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2014 Volvo XC60 R-Design: a fun-to-drive mid-size luxury SUV

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2014 Volvo XC60 R-DESIGN

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by ALAN GELL
Automotive Journalist

The Volvo name is almost synonymous with safety in many drivers' minds. The 2014 Volvo XC60 was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIAH (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.) It also received the top pick five star rating for Overall Vehicle Score from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.) This premium crossover from Volvo may be safe, but is it comfortable and fun to drive, and that was my intent to learn in a week-long test-drive.

The test-drive model was a T6 R-Design with a Platinum Package added. It was painted in a beautiful Crystal White color, had a 3-liter twin turbo engine with 325 horsepower, sporty leather seats, and was All-Wheel-Drive. Cutting to the chase, this car drove good, looked good, handled good, and maintained its safety persona. The car gave you the feeling of being wrapped in protective environment, yet offered a somewhat enjoyable driving experience.

The 2014 XC60 is certainly practical and comfortable and this could be the safest vehicle that the Volvo company has ever built because of the many safety features. It doesn't lack in premium touches throughout. The former 'boxy' appearance of many Volvo cars has changed and this XC60 offers nice styling.

The 2014 Volvo XC60 is considered a luxury mid-size five-passenger SUV and is very similar in performance to the S60 sedan. It is officially a 'crossover' based upon a car platform. Both the S60 sedan and the XC60 SUV have the available R-Design which gives the vehicles a more enriched 'attitude.' Although there are a lot of interior cosmetic enhancements, the exterior and the sporty performance are the best parts of the R-Design. The exterior is Twin-turbo alloy 3.0-liter inline 6 cylinder that boosts 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque.

This R-Design may be considered minor changes by some, but I believe it adds the sportiness needed for this SUV. It offered a steering wheel that felt heavy in my hands, but that was a good thing, giving a sense of total control at all times. Acceleration was acceptable, better than expected, but not racing-inspired. The automatic transmission is a 6-speed Geartronic and shifting is smooth, but does allow pushing the pedal down and moving out when necessary.

The R-Design adds black perforated leather upholstery, a black headliner, and blue instrument dial lighting. The blue lights on the instrument panel were a very nice touch of elegance. The seats are sports-styled and almost hug the driver and passenger.

My test drive model included the Platinum Package that added a bundle of features such as a navigation system, premium sound system, accent lighting, automatic dimming rear-view mirrors, power tailgate, rear park assist camera, electric folding rear headrests, and more. The Blind Spot Information package added cross traffic alert, lane change merge aids, font and rear parking assist, and blind spot helps.

It was listed at 20 mpg average, although I achieved 24.5 overall for the week, which included a wide variety of back-roads, dirt roads, and city traffic added to a lot of highway driving. Base MSRP was $45,800, but with all the extra, the bottom sticker price was $52,665.

The 2014 Volvo XC60 is a reasonably powered, comfortable, family-oriented vehicle that neither excites or exhilarates. With the R-Design upgrades, the clean-looking mid-size SUV becomes a relatively stylish and sporty cruising vehicle, perfect for a family weekend outing. The All-Wheel-Drive provides confidence in the performance if necessary under adverse weather conditions or challenging terrain, but all in the luxury comfort of a package built with safety in mind.

Bottom line: The 2014 Volvo XC60 R-Design is certainly fun to drive and offers a pleasant driving experience for both driver and passengers.

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