Review: 2012 Volvo XC60 R-Design Polestar Take Two

Posted on 13. Jul, 2012 by in Auto News

Volvo has long been the "safe choice" in more ways than one. Permeated the brand's reputation in safety, but in the last 30 years "with a touch of luxury performance" is a second priority. Even still, will release on arrival at Country Club not in a Volvo, the green-eyed monster. Their fellow celebrities are only think you have to be safe and practical. Volvo may be the Birkenstock of the automotive world, but that does not stop them from creating the occasional irrational vehicle. While Volvo is not ready to commit to build the insane 508HP S60R, they will sell you the most powerful small crossover in America: The 2012 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD R-Design with Polestar. (If you do not count the bat-s ** t-crazy (in a good way) Nissan Juke R. Michael Karesh XC60 R-Design one could wrangle from a local dealer for a quick take in December, but what is the Polestar tweaked XC happy to live with for a week? Click to find out through the jump to.

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Founded in 1996, Polestar Volvo is quick to "pet" tuning company. While she was "on stage" for a while in Europe, the fact that Volvo provides cover in North America Polestar upgrades under the factory warranty, the seriousness of the marriage. As Polestar is mainly a tuning company, there is little to distinguish the stronger XC60 from its lesser brethren on the outside. The same modern lines blend with the traditional Volvo "hip" to one of the most attractive crossover form on our shores. While the look is instantly recognizable as a Volvo, it is also quite modern. If you doubt me, just a park next to a XC60 XC90 and compare. For R-design requirement, Volvo tweaked the bumper covers, added some chrome bling and swapped the stock 235-rel-tire rubber for the largest Volvo has ever used: 255/45R20s. Unfortunately, the more secure the Swedish R design shod with all-season tires, luckily that is easy to fix.

Interior

Volvo has long been a tradition of the extended model sprinkled lifetimes with the mid-cycle refresh and annual improvements. To that end, the majority of the interior is the same as the XC60 we had in December 2010, but Volvo has made some improvements to the XC fresh. From 2011 XC60 models receive a 7-inch infotainment display in the dashboard. (Earlier models had an uneasy basis cubby if you do not get the lackluster navigation system.) Also new for 2011 is a revised steering wheel with a thick edge and new infotainment controls. While there are still a few "Volvoisims" are found (such as the storage space behind the center console and the off-beat two-tone upholstery color palate), the XC60 mainstream luxury crossover all the way. Fit and finish in our test model was excellent and the soft-touch materials and leather easy to bind with the BMW X3 for the best in this class. After a week with the XC60, is my only complaint about the interior of the location of the infotainment / navigation screen. Volvo ditched her trademark "pop-up" display, which was positioned high on the instrument panel is a conventional display. The new location means that your eyes further from the road to look at the map. With 30.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats t, and 67.4 cubic feet with the rear seats and a standard folding front passenger seat, the XC60 will swallow more than one charge of Euro competition including bulky IKEA furniture packs.

Infotainment

Volvo's new "Sensus" system is a welcome (and long overdue) improvement. It combines high resolution, standard aspect ratio LCD in the center of the dashboard. While I was disappointed that Volvo remains the possibility of using a larger screen missed the size to compete with Mercedes COMAND system, the. Q5 MMI and the base screen in X3 (BMW optional 8.8-inch iDrive screen is much more attractive, however.) Volvo's new interface is easy to use, well laid out and can be controlled via the steering wheel or the buttons and controls on the center console. Voice commands work well from the competition but Apple iDevice integration continues to be a weak point. Navigate your iDevice is pretty easy, but not as responsive as many systems and there is no vehicle-specific apps with the Volvo system like BMW offers. The new system will certainly happy XC60 owners, but they can get a hint of techo-jeallousy if they continued in their buddies Bimmer.

Well tuned audio systems have long been a Volvo trademark. The XC60-based 160-watt 8-speaker system comes with standard HD Radio, Bluetooth phone integration, USB / iPod / Aux connections and XM Satellite Radio. An optional 650-watt, 12-speaker premium audio system is available and adds Dolby ProLogic II decoder in the mix. Despite a lower number of speakers than BMW sound systems, I found the balance and tone system both more gratifying than the German department.

Drivetrain

When Volvo first started "R-Design", it was just an appearance package, thankfully, that the changes. Instead of designing a unique engine for the R-Design vehicles, as it did with former S60R and V70R, they turned to Polestar to increase the power of the existing turbo engine. The result is a 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger that cranks out 325HP and a stump-pulling 354 pounds-ft of twist. Power is transferred to all four wheels via a standard Aisin 6-speed automatic and Haldex AWD system routed. Polestar was allowed to stiffen the springs by 10% fiddle with the steering ratio and reprogram the transmission for sportier gear shifts. Perhaps in deference to the rural Sweden living with miles of unpaved roads, the Jeep left Volvo-like 9.1 inches ground clearance intact.

Driving

One might think that an empty weight 4,264 pounds and 9-inch ground clearance, the XC60 would be treated like a pig, but the only swine flu metaphor that is for is: this thing pulls like a banshee. We clocked a solid 5.6 seconds to 60, just 1:10 behind the 2012 BMW X3 xDrive35i, but more importantly a whopping 1.5 seconds faster than the first XC60 T6 we tested in 2010. The observant will notice in the amount that is 1/2 seconds faster than the Q5 3.2 and nearly a full second faster than the GLK350. Suspicious? In fact, but a trip to a local dealer with our test model showed identical times with the two R-Design on the property. When it gets hard on winding the big XC60 takes impressively despite driving rel and all-season tires. The BMW is still handling the king of the luxury CUV class, but as unlikely as it sounds, the Volvo is a close second. The disadvantage of this unexpected handling prowess is a hard drive from the stiffer springs and low profile tires.

Volvo would not be complete get away without a bevy of electronic security systems on your skin. However, unlike Infiniti Volvo takes a different approach to electronic nanny. Infiniti systems act, intrusive, even before intervening point of no return, while Volvo systems only when the car decides it's too late for you to act to do something. For 2012, Volvo has updated the City Safety system to recognize pedestrians and vehicles in the way. Intervene as long as you drive under 19MPH the system and stop completely if thinks it an accident is unavoidable. Fortunately, Volvo realized that 19MPH is a bit slow for the American market and has announced that beginning with the 2013 model year, the system will operate at speeds up to 31mph. (No word if existing Volvos can be upgraded.) On the luxury feature before, has the optional radar cruise control has been optimized to process stop-and-go traffic, you accelerate to a complete stop and then when the Traffic moves. The system is quiet and solidarity with the latest Mercedes system for the best dynamic cruise control system available.

I think the XC60 R-design could be just the best kept secret in the luxury market. While the X3 xDrive35i is the obvious sporting choice, to your sporty CUV thirst, the XC60 R-Design delivers 99% performance and 95% of the technology for about $ 3,000 less. The XC60 R-Design proves that Volvo is a gravel road-capable CUV do with styling flair, BMW performance and competitive enough electronic nannies to the risk-averse in the crowd (not to mention to your insurance broker) to satisfy. The real question is whether buyers. Actually cross-shop the Volvo with its German competitors

Volvo has long been building a reputation for cars that are safe and durable, but less than sexy. With a reputation like that, and a distinct lack of advertising to the contrary, the XC60 R-Design is likely to remain a niche product. Seriously, when was the last time you even saw a Volvo advertising on TV? Neither do I. Too bad, because the XC60 R-Design performance ratio it took simply to make the best all-around luxury crossover.

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