2018 Volvo XC60: Estate Level Workmanship

By Frank A. Aukofer, July 22nd, 2017

Sweden's Volvo resumes its unprecedented product push with the 2018 XC60 crossover sport utility vehicle, another in a string of solid contenders.

The company endured a long drought as it adjusted to new ownership and sought a fresh path to success as a competitor in the luxury sedan, station wagon, and crossover sport utility categories.

The onslaught started with the well-received 2016 XC90 three-row crossover, followed by the S90 sedan, V90 station wagon, and the V90 Cross Country, a rugged all-wheel-drive version of the V90 wagon. Now Volvo loyalists have another choice in the new two-row 2018 XC60 crossover, a solid performer that handles competently and delivers a creamy smooth and quiet ride.

The interior is estate-level plush. It's the sort of place where you don't mind spending long hours and many miles. Workmanship and materials epitomize top quality, including genuine driftwood trim finished to a silvery satin sheen.

Although the redesigned XC60 competes in the luxury compact class against BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, it looks and feels more like a midsize crossover. It is a bit longer than the best-selling compact Honda CR-V and weighs about 500 pounds more. However, its passenger/cargo volume is less than that of the CR-V, owing mainly to its posh surroundings and sound deadening materials.

The X60 features three different drive systems, though all use versions of the company's efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode.

Over many years, Volvo's vehicles were powered by engines with four, five, six, and even eight cylinders. After Geely of China bought the company in 2010, its engineers and designers embarked on a mission of efficiency and cutting-edge safety innovations.

To that end, Volvo has abandoned all but its family of 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. This fits an industry trend of designing smaller engines with fewer cylinders that deliver greater power and fuel economy. Much of it is made possible by clever computer software, though the engines also are engineered to be stronger.

On the new XC60, three powertrains embrace the all-wheel drive and versions of the four-cylinder: The base T5's 2.0-liter turbocharged delivers 250 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Step up to the T6 and the four gets both turbocharging and supercharging for a 316-horsepower output with 295 lb.-ft. of torque.

Both turbochargers and superchargers enhance power by forcing air and fuel into the cylinders. The supercharger is engine-driven and boosts power off the line. The turbo, which runs off exhaust gases, does the same as the engine revolutions rise.

strong>There's a third XC60 choice: the T8, which is a hybrid that sends the 2.0 engine's power to the front wheels while an electric motor drives the rear wheels. The total system makes 400 horsepower and a 0-to-60 mph acceleration time of 4.9 seconds, according to Volvo's specifications. The T6 runs to 60 in 5.6 seconds and the T5 in 6.4 seconds.

Each of the three powertrain choices comes with three trim levels -- Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. The base T5 Momentum starts at $42,495 and the price ranges up to $57,695 for the T8 Inscription eAWD hybrid model. Tested for this review was the T6 Inscription, which started at $49,695.

Not surprisingly, there are plenty of extras. The tester, for example, came with the $1,800 air suspension system, $3,200 Bowers and Wilkins audio system, and option packages that included adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, head-up windshield display, and heated windshield wipers, headlight washers, and heated and cooled front seats with massagers and power adjustable bolsters.

However, you don't have to pay extra for the XC60's panoramic sunroof, which comes standard on all versions. Yet you will not be able to totally block sunlight because the sunroof shade is made of a perforated cloth.

Volvo continues its traditional emphasis on safety, predicting that by 2020 nobody will be killed or severely injured in one of its vehicles. The XC60 has a full complement of features, including a new lane departure mitigation system that will dodge an oncoming car.

Specifications

Base price $49,695 (as tested: $60,040)
Curb weight 4,045 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type 16-valve turbo/supercharged 4-cyl. w/GDI
Epa mileage rating 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 18.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 316 at 5700 rpm
Overall length 184.6 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 295 at 2200 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD midsize CUV

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