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Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Nav AWD – review

It’s safety first with Volvo’s XC60, but now with a little extra style and sportiness thrown in…

Volvo has a vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. The XC60 is proof positive that Volvo is well on its way to achieving its goal.

Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Nav AWD

The Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Nav AWD competes with the likes of the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Ford Kuga and Range Rover Evoque.

The XC60 I drove came with a 2.4-litre five cylinder diesel engine mated to six-speed automatic gearbox.

The R-Design package is meant to “create the perfect balance between sporty edge and sophisticated style”. And little touches like part-leather front sports seats with side support, leather steering wheel and shiny, twin tailpipes, achieve just that.

It’s no slouch either, proving to be surprisingly swift for a big car (it’s capable of 0-60 in 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 124mph). It can be hustled too – slipping the gearshift into sport mode results in rapid changes and swifter acceleration, but maybe that’s for after the kids have been dropped off at school.

Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Nav AWD

Performance is a ‘nice-have’ but it’s not what the XC60 is about – safety, space and comfort are what matters.

I can only scratch the surface when it comes to safety features, but they include a whiplash protection system, inflatable curtain airbags and City Safety crash prevention, which can detect an imminent collision and bring the car to a complete halt.

I didn’t try it, but then the eager beeping I triggered on a few occasions when I got too close to the car in front rather negated the need for City Safety. Like it or not, beeping and flashing lights are part of the Volvo experience.

Inside, the XC60 is spacious and practical. As with all SUVs, you sit high up so there’s a commanding driving position. That said, the car has high door lines, so very small kids in the back might struggle to see out. There’s plenty of room for five and the seats are comfy, especially in the front, where there’s a fantastic range of adjustments available.

Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Nav AWD

There are ample storage spaces for all those odds and ends, including big door bins, cubbyholes and cupholders. Needless to say, the boot is huge and if you fold the rear seats flat, it’s enormous. Note, there’s no option for a third row of seats with the XC60.

There’s a great sense of quality about the XC60, inside and out. It’s also solid and easy to drive on all types of road, but it’s at its best as a relaxing cruiser.

Volvo doesn’t market it as an a serious off-roader, but the Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Nav AWD is four-wheel-drive so it shouldn’t disgrace itself on a dirt track or in the worst of a British winter.

Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Nav AWD

The XC60 is hard to fault. My only niggle was the 2.4 litre diesel engine which though frugal (it’s capable of 53mpg), was a tad noisy, especially on acceleration at lower speeds, and the multimedia system in the centre console which was fiddly and not the most intuitive I’ve experienced.

The car I tested was packed with extras, such as gearshift paddles, rear tinted glass and park assist, taking the ‘on the road’ price of £35,260 up to £45,150. The XC60 range starts at £31,260 for the 2.0 diesel version.

Verdict: The good-looking XC60 is exactly what you’d expect of a big Volvo and more – safe, classy, well-built, practical and effortless to drive.

Twitter: @GarethHerincx

Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Nav AWD

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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