I want to start by apologising for the bad photography the bad weather all week meant I didn’t get any decent photos and the ones I got were done on my phone and up to my usual standard so I’m a little disappointed by them.
I was a little excited to pick the keys up to the Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design Polestar not only because this was going to be my first review of a premium brand but this particular car had the magic blue Polestar badge on the rear.
Polestar is Volvo’s performance and racing partner and Polestar takes Volvos and makes them extra special with performance upgrades.
From the outside the XC60 looks great the front end with Volvo’s trade mark grille gives the XC60 and up market but slightly aggressive look thanks the to R-Design add ons, The lightly sloping front end and rear end styling complete with attractive 20inch alloys complete the look.
Step inside and you get a distinct waft of elegance, the R-Design leather sports seats are not only extremely comfortable but very supportive as well when cornering, with electric adjustment and 3 memory storage its not only easy to find your favourite driving position you won’t lose it either.
The leather bound steering wheel is not only comfortable to hold, but the perfect thickness as well, also has controls for the adaptive cruise control, audio system, and Bluetooth.
Behind the wheel are alloy gear shift paddles for when you want to take things into your own hands.
The instrument panel is a big LCD screen, Volvo calls it an Adaptive Digital Display and it has 3 different themes you can choose from.
Elegance which has a nice blue and black tone gives you a speedo in the middle and temp gauge on the left and rev tacho on the right, Eco which is a green colour gives you the same setup except the temp gauge is replaced with a ECO gauge.
The last and my fav setting is Performance which turns the screen red, the gauge in the middle changes to a large rev tacho with a large digital speedo in the middle, to the right is power metre.
One other nifty function is the road sign info display status, A camera behind the review mirror scans the road ahead and read’s the speed limit signs along the road and the speed limit shows up on your instrument display a word of warning though as it’s fooled by school zones and their hours of operation.
Your satnav directions also pop up in the middle of the the display so you don’t have to worry about looking at the screen in the centre of the dash.
This is simply one of the most attractive looking instrument setups I’ve experienced.
The dash is made from soft touch material and the centre is home to the LCD screen from the media system.
While a lot of cars these days have large touch screen the Volvo doesn’t, instead its operated by the dials below.
At first glance the amount of buttons do seem a touch daunting at first, but once you learn which buttons are which it gets easier. You can also access via the steering wheel controls or the voice recognition system.
The Volvo Sensus system is great and allows you to access and change the settings for many of the cars settings including such things as City Safety, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection, Driver Alert Control, audio, phone and a whole lot more.
The Sat Nav which also can be controlled with the steering wheel buttons is easy to use and works very well.
The integrated Bluetooth hands free system works extremely well and once paired It offers live streaming of media from your phone, there also is the option to stream from the internet via Bluetooth or wifi. But the only way I could get it to work to on my phone was to turn into a WIFI hotspot and connect that way as for some reason I couldn’t get it to connect via Bluetooth.
This particular car came with the optional premium sound system and the sound was great thanks to its 12 speakers powered by a 5×130 W digital amp but I did find it struggled with some songs with a lot of bass considering a lot of the music on my usb stick in heavy metal or thrash I didn’t turn the bass up much during the week but I will say the sound extremely crisp.
It only took a couple km for me really start liking the XC60T6 R-Design and whats under the bonnet, the T6 badge on the back stands for Volvo’s awesome 3.0L turbo charged 6 which thanks to the Polestar upgrades pushes out an extremely healthy 242Kw and 480Nm of torque. Volvo claims a 0-100km time of 6.6 secs and after driving it around for a week I would agree with that, this car really does have some impressive acceleration.
In the normal world the XC60 T6 R will happily just laze around in bumper to bumper traffic without a care in the world and it has more than enough power to keep up with any traffic this side of an F1 GP.
Should the urge arise (and believe me it will) and you decide to explore the turbo 6 in a more deep and meaningful way, the acceleration is just unbelievable, while I didn’t get the chance to really try it out properly on my usual test loop due to the rubbish weather.
The rain did however give me plenty of chances to test out just how good AWD system is, even in the biggest of rain storms it never felt like it was going to break traction or lose control even brought nothing but lots if acceleration (and a big grin to my face), the car just gripped and took off like a scolded cat. Now my only low light to my week driving it was the fact I didn’t get to do a lot of km’s in the car as I would have like to of done so I didn’t get a chance to take it on the open road.
So unfortunately the only fuel economy figures came from a week of bumper to bumper traffic and it returned 16L/100km while some of you might think that’s a little on the high side I think it was pretty impressive considering it didn’t drive it sedately at all.
Backing the fantastic turbo 6 is Volvo 6sp Adaptive Geartronic with gear shift paddles, the transmission is perfectly suited to the engine when left to shift for itself the transmission shifts smoothly and are barely noticeable. Putting it into sports and the transmission will hold the gears longer letting explore the engines torque, should you want to shift for yourself you can use the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.
Handling wise the rain ruined any chances of me really finding out how good the sports chassis really is, what corners I did get to throw at it the XC60 T6 R handled them wonderfully. There was no hint of body roll and it seemed to sit nice and flat. The downside to that was it did ride a little harsh on some of Sydney’s typical B roads, the steering might seem touch heavy to some people but I though it was weighted well and there was a decent amount of sharpness to it.
Volvo prides itself on the safety levels of their cars and as you would expect this car is absolutely packed full of safety features including:
City Safety, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Emergency Brake Lights with hazard light activation, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC, Roll Stability Control (RSC); driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags front, two full length Inflatable Curtain airbags, Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) including SIPS airbags in front seats, Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS) and the list goes on including built in booster cushions in rear outer seats which is great if you have younger children. It also comes with rear parking sensors and gets maximum bonus points for having a rear parking camera as well.
This particular car came with the optional driver support package which adds even more safety features including Adaptive Cruise Control (at all speeds), Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Active High Beam (AHB), Road Sign Information (RSI), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), Front parking sensors and Auto dim rear view mirror and side mirrors.
So after a week in the XC60 T6 R-Design while I didn’t put the mileage on it I wanted to, I came away feeling more than impressed. The massive amount of safety features combined with the added sure footedness of the AWD system meant that this is probably the safest car I’ve ever driven.
The added sporty features of the R-Design package really appealed to me greatly and while the car oozed luxury the R-Design seats and body kit gave it a more sporty feel.
There were a couple of features I really liked the bi-xenon Active Bending Lights (ABL), the keyless start and entry made it easy to get in even when I had armfuls of stuff. The active cruise control is just amazing even in normal traffic you set the speed you want and the distance from the car front and the car keeps it’s distance. IF the car in front of comes to a stop the car stops when the car in front moves off you touch accelerator or the resume button on the steering wheel the car takes off. The Polestar upgrades are impressive and the quality of materials used on the inside and impressive level of fit and finish is amazing.
I really could go on for a page or more on the stuff I really liked, but I will list the stuff I didn’t quite like because that list is a whole lot shorter. The Sensus system while it had a great amount of features I found it was a bit fiddly and not as easy to use as some touch screen systems on the market, the cruise control increases the speed increments in 5km/h which is annoying, but wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me if I was shopping for a car like this.
Over all the Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design is a really impressive car and really should be one of the first cars you put on your list if you’re looking for a mid size premium SUV with bucket loads of performance and safety. Oh and if you do buy one make sure you tick the Polestar box as well you won’t regret it
For full details on the Volvo XC60 range check out their website http://www.volvocars.com/au