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.
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.