2012 Volvo XC60 R-Design

Of the current Volvo offerings, the XC70 is the most station wagon-like of the bunch. But the fact that the XC60 handily outsells the XC70 is proof that what the market wants is different from what many purists and I believe Volvo should be building.

To its credit, though, the XC60 has attractive, modern styling, particularly in the beautiful lamp housings. It drives pretty well as crossovers go, and the turbocharged six-cylinder engine provides plenty of oomph. This Volvo is comfortable and spacious inside. I personally have a hard time falling in love with the XC60 because I love old-school Volvo wagons, but I can easily see how lots of people more hip than I am could dig this car.

I was less than enamored with two of the XC60’s high-tech safety features. The lane-departure warning system is overly aggressive and was set to default to the on position each time the car was restarted (fortunately there’s a handy hard button to switch it off). The following-distance function, called Distance Alert, shows a red light where you’d find a head-up display in some cars, and it gets progressively brighter as you get closer to the car in front of you. Its threshold also seemed quite conservative, so I found myself turning it off as well.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

Given how much I loved our Four Seasons Volvo S60, it’s no surprise that I fell for the XC60 as well; it is, after all, basically a tall hatchback version of the S60. The same clean, elegant, and pleasing design carries over from the sedan to the SUV, as does the same luxurious interior and unflappable chassis. Sadly, the poorly designed infotainment system and a steering column that doesn’t telescope far enough also show up in the 60-series SUV.

What is new to us is the R-Design trim, which includes a firmer suspension, racy body kit, and a bump in power over the lesser XC60 and S60 models. That means an additional 25 hp and 29 lb-ft of torque from the turbocharged I-6. The six still sounds sweet and, as I found out when I drove this car in Arizona last winter, power comes on in more of a wallop than a linear thrust. Skipping the R-Design level means giving up the extra power, but I don’t think it’s really needed — especially since you also save a couple thousand dollars in doing so.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor

I was not a fan of the R-Design initiative as applied to the S60 sedan, but it seems like a more coherent package here on the XC60 crossover. I was smitten by the inline six-cylinder engine’s big burst of off-the-line acceleration, even if, as Donny Nordlicht points out, it’s more of a wallop than a steady build-up. And I loved the blue-ringed instruments. (It’s the little things in life, folks.) But what I really like about the XC60 has nothing to do with R-Design but with the base vehicle itself and the impressive packaging of its rear cargo area. The rear seatbacks fold forward easily and the headrests tumble under, creating a totally flat load floor, and the cargo cover removes easily. These are the sort of crucial features that make a crossover easy to live with day-to-day. One other thing: On a 92-degree day, the mesh cover for the moonroof did a pretty decent job of keeping out the heat.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

2012 Volvo XC60 R-Design

MSRP (with destination): $44,575

3.0-liter DOHC turbocharged I-6
Horsepower (hp): 325 @ 6500 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 354 @ 3000 rpm

6-speed automatic


20-inch aluminum wheels
255/45VR-20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires

FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
17/23/20 mpg

4236 lb

Doors/Passengers: 4/5
Cargo (rear seats up/down): 30.8/67.4 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 41.2/36.4 in
Headroom (front/rear): 38.0/38.1 in
Towing: 3300 lb

Cosmic White metallic/Beige

R-Design sport chassis
20-inch 5-spoke wheels w/all-season tires
Chrome-plated skid plate and dual tailpipes
Matte-finished lower body moldings
Silk metal grille w/R-Design logo
R-Design leather seats
Blue watch dial instrument cluster
Leather sport steering wheel and shift knob
City Safety
Rear fog light
LED accent tail lights
Volvo Sensus w/7-inch LCD monitor
Panoramic roof w/power sunshade
Active dual-Xenon headlights
8-way power front seats
Dual-zone climate control
Cruise control
Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
Heated exterior mirrors
40/20/40-split folding rear seats and head restraints
Flat-folding rear seats and front passenger seat
8-speaker audio system w/amplifier
HD radio
USB port
Auxiliary audio jack
SiriusXM satellite radio w/6-month subscription

Platinum package- $4450
Voice-controlled navigation
Volvo premium audio system
Rearview camera
Keyless entry and ignition
Power liftgate
Front and rear parking assist
Cargo cover
Grocery bag holder
12V cargo-area outlet
Power folding rear headrests
Climate and technology packages- $3100
Heated front and rear seats
Headlight washers
Heated windshield washer nozzles
Rain-sensing windshield
Interior air quality system
Adaptive cruise control w/queue assist
Collision warning w/automatic braking
Distance alert and driver alert control
Lane departure warning
Metallic paint- $550

Blind spot monitoring system- $700
Rear seat entertainment package- $1800
Front blind view assist camera- $755

The R-Design has an additional 25 hp and 29 lb-ft of torque over the standard XC60 T6.

Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, Mercedes-Benz GLK-class

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