foot-operated tailgate opener. Waggle a foot somewhere under the left hand exhaust tip and supposedly a sensor will open the door – it works but only about one in five attempts.

The sound system was an absolute pearler. Supplied by British audiophile company Bowers and Wilkins, it needed no adjustment as it sounded spot on out of the box. Depth and breadth of the sound was beautiful, with a sound stage placing the guitar from AC/DC’s epic Let There Be Rock, along with Bon’s vocals – just where they should be.



 What we like?

  • Looks inside and out
  • Sheer drivability of the car
  • Full colour driver display


What we didn’t?

  • Thirsty engine
  • Fingerprint keeping touchscreen
  • Lane keeping feedback


The bottom line

It’s classy, good looking and family effective. As an entry to luxury SUV motoring, it’s a value packed package that goes hard with elegance.



  • Looks - 8.0/10
  • Performance - 8.0/10
  • Safety - 8.5/10
  • Thirst - 6.0/10
  • Practicality - 8.0/10
  • Comfort - 8.0/10
  • Tech - 8.0/10
  • Value - 8.0/10

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