Volvo’s XC60 is one of the best-selling products for the Swedish brand. There’s a derivative and powertrain to suit just about all tastes. We recently spent a few days enjoying the company of the XC60 T6 R-Design and share our thoughts in this review.

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Did you have that quiet kid in your class who took an extra two weeks of summer vacation? When he returned you learned that he was participating in the world Jiu Jitsu finals in Korea, where he won silver. Or how about the non-descript chap in your company’s accounting department who unobtrusively went about his work in the week, then one day you learned he’s a triathlete with several top five finishes to his name. That’s how we feel about Volvo’s current range of products. We have no real reason to doubt their abilities but they are a pleasant surprise whenever we drive or encounter one.

Read our Volvo XC40 review by clicking here.

Up and up

Volvo’s resurgence really started a few years ago with the excellent XC90 SUV. That was followed by the smaller, multiple-award winning XC40. The mid-size XC60 was the last of the new-generation family to appear. Volvo must’ve taken their time with the XC60 because the previous version of the same nameplate was the best-selling model for the Swedish brand worldwide.

The latest XC60 follows the stylistic themes laid out elsewhere in the product portfolio. In R-Design guise the XC60 has a level of sportiness to its aesthetic. Larger alloys, in particular, and the metallic blue paintwork are highlights that help set the Volvo apart from the sea of white, grey and silver SUVs encountered daily. LED headlamps that feature a ‘bending’ function to follow the arc of the front wheels as you turn the steering is standard on the R-Design version.

Other items in the R-Design package include keyless entry and start, gearshift paddles on the steering rim, park pilot assist, auto dimming mirrors, headlamp water jets, smartphone integration for iPhone and Android devices, blindspot information warning and a tailored dashboard.

Oh so chic

Volvo’s current offerings have some of the more stylish, yet minimalist, cabin treatments in the segment. Occupants get to enjoy soft leather upholstery on their behinds. The black hide is offset by light-coloured stitching. As part of the R-Design package the front chairs are electrically adjustable and heated. The facia is dominated by Volvo’s tablet-like infotainment touchscreen interface. Highlights of the system include Navigation Pro satellite guidance and an exceptional Bowers & Wilkens high-end hifi both standard in R-Design form. Incidentally, the screen also serves as the display for the 360 degree camera.

On the road

The XC60 we had on loan was fitted Volvo’s T6 powerplant. For those who don’t already know, the largest engine fitted to any Volvo on sale today has just four cylinders. In T6 guise the motor displaces 2,0 litres. To add oomph Volvo uses a super- and turbocharger to the mix. Peak power is rated at 235 kW with a maximum torque figure of 400 N.m. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight speed automatic transmission.

At full throttle the engine shows a willingness to rev to the far side of the dial and when simply cruising at lower speeds the supercharger helps to alleviate any lag when you floor the gas. Eager drivers can also swap cogs using the paddles on the steering wheel. But it’s not a car that really goads you drive it fast so you don’t feel the need to press on at every opportunity.

Even riding on 21-inch alloys the XC60 has a ride quality that is commendable. There are edges to its low speed ride, but for the most part the ride/handling balance from the air suspension is ideally tuned for a vehicle of this type, one that will fulfill the role of school-run car in the week and family holiday mobile on the weekends.


Even though it has a T6 (ie range-leading) badge on it, we don’t really consider the XC60 R-Design in the same vein as sporting SUVs from other brands. And one shouldn’t. Volvo has carefully positioned the XC60 range as an alternative to the major brands, some that are overtly sporty and in the process sacrifice comfort. In the Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design you get an SUV that is made for family use, looks good and it chock-full of standard features. It delivers the goods so well that it was awarded the 2018 World Car of the Year award (among others), which was a surprise to some… but it really shouldn’t have been.

Model: Volvo XC60 T6 Geartronic AWD R-Design

Price: R1 045 600

Engine: 2,0-litre four-cylinder, super- and turbocharged

Transmission: eight-speed automatic, AWD

Max power: 235 kW

Max torque: 400 N.m

Top speed: 230 km/h

0-100 km/h: 5,9 sec

Fuel consumption: 7,7 L/100 km