2011 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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I like Volvos. When my daughter Eden was born 19 years ago, we sold our diminutive Ford Festiva and bought a Volvo 740 Wagon. Vera Volvo (our pet name for "her") was a battle tank, and gave us the peace of mind to transport our most precious cargo in comfort and style.

So for 2011, I am still a fan of the Swedish brand that's now owned by the Chinese firm Geely. And the Chinese have wisely left Volvo alone to do what they do best – build some of the safest cars in the world. And now the safety comes with a measure of style. Boxy Volvos have been replaced with sedans, coupes, convertibles and SUVs with, dare I say, sex appeal. Yes, Volvos are now as cool to look at, as they are safe and fun to drive.

Case in point is the 2011 Volvo XC60 SUV. It was finished in Passion Red paint, burnished with bright trim on the mirrors, doors and roof. It was quite a stunner that drove as good as it looked.

My test vehicle was the turbocharged T6 "R-Design" model, with All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and, of course, a host of safety features.

Perhaps the most fun I had during the week of testing was to see reactions of passengers when I put my foot deep into the gas pedal. This XC60 moves out with alacrity, thanks to a twin-scroll turbocharger and a power output of 281 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. People expect this type of performance in a SUV from Porsche, Mercedes, Audi and BMW. Not from stodgy Volvo. As I mentioned earlier, Volvo is more than just about safety now!

The XC60 interior is also up to the task, with two-tone leather wrapped around very supportive seats. Overhead is a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, a feature that really brightens the interior. This five-passenger SUV features a 40/20/40 split second row, so folding one or more sections gives you lots of flexibility when you need to haul cargo.  

R-Design elements include gorgeous 20-inch wheels, a sports suspension, dual chromed tailpipes, a blue "watch dial" instrument cluster, and various leather and metal trim accents.

Volvo's "City Safety" is a worthy standard safety feature. At speeds of 30 km/h or less, if City Safety detects a stopped or slower moving car in front of you, it will apply the brakes if you fail to do so and come to a complete stop if necessary. In today's text message, cell phone and makeup-applying-while-driving world, technology like this could save an incredible amount of money, and lost time in these "fender bender" type accidents that are usually caused by an inattentive driver. It can also help save lives. Electronic stability control, multiple airbags, whiplash protection front seats, and bright LED taillights are among other life saving safety features that help make Volvo synonymous with safety.

My test vehicle was the XC60 T6 R-Design Platinum edition, outfitted with several key features such as premium audio, a navigation system with real time traffic, and rear backup camera), and the $950 Climate Package (includes heated rear seats, windshield washer nozzles, headlight washers, and rain sensor wipers – or you can opt to switch out the heated rear seats for a set of integrated child safety seats for the same $950 charge if you want) and the $2,100 Technology Package (includes adaptive cruise control, collision warning system, lane departure warning, and driver alert control among other features). The base price for the XC60 T6 R-Design Platinum is $59,095, and the price as tested including packages and shipping charges was $63,240.

Nearly 65 grand for a Volvo? Yes, times have changed. Before you blow this off as an overpriced vehicle though, go test drive one. I'll bet you'll be as impressed as I was with the ride comfort, performance, luxury and utility of the XC60. Oh yea, you might be impressed knowing that if things go wrong and you are in an accident, the XC60 offers the safety that might allow you to be around to read the next Volvo review.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, SUV, Volvo, 2011, XC60, $40,000 - $49,999, $50,000 - $74,999,

Organizations: Volvo

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