As the crossover SUV takes the conceptual – and often physical – place of the station wagon in the modern American driveway, it makes sense that the master wagon maker has moved to keep up with marketplace demands. The Volvo XC60 is now the Swedish manufacturer's most popular product; fully redesigned for 2018, it brings a conscientious approach to safety and clean Scandinavian design to the upscale soft-roader market.
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2018 Volvo XC60 Overview
What's New for 2018
The Volvo XC60 has been fully redesigned for 2018.
Choosing Your Volvo XC60
The XC60 is a mid-size two-row SUV which shares much of its chassis design with its larger XC90 sibling. Standard equipment across the three available trim lines includes engine start/stop, a rearview camera, panoramic roof, leather-upholstered power seats and SiriusXM satellite radio. Available option groups include the Convenience package which features the Pilot Assist adaptive cruise control and lane-reading steering correction system, the Vision package with blind-spot sensors and front and rear parking assist (an Advanced upgrade includes a head-up display and 360-degree parking cameras), and a Luxury Seating package that includes ventilated massaging front chairs wrapped in Nappa leather and heaters for the rear seats and steering wheel. Standalone options such as a $3,200 Bowers and Wilkins sound system and a variety of large alloy wheels may also be ordered.
A multifunction infotainment system is a given in the upscale crossover class, but Volvo's Sensus Connect goes a step beyond the stereo-and-apps norm. Working through either a 9-inch touchscreen, steering wheel controls, or voice commands, Sensus Connect integrates the sound system, available navigation, a 4G WiFi hotspot, data-sharing telematics, and a smartphone app which can send information to the navigation system and operate a remote starter.
Volvo's reputation for setting industry standards in occupant protection needs little introduction, and the new XC60 is expected to follow the example of its predecessor, which earned top crash-test ratings. Automatic emergency braking and active lane control systems are standard; however, it is surprising to see mainstream features like blind-spot sensors embedded in those pricey option groups.
XC60 buyers can choose from three different powerplants, designated as T5, T6, or T8. The T5 is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four which makes 250 horsepower. The T6's 2.0-liter four-cylinder uses both a turbocharger and a mechanically-driven supercharger to boost power – now up to 316 hp – and improve throttle response without excessive cost to fuel economy. Finally, the T8 is a plug-in hybrid, adding an 87 horsepower electric motor to the turbocharged/supercharged gas engine; its multiple drive modes include the ability to move at up to 25 mph solely on electric power.
EPA fuel economy estimates for a T5 XC60 are 22 miles per gallon city, 28 highway, and 24 combined. The T6 adds $3,400 to any trim level and scores 23/27/24 mileage estimates. The hybrid T8 returns a 59 mpge rating and a 26 mpg combined figure. The T8 commands an $8,000 premium over the T6, although an available federal tax credit softens the blow.
All XC60s use an eight-speed automatic transmission. The T5 and T6 put power to the ground through a traditional all-wheel-drive system, while the T8 spins the front wheels with the gasoline engine and the rears with the electric motor.
Each of the three powerplants is available in each of the XC60's three trim levels:
The powerplant choice is more significant (and more cost-intensive) than decisions between trim levels, which largely come down to personal preference for design details and a few features at a reasonable escalation of MSRP. Although the T8's sophistication and clean credentials are impressive, its effect on the bottom line is even more so; the T6 makes a better case for itself with added power, good driveability, and reasonable fuel economy at a fair asking price.
2018 Volvo XC60 Review
The all-new 2018 Volvo XC60 features a slick exterior, stunning interior, and outstanding advanced safety features that, together, surpasses offerings from Jaguar, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. But all is not perfect, as the styling is somewhat derivative, fuel economy is mediocre, and the ride and handling are more isolated than engaging.
With three models offered in three trims – each with its own engine – pricing starts with the $42,495 T5 Momentum and tops out at $72,000 and change for the top-line T8 Hybrid in Inscription trim.
The best value has to be the T6 in Momentum trim with the supercharged and turbocharged version of Volvo’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. With a starting price of $45,895 and 316 horsepower under the hood, it offers a 9.0-inch portrait-style touchscreen, leather seats, a leather-wrapped wheel, a panoramic sunroof, automatic high-beam LED headlights, automatic steering assistance, lane keeping assist, road sign information, a rearview camera, 19-inch wheels, and the Volvo On Call smartphone app with remote start and lock/unlock.
The Momentum also allows access to option packages that can add everything from advanced safety systems to a navigation system that includes a digital instrument display.
Here’s how we’d build it:
- Model: 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 Momentum
- Engine: 2.0-liter, supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder
- Output: 316 hp / 295 lb-ft
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- MPG: 21 City / 27 Hwy
- Options: : Vision Package ($1,100, Park Assist Pilot, front and rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, power retractable rearview mirrors, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors), Convenience Package ($2,200, drive mode settings, heated wiper blades, smart key with push-button start, hands-free power tailgate, Pilot semi-autonomous drive with adaptive cruise control, power-folding second row seats and headrests, power rear door child locks), Heated Front Seats ($750, heated front seats, heated steering wheel).
- Base Price: $45,895 (including a $995 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$49,945
An excellent performer, the XC60 is blessed with a smooth, well-controlled ride and three turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains – one of which is also supercharged. With plenty of usable torque, all three (including the hybrid) offer robust off-the-line performance and accelerate to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds (2.0-liter turbo), 5.9 seconds (2.0-liter supercharged turbo), and 4.9 seconds (2.0-liter turbo/electric motor hybrid).
While not guzzlers, all three models require premium fuel, and both gasoline-only models miss the 30 mile per gallon highway mark. Also, once its battery is depleted, the hybrid only manages an EPA-estimated 26 mpg on the highway. On top of that, the XC60's poor steering feedback doesn't encourage driver engagement.
The XC60's exterior originality begins and ends with its narrow hammer-style LED headlights that evoke the larger XC90. Inside, however, it's a different story. Centered around a 9.0-inch portrait style touchscreen – like those found in Teslas and McLarens – the cabin is stylish and spare, with elegant touches like driftwood trim and an overall ambiance that makes many competing vehicles seem garish by comparison.
Other than the front fascia, the XC60 comes with a derivative mainstream mid-size crossover design; not offensive, but hardly unique. At the same time, the only blemishes detracting from the XC60’s interior goodness are some sharp-edged speaker enclosures and a hard plastic glovebox door.
The Best and Worst Things
Overall, the XC60 is a stunner; we just wish that the exterior was as elegant as the interior.
Right For? Wrong For?
Although its exterior design is somewhat restrained, the XC60's achingly luxurious interior should have value-oriented, style-conscious buyers beating down the doors of Volvo showrooms.
At the same time, the XC60's heft and lack of steering feedback will have enthusiasts looking elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
Despite a conservative exterior and handling that places comfort over sportiness, the XC60's serene ride, stunningly elegant interior, and breadth of advanced safety features make it a top choice in the luxury mid-size crossover class.
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