2018 Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design quick review

The D5 brings twin-turbo performance and diesel fuel economy to the award-winning Swedish premium SUV

Volvo Xc 60 Diesel Front Jpg


The D5 is the more powerful of two 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel options in the Volvo XC60 range, with its twin turbos helping it produce 173kW/480Nm, giving it considerably more pep than the D4’s 140kW/400Nm. 

Volvo Xc 60 Diesel Corner Jpg

The all-wheel-drive D5 is only available in the top-spec R-Design trim, which comes standard with 21-inch alloy wheels, dual integrated tail pipes, R-Design leather sports steering wheel with paddle shifters, digital radio, satellite navigation, head-up display, and contoured leather seats.

The D5 R-Design retails for $73,990, about $7000 more than the mid-spec D4 Inscription, and $3000 less than the similarly equipped turbo-petrol T6 R-Design.

Volvo Xc 60 Diesel Rear Bridge Jpg


  • Apart from some inevitable turbo lag, the twin-turbo D5 has plenty of shove, with excellent, head-tilting acceleration, particularly in the Dynamic driving mode. It sits comfortably at higher speeds, with plenty of power in reserve to make quick overtaking a doddle.
  • The extra power and performance doesn’t come at the expense of fuel economy. The D5’s official combined fuel consumption figure is a measly 5.6L/100km. Our real-world driving - which included urban, freeway and country driving, and the mother of Melbourne Friday night traffic jams - saw that stretch to a still-respectable 7.5L/100km according to the on-board computer.
  • R-Design XC60s come with Pilot Assist and BLIS active safety as standard. Pilot Assist takes care of semi-autonomous steering, acceleration, and braking on well-marked roads up to 130 km/h, while BLIS takes over the steering to evade a head-on collision should the driver stray into the wrong lane.
  • It’s very safe, even for a Volvo, having received the highest Euro NCAP crash test rating in 2017 with “almost-perfect 98 percent” for the way it protected adults in a simulated crash. And its autonomous emergency braking scored maximum points in Euro NCAP low-speed tests “typical of city driving”, with collisions avoided at all test speeds.
Volvo Xc 60 Diesel Pan Jpg
  • The control and infotainment system has multiple layers and modes via the swipe-and-push 12.3-inch portrait touchscreen. It’s is a little confusing at first, but once you’re accustomed you’ll find it is a decent mix of functionality and design. Most vehicle and climate control settings can only be operated via the screen, but it’s only on pretty rough roads where you’ll be wishing there were more physical buttons.
  • Boot space is 505 litres, which is about average for a medium SUV, but the wide opening helps fit bulky loads.


  • The XC60 is deceptively wide for a medium SUV which can make it difficult to park within the lines. Helping you, however, is a 360-degree camera view. There’s also an automated parking assistant.
  • The steering on the XC60 can feel a little disconnected. It’s accurate and consistently-geared but doesn’t offer much in the way of feedback.
Volvo Xc 60 Diesel Rear Jpg


The Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design finds itself up against formidable European rivals, though if the number of awards the second-generation XC60 has received since its 2017 launch (including the coveted Wheels Car of the Year) are any guide, you can feel confident it has most of the competition covered.

The D5 represents excellent value against comparatively priced, but mostly less-powerful 2.0-litre turbodiesel rivals including the Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro Sport, BMW X3 xDrive 20d, Jaguar F-Pace 20d Prestige, Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE and Mercedes-Benz GLC250d.


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