Test Drive: Volvo R-Design (Part 3)

Volvo XC60 R-Design

By Barbara & Bill Schaffer

Now in its third year the Volvo XC60 is one of our favorite premium compact crossovers.? From the dramatic styling to the world-class safety systems to the strong performance, the XC60 stands out in the crowded category.

For 2012, major changes include a new R-Design engine, new trim level and more features.? Adding more bite to the latest model, the 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine gets the Polestar software treatment, and like the S60 version, horsepower and torque receive a nice bump to 325-hp and 354-lb.ft. of torque.? Essentially the same drivetrain as the S60 and about 400 pounds heavier, the XC60 can produce a 6.9-second 0 to 60 mph time and the same top speed electronically limited to 130 mph. The weight and less aerodynamic body drops the fuel economy numbers to 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

The R-Design package also includes 20-inch ?Cratus? alloy wheels, metallic-themed interior with unique aluminum inserts on the steering wheel.? It also adds R-design attributes like silk metal finish outside mirror housings, trim moldings, skid plates, twin chrome tailpipes and the R-Design logo embossed in the front seat backrests and on the grille.

??????????? The XC60 was the first Volvo offering standard HD Radio, which improves the radio signals to digital quality. ?The XC60’s standard system includes Bluetooth? streaming audio, AUX and USB inputs.

The XC60 is available in three engine defined-models: the 240-hp 3.2 FWD, the 300-hp T6 AWD and new 325-hpTX AWD R-Design.? Each model is offered in three trim levels, the base, Premier Plus and Platinum. (The 3.2 is also offered at Premier level.)

Volvo?s new trim strategy adds features like power tailgate with programmable memory setting, front and rear park assist and Personal Car Communicator for the Premier Plus.? The Platinum level takes all the other features and adds a premium sound system and navigation with rear park assist camera.? Speaking of navigation systems, the previous generation Volvo navigation that rose from the dash on some models and was controlled by a toggle switch on the rear side of the steering wheel was one of the worst in the industry, but the new system with real time traffic is a major improvement.

The XC60 is great fun to drive with its tight suspension, precise steering and high torque turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Handling is more like a sport sedan than a SUV thanks to the extra-ridged body structure and Polestar upgrades.

Pricing starts at $34,175, including the destination charge for the XC60 3.2 and goes up to $49,025 for the XC60 T6 AWD R-Design Platinum.? All the options can take the R-Design Platinum to just over $55,000.

Tomorrow see part 4 – C30 R-Design

More from Our Auto Expert