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Volvo XC60 T5 AWD R-Design: Class, comfort and confidence

By Ghaith Madadha - Nov 20,2017 - Last updated at Nov 20,2017

Photo courtesy of Volvo

Launched in the Middle East back in September and just ahead of the venerable Swedish brand’s official relaunch and return to the Jordanian market last month, the new Volvo XC60 is the latest in a high tech product offensive firmly entrenching Volvo’s position as a premium automaker.

Not giving an inch to the competition, the XC60, and is expected to become a particularly popular seller for Volvo globally, regionally and locally. The XC60 brings a distinct style to the crowded and popular premium mid-size SUV and crossover segments.


Dramatic and distinctive


Dramatically designed, well-packaged, ergonomic, luxurious, and loaded with high tech safety features, the XC60 is the third overall and first mid-size vehicle built on Volvo’s new and versatile Scalable Product Architecture platform. Shared with the XC90 SUV and S90 saloon and using stiffened yet lightened construction, the SPA-based XC60 features short overhangs, long wheelbase and elegantly long wheel arch to A-pillar proportions and stable driving characteristics. Offered exclusively with 2-litre 4-cylinder engines, the XC60 petrol-powered range includes entry-level T5, as driven, and T6 versions, with a range-topping T8 hybrid version expected soon in the region.

Longer, lower and wider than the previous XC60, the all-new mode XC60 exudes presence and urgency. With sculpted concave and convex surfacing, sportily rearwards cabin and a dramatically jutting and edgy demeanour, the XC60’s design is dominated by its broad, upright and vertically-slatted grille and slim and browed headlights, bisected by a ‘Thor’s hammer’ LED signature. Distinctive and classy, the XC60’s sportier side is emphasised in R-Design specification, as tested, which features beefier bumpers, dual integrated tailpipes, glossy black grille, matt silver mirrors, and is expected to be the most popular trim level.


Versatile delivery


The entry-level petrol model XC60, the T5 is powered by the same transversely-mounted turbocharged direct injection 2-litre 4-cylinder engine as the T6 and T8, yet without the addition of a supercharger, or the latter hybrid model’s supplementary electric motor. Developing 250BHP at 5500rpm and 258lb/ft torque throughout a muscular, broad and accessible 1500-4800rpm mid-range, the XC60 T5 can shift its 1.9-tonne mass from standstill to 100kph in 6.8-seconds and achieve a 220kph top speed. And with low CD0.32 aerodynamics, tall cruising gear ratios and stop/start system, it also returns comparatively frugal 7.2l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency.

If not quite as immediate as the super- and turbo-charged T6 when launching from standstill, the T5 is nevertheless responsive and eager, with quick spooling turbo and four-wheel-drive traction ensuring quick off the line reflexes. Smooth and refined, it pulls hard from low rpm, and digs deep in its mid-range, through which power is developed with a seemingly progressive surge, as revs rise. Flexible and willing, the T5 is swift and confident, with effortless on the move acceleration for overtaking, which is aided by its smooth and slick 8-speed automatic gearbox’s broad range of ratios for performance, flexibility, refinement and efficiency.


Supple and sporty


Fitted with sportier springs, ant-roll bars and dampers in R-Design specification, the T5 driven during the regional launch event in southern Turkey however featured optional air suspension. Operating in conjunction with steering weighting and engine, gearbox and brake responsiveness in different drive modes, or activated individually, the T5’s air suspension lowers by 20mm and stiffens for a sportier drive, and can be raised by 40mm for better off-road clearance. Meanwhile, the T5’s four-wheel-drive automatically allocates up to 50 per cent power to the rear wheels when additional traction is needed, but is front-biased by default.

Stable and reassuring at speed, and tidy through switchbacks the XC60 T5 R-design well-manages weight shifts and delivers good body control through corners. Agile in its segment, the T5’s well-weighted and direct steering turns crisply into corners as tyres grip hard, while its air suspension delivers a smooth, level and controlled ride quality. Driven in different specification levels over a variety of roads and surfaces, including roughly paved, rutted and cracked routes similar to those found here outside of the capital, the XC60 was best when fitted with standard R-Design 19-inch alloy wheels, rather than 20- and 21-inch versions.

With slightly slimmer and taller profile 235/55R19 tyres, the XC60 proved to be a better drive on several levels. On such rugged roads, the standard R-Design 19-inch wheels seemed to perfectly complement the air suspension, and delivered a fluent and more comfortably supple ride, even in Dynamic mode, where impacts seemed to be better absorbed by the high sidewalls. Settled, buttoned down and refined through lumps and bumps aplenty, the somewhat slimmer R-Design tyres also delivered better steering and road feel providing better communication and connection, which in turn instilled more driving confidence to more than compensate for the wider tyres’ better out right grip.


Style and safety


With comfortable and supportive body hugging sports seats, high but car-like seating with good ergonomics, chunky steering wheel and decent visibility, the T5 R-Design’s driving position instils confidence. Spacious inside, especially without a sunroof and even in the rear seats for taller occupants, the XC60 R-Design’s cabin is practical and well packaged. Classy and refined, yet sporty, it features notably high quality materials and textures, meticulous attention to detail and stylish, yet airy and welcoming design. Highly well equipped, the XC60’s standard and optional features include nine-inch smartphone-integrated, voice-activated infotainment system, and a WiFi hotspot.


Driver assistance, safety and semi-autonomous systems are extensive and advanced, as expected of a brand as safety-obsessed as Volvo, and includes Pedestrian, Cyclist, Large Animal Detection, Run-Off Prevention, Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist and Oncoming Lane Mitigation for preventing head-on collisions. Also available is Steer Assist, which works along with City Safety systems to initiate steering input to avoid collisions at 50-100km/h, while also braking individual wheels to maintain stability. Meanwhile optional Pilot Assist can steer, accelerate and brake on well-marked roads up to 130km/h.



Engine: 2-litre, turbocharged, all-aluminium, transverse 4-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 82 x 93.2mm

Compression ratio: 10.8:1

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection, variable valve timing

Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive

Ratios: 1st 5.25:1; 2nd 3.029:1; 3rd 1.95:1; 4th 1.457:1; 5th 1.221:1; 6th 1.0:1; 7th 0.809:1; 8th 0.673:1 

Reverse/final drive: 4.015:1/3.329

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 250.5 (254) [187] @5500rpm

Specific power: 127.2BHP/litre

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 258 (350) @1500-4800rpm

Specific torque: 177.75Nm/litre

0-100km/h: 6.8-seconds

Top speed: 220km/h

Fuel consumption, urban/extra-urban/combined: 9.2-/6.1-/7.2-litres/100km 

Fuel capacity: 60-litres

Length: 4688mm

Width: 1902mm

Height: 1658mm

Wheelbase: 2865mm

Track, F/R: 1649/1653mm

Ground clearance: 216mm

Approach/break-over/departure angles: 23.1°/20.8°/25.5°

Aerodynamic drag co-efficient: 0.32

Headroom, F/R: 994/988mm (w/sunroof)

Legroom, F/R; 1055/965mm

Shoulder room, F/R: 1478/1430mm

Luggage volume, min/max: 505-/1432-litres

Unladen weight: 1926kg

Steering: Speed sensitive electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning Circle: 11.4-metres

Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones/integral-link axle, active air suspension

Brakes: Ventilated discs

Braking distance, 100-0km/h: 36-metres


Tyres: 235/55R19

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