2012 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design

Posted on 19. Dec, 2011 by in Auto News

With Saab's death dragging on month after month, fans of the brave little Swedish car industry, have not much to celebrate recently. Volvo launched the most powerful car in its history, the 325-horspower Volvo S60 T6 R-Design, and hardly anyone bothered to notice. If either of the buffs spread pounds testing the compact all-wheel-drive sport sedan, they compared it to a four-pot front-wheel-drive Buick, and found that the Buick is better. Before the Audi S4 I found the S60 a clear second. Those who need a segment leading Swede to not despair, though. Do what I did right after driving the S60 in Charleston, WV, and check any other, less mature segment: compact premium SUVs. The XC60 T6 R-Design, with a few pushes of power, since it was introduced two years ago, could be the best of the group.

Although no one is mistaken for a Honda, the XC60 has the appearance of never worked for me in gray-clad, small wheel base trim. The R-Design treatment depends my reservations, and then some. Paint the trim in body color and fit 20-inch five-spoke wheels, and suddenly the overhangs do not appear stretched strange. Most likely this is the look of the designer had in mind when they were carving the clay.

Scandinavian furniture is popular among a certain social class for decades for a reason: Northern Europeans are masters of tasteful modern style. The same aesthetics have been applied in recent Volvos, including these. Nothing remotely over the top, but in the tested two-tone gray much warmer than a German car interior. The materials are more or less in line with the price.

Since this Volvo, the seats are the most comfortable visit. Much cushier than German rivals, but also really supportive forward-backward and sideways. But the S60 sedan has similar, perhaps identical seats, and they do not have enough, was to win comparison tests. So what has the XC60 is that the associated sedan, right? Answer: a higher, more open riding position. You can easily see over the dash and between the upright columns of the crossover. The XC60 is not ye olde might be 240, but it's more of a spiritual successor as the new S60. This increases both the perceived and actual security agility. The driver's right feels more confident behind the wheel.

The XC60 is also a much happier place for the rear passengers. The crossover of the rear seat is much more spacious and comfortable mounted high above the ground. And hold? A sedan with a smaller trunk can not begin to compete with a crossover. The front passenger seat folds both extend the cargo area, a rarity in premium cars, but this feature is even more useful with a tailgate. Put the V60 wagon variant is not currently available in North America, would be more of a struggle.

For 2012, the XC60 T6 R-Design Manual the same powertrain as the S60 T6 R-Design, a transversely mounted 325-horsepower, 354 pound-feet turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder connected to all four wheels via a shiftable six-speed automatic and Haldex-based all-wheel-drive system:

Sorry, could not resist sneaking in this photo. The dealership owner parks his personal collection in the service area, and it includes a "continuation" Cobra. The service writer, the hood for me slammed reports that this beautiful multi-choked V8 was a $ 30,000 option. The Volvo engine:

The Polestar tune adds 25 horsepower and 29 pound-feet to the motor continues to run last year's R-Design and the power of the regular T6. The engine in the 2010 R-Design was good for "only" 281 hp. You can have more than 325 horsepower in a compact sedan. But in the compact SUV segment, the most powerful engine is available. (At least on paper, BMW may underestimate the output of the X3 xDrive35i's 300-hp engine.) The XC60 crossover weighs significantly more than the S60 sedan, 4,236 to 3,877 pounds. But from the driver's seat of the XC60 feels at least as fast, maybe even a little faster. Credit, the more elevated seating position from which you can better see the outside world as the Volvo goes by quickly. The Haldex system here has the same limitations. It is not instantaneously shunt power to the rear wheels so that it with a hard start to control a fraction of a second of the wheel spin and torque.

By any objective measure, the S60 outhandles the XC60. There is no victory over the laws of physics as they apply more pounds and a focus of the earth. But expectations are also lower for a crossover and direct competitors are less talented. Audi offers no S version of the Q5. And the BMW X3 xDrive35i, while certainly a great performer, has vague steering and a cold personality. The XC60 does not have the S60-selectable power steering force generating means. The system makes it similar to the sedan have in his "light" setting, but feel with a less artificial. Not strong athletic and not as communicative as the system in an Audi Q5, but intuitive and good for perceived agility. The crossover of the suspension tuning is not as aggressive as the car is still it is supported by brake-based torque vectoring, partly as a result of handling feels more fluid and natural, while his ride feels smoother and more uniform. Add in the XC60, the driving position, and I found it even more fun to drive than the more stiffly suspended S60 or a competing compact crossover. While the BMW would be faster along a challenging road, I enjoyed the Volvo more. Well, until I had to stop. Even more than in the S60, made Charleston steep winding roads clear that the Volvo brakes are not as strong as the engine.

Equipped as the related sedan, the XC60 lists for about $ 2,000 more. The R-Design starts at $ 44,025. Add a couple of packages and the blind spot warning system heated seats, keyless entry system, nav and an excellent audio system to receive, and you are at $ 50,175. But, as is often the case with a crossover, the XC60 includes more features than the S60. Things like a power tailgate, two-panel (instead of conventional) sunroof, bi-directional obstacle detection, rear privacy glass, and a variety of cargo accessories. Adjust the XC60 the price for these additional content with True Delta car price comparison tool and the XC60 emerged the better value of around $ 900. And a similarly equipped BMW X3 xDrive35i? It's $ 3,750 more then before adjusting for feature differences, and about $ 2,700 more.

The XC60 T6 R-Design is a spacious and comfortable, functional, and more than the S60 sedan, fun to drive. A BMW X3 is a stronger performer and a better handler, but the Volvo has more attractive styling, a more natural feel, and these oh-so-comfortable chairs. On top of this, fits the Volvo XC60 heritage. While three generations of R sedans never quite reached the top shelf status, people have long Volvo for fast, functional car away. The XC60 is the natural evolution of this car, a little larger, but casts a smaller shadow. Car buyers seem to agree. It's easy to find a dealer with a lot of S60s in stock. XC60s are another matter. If I buy a premium brand compact crossover or a Volvo, it would be this.

Vehicle provided by Chris Myers of Smith Company Motor Cars in Charleston, WV. Can be reached at 304-746-1792 Chris.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.