By Ben Lewis
HOLLYWOOD(Perfect Travel Today)11/6/14/–If the words Swedish, Sexy, and SUV don’t seem to go together, you haven’t driven the 2015.5 Volvo XC60.
In a world of BMW X3’s, Audi Q5’s and Mercedes GLK’s, the Volvo XC60 might seem a bit of an outlier – but the big surprise is just how stylish and exciting this still-sensible Swede can be. And lets you stand out a bit from the crowd as well.
Part of the trick is knowing which model to go for. While the XC60 is one of the most handsome of the small SUV’s (or Crossover, if you like), if you want some wow factor, you need to opt for the R-Design model.
On the outside, the R-Design sets itself aside from its IKEA-bound siblings with unique 20-inch, diamond-cut black alloy wheels that really fill out the wheelwells and an aggressive body kit, featuring unique lower grille, contrasting rear diffuser and polished sport tailpipes.
Our tester, in appropriately named Passion Red really stood out, but a selection of Black, Silver and White are available if you’d like to fly under the radar.
Which may not be a bad idea, as the R-Design does want to fly. A big part of this is thanks to Polestar – the partner to Volvo that has been optimizing the Swede’s racing vehicle for the past 10 years.
The powerplant for R-Design is a turbo 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder that, thanks to the Polestar upgrade, pumps out 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. The tuning turns the XC60 into a rocket that leaps off the line and pulls like a freight train – even at freeway speeds. Paddle shifters give easy access to the quick-shifting 6-speed automatic.
The R-Design package also gives upgrades to the suspension, and the steering feels firm and connected, making the Volvo easy to zip around town, while the suspension is well tamped down, but still very comfortable for long hauls on the super slab. It’s as good as the German competition – most impressive.
This being a Volvo, you can count on an impressive level of safety equipment as well, and our tester impressed with Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist that can even bring the car to a complete stop and resume automatically. Rush hour will never be the same.
Inside, you might like the XC60 better than the other Europeans. Scandinavian Design means a more simplistic approach, with very little bling, but it’s a great soothing place to spend time, and the materials are first class throughout. Volvo’s patented center floating stack houses simple intuitive controls. The metallic trim is handsome, and the front seats are simply Swedish – exquisitely comfortable and supportive, short drive or long. Those in back will have little to complain about, and folding down the rear seat reveals plenty of cargo space.
What price for curb appeal? While the Volvo XC60 starts at $36,200 for a front-drive model, our loaded to the gills T6 AWD R-Design came in at just over $53,000. Pricing out a similar BMW X3 rang the bell at well over $60,000, so we found our Sexy Swede to be a bit of a bargain as well. That’s sensible. And highly recommended.
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211