Volvo builds sublime sedans and wagons, but these days, it’s best known for its SUVs. The big XC90 has been a knockout, and there’s a new, tough-looking XC40 compact crossover coming soon.
With rivals like Jaguar’s F-Pace, the Benz GLC, and the Audi Q5, the 2018 Volvo XC60 has to look good. It does better. The sheet metal takes on bits of the bigger Volvo SUV, and blends in some of the best cues of rivals like the BMW X3. It’s tidy, handsome, and free of excess.
The XC60’s eye-soothing interior is worth its own highlight reel. Whether it’s awash in driftwood trim or dressed up in basic black, the XC60 cockpit caters to the senses without overwhelming them, from its portrait-style touchscreen to its thin bits of metallic trim.
Base XC60 crossovers get a turbocharged 4-cylinder with 250 horsepower, good for 0-60 mph runs of 6.4 seconds.
Fine, you say? We’ve spent a lot more time with the turbocharged and supercharged 4-cylinder. With 316 hp it shaves a second off that 0-60 time, and does it without drama. Standard all-wheel drive helps, and Volvo couples it all with an 8-speed automatic that clips off shifts neatly.
There’s a third option, the 400-hp XC60 T8. Its plug-in hybrid drivetrain offers 20 miles of electric driving and even better fuel economy when it runs in hybrid mode.
No matter which you choose, the XC60 has charming road manners, whether it sports the standard steel suspension or the adaptive one with variable shocks and soft-riding air springs. The XC60 likes to smother the road rather than engage it, and the light steering does its best to keep the road at arm’s length. It’s not responsive and sporty in the German vein; it’s just lovely, relaxed, and completely at ease.
The XC60 puts its biggest markers down on interior space and ambiance. Four adults fit naturally in the cabin, and sit on soft but supportive leather seats. Some XC60s get a stunning driftwood interior, but all have a spare, elegant interior that’s remarkable even in the luxury realm.
Crash test scores so far have been very good, and the Volvo XC60 has standard collision avoidance systems that cost extra in some rivals. Surround-view cameras are available; so is Volvo’s Pilot Assist, which helps drivers by steering and braking the car in a semi-autonomous mode.
Every XC60 gets LED headlights, leather, a power tailgate, and touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android auto. Sporty R-Design cars have 19-inch wheels, a digital gauge display, and paddle shift controls; Inscription models have a stitched dash, navigation, and that fabulous driftwood trim. Spec out a T5 with adaptive suspension, and the XC60 tucks in just under $50,000.
Configure it just right, and the XC60 has all the gear you want, with great performance and a truly inviting cabin for five. It’s another convincing piece of evidence that Volvo’s back–and never better.
Congratulations, Sweden–you’ve built yourself a winner.