Driven: Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Review

Driven: Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Review

Following a weeklong test drive of the Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design here are my thoughts on this impressive mid-sized SUV.

What is the Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design all about?

The Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design has been around since 2010 and is Volvo’s answer to the mid-size SUV market. The car on test drive is the R-Design version, which comes with some additional styling features.

Volvo XC60 Night (28)

The Volvo XC60 D4 is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine that creates 181bhp and 420Nm of torque. All the power goes through an 8-speed automatic gearbox and through to the front wheels. This Volvo XC60 will do 0-60mph in 10.2 seconds and will do a maximum of 121mph. It is worth noting if you want an all-wheel drive version of this car it is also available in this configuration.

How does it drive?

Getting into the Volvo XC60 you don’t feel as if you’ve got into a full size off-road vehicle. You feel more as if you’ve got a slightly raised, spacious car. The height of the car is actually pretty good and makes it very easy to get in and out of the car.

You can get into the car and start it by simply having the key in your pocket. When you pull the handle the car will check if the key is within range and unlock the door, once inside you can press the start button on the dash to bring the car to life. Then you knock the car into gear, and remove the electrically operated handbrake by pulling up the lever under the steering wheel, then you’re off.

Volvo XC60 Day (81)

The visibility from inside the car, even being this large, was good, you can easily see all round you and the large wing mirrors aid visibility too. The test model had the rear parking camera and twin left and right front cameras for use at T-junctions, a great feature to have.

Volvo XC60 Day (17)

The car is on 18-inch alloy wheels but still feels incredibly soft on the UK roads, which we all know are commonly riddled with potholes.

With 181bhp under the bonnet there is plenty of performance to make this 1,816KG car go as fast as you will need it to in everyday life and the brakes are also equally capable to cope with a vehicle of this size. Overall the car feels pretty powerful and it is a great fit for those of us looking for a car to meet our more practical requirements.

Volvo XC60 Day (75)

The Volvo XC60 is full of advanced features, often these features are found on cars with a lot higher price tags. But Volvo delivers the same experience at a very affordable price.

Volvo XC60 Day (46)

Examples of these features are the adaptive cruise control, which uses radar to manage the distance between you and the vehicle in front and will slow you down or accelerate as required to take the effort away from the driver. The car will always be kept at a safe distance. If needed it is possible for the car to bring itself to a controlled and gentle stop. To move off you can literally tap the accelerator again and the car will continue keeping the set distance up to the preconfigured cruise speed.

Volvo XC60 Day (7)

The Volvo XC60 on test was fitted with cameras on either side of the front of the car to give you extra visibility via the infotainment screen in the centre of the dashboard, great for if you arrive at a limited visibility T-junction for example. You get a view as if you are sitting on the end of the bonnet; this kind of technology is actually really valuable and will certainly help to reduce the number of accidents on the road.

Volvo XC60 Day (38)

Another great feature is Volvo’s City Safe functionality that can fully auto-brake the car if its intelligent systems believe you’re going to have a collision with a person or another car when travelling below 29mph. Now I haven’t been brave enough to test this functionality, but it will certainly save lives over years to come.

Volvo XC60 Day (70)

What is it like inside?

The Volvo XC60, as with all Volvos, follows the same standard design look and includes the same features as the rest of the range. The main difference with the XC60 is the additional headroom and cabin space; but overall it’s not much different from the rest of the range, which is fantastic.

Volvo XC60 Day (57)

Everything is nicely designed and clearly laid out. The driver instruments are fully digitised, which allows you to change the metrics that are visible to you. There are three themes to choose from as default Elegance, Eco and Performance.

Volvo XC60 Day (55)

The infotainment system is brilliantly simple to use and is controlled by buttons on the steering wheel and the controls on the central dashboard.

Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design

The experience

The Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design provides a brilliant driving experience. The thing that stood out to me the most was how enjoyable the XC60 was, not to mention it is a highly intelligent car with the latest safety systems installed on it, all of the additional security alongside the soft ride and solid build quality of the car gives you an overwhelming sense of safety and security.

Volvo XC60 Night (14)

The XC60 isn’t just about the making of an educated decision and driving it because you know your passengers are well protected, the XC60 is also a very stylish car. The Swedish design looks pretty impressive from the front, and in my opinion the Ice White version we had on test really can’t be beaten.


The Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design has met all the needs and requirements of the mid-size SUV market and blown the competition away with Volvo’s innovative safety and comfort features. The best point about the XC60 is simply how practical the car is; the external footprint of the car is reasonably small in the SUV world, but the useable space inside is as good as it comes. If you are in the market for a mid-size SUV, you would be a fool not to buy an XC60.

Volvo XC60 Day (41) Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Review

Video Highlights


Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design
  • Price: £ 43,140
  • Engine: 2.0-Litre Diesel turbocharged
  • Power: 181bhp
  • Torque: 420Nm
  • Transmission: 8 Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 10.2 Seconds
  • Top speed: 121mph
  • Weight: 1,816kg
  • Economy combined: 44mpg
  • CO2: 169 g/km

Full Gallery7 Day Diary

Author: Paul Hadley