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Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design 2011 review

The tagline "boxy, but nice" is old hat as Volvo picks up a restrained fluid shape ending in distinctive S-shaped tail lights.

AS a "baby boomer" I admit to a frugal upbringing leading to a wardrobe of trousers with deep pockets. I live a life just short of camping out at the Two-Dollar Shop - waiting for the specials - and one with a fascination of finding value for money. My house is full of stuff I don't need - but, by gum, that stuff was cheap! So I was delighted to find the Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design which, though recently the subject of a $5340 price rise, gets a staggering list of standard features that puts it streets ahead of its rivals. Value for money? You bet!


This is the XC60's key to success - a big, safe and family-friendly wagon that's made by the seriously safe car company, Volvo. Value is all through the XC60 range but we're here with the T6 R-Design that is the most expensive of the model line-up. It costs $75,990 but includes City Safety - that automatically stops you doing a low-speed kiss with the car in front - plus adaptive cruise control with auto braking, pedestrian detection so you can identify your wife at the shops, rear camera and sensors, bending lights, 12-speaker surround sound with Bluetooth audio streaming, sat-nav and so on.


The tagline "boxy, but nice" is old hat as Volvo picks up a restrained fluid shape ending in distinctive S-shaped tail lights. It looks good and works even better thanks to the R-Design's big wheels and aggressive body kit. Inside it's sports seats in leather and upgraded instruments and trim items. The rear hatch is electric, making it easy for people of smaller stature to access the luggage area. Two boosters are within the rear seat cushion making this perfect for travelling with children and the rear seat splits 40-20-40 to accommodate lots of cargo shapes. Though crammed with goodies, the execution is Swedish subtle, user friendly and appears to be very well made.


The unusual bit here is the inline engine which is stretched transversely between the front wheels. Inline sixes are inherently smooth - call BMW to the witness stand - and the 3-litre turbocharged Volvo is no exception. It's also sparkling and reasonably fuel efficient. It only comes with a six-speed sequential auto which permanently drives the front wheels with an "on demand" coupling to the rear. The R-Design has sports suspension and sits 15mm lower than its sisters, gets water-repellent windows, auto wipers but - strangely - no auto headlights. Other high-tech highlights are within the extensive, and mind-boggling, safety package listed below.


This has third-generation Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist (allows you to tail the car in front), blind spot detection, pedestrian detection (find people and avoid them) and Full Auto Brake (to stop you before you stop yourself). ACC allows the car to maintain a safe distance to the car in front using a radar sensor and digital camera integrated with the cruise control and - in its latest guise- offers full braking capability. City Safety will, for speeds up to 30km/h, automatically stop the car when it detects an object ahead. There's also six airbags, electronic stability and traction control and even roll stability control.


At 1846kg dry, it's not a small car but it's certainly quick and even nimble. The engine is smooth, responsive and quiet and perfectly suits this prestige-segment SUV which perhaps has Buckley's chance of seeing dirt under its tyres. Though it gets sports suspension with stiffer springs and different dampers, the ride is never harsh. The benefit is tidy handling. It holds its line well through the bends and really it's only the dullness of the steering feel and extra body roll of the tall wagon that will slow you down. Best of all, it works so well in conditions as varied as long country runs, twisty roads and city congestion. But it's not really suited to the dirt.


At this price, it's a winner. It has the style to twist the heads of passers-by, the comfort to be a luxury car and the flexibility to suit the family.
at a glance


Price: $70,650
Warranty: 3 years, roadside assist
Resale: 55%
Service interval: 15,000km or 12 months
Economy: 10.5 l/100km; 251g/km CO2
Safety equipment: six airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD, EBA, TC.
Crash rating: 5 star
Engine: 224kW/440Nm 3.0-litre 6-cyl, turbo-petrol
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Body: 5-door, 5 seats
Dimensions: 4627 (L); 1891mm (W); 1713mm (H); 2774mm (WB)
Weight: 1846kg
Tyre size: 235/60R18, space-saver spare

Pricing Guides

Based on 30 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

3.2 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $12,320 – 16,500 2011 Volvo XC60 2011 3.2 Pricing and Specs
3.2 Teknik 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,530 – 17,820 2011 Volvo XC60 2011 3.2 Teknik Pricing and Specs
D5 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $16,995 – 19,990 2011 Volvo XC60 2011 D5 Pricing and Specs
D5 R-Design 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $17,600 – 22,330 2011 Volvo XC60 2011 D5 R-Design Pricing and Specs
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist


Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on 5 car listings in the last 6 months

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