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The XC60 D5 R-Design shines as the middle model grade of Volvo’s new medium SUV

4 Jan 2019

IT WAS a memorable moment at the Paris motor show of late 2014. An interview with a Volvo executive was running too long, but he was insisting that the Swedish brand should not follow the course of German rivals. It was aggressive sportiness out and plushness in, starting with the new Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) that first debuted in the XC90, then S90, and now this XC60.
Volvos must be joyful to drive and spirited, he claimed, but also be warm and welcoming, never overtly driver focused. It was refreshing at a time when SUV models were starting to become the Nurburgring norm, but also a contrast when, back home, the local focus was on V8 Supercars and Polestar-bred sporting nous from a former managing director who believed Volvo should be BMW.
With all this in mind comes the most important car for Volvo to debut here, the second-generation XC60 into a booming medium SUV class a decade after the nameplate launched, and tested here in the centre of the range with the D5 R-Design – two model grades left below it, and a duo above it.
So which philosophy has won out? Is this just a cookie-cutter SUV to rub shoulders with ever-sportier Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC rivals, or is it absolutely its own thing?


Model release date: 1 October 2017

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