The 2018 Volvo XC60 is all-new for this year and has already won some awards. Not least from us. We’ve made this premium compact crossover our "Autotrader Must Test Drive" winner for 2018. We think the XC60’s distinct blend of comfort, materials and technology is unbeatable. And we’re not alone. The panel of judges responsible for the World Car of the Year award made the XC60 their 2018 choice, as well. It has also gained more accolades from Texas to Illinois, but, to be brief, let’s just say the XC60 is widely recognized as one of the best in its class.
Like the previous generation, the new XC60 proves that sensible and family oriented doesn’t also have to mean dull. Although spacious, comfortable and safe, the XC60 can tackle corners with ease, especially in R-Design form. Other plus points include an elegant exterior, distinctive interior design and many advanced safety features — because Volvo has always been at that particular cutting edge.
What’s New for 2018?
This second generation of XC60 is completely new for the 2018 model year.
What We Like
Styling; high level of standard equipment and safety features; pretty much everything
What We Don’t
Every XC60 comes with all-wheel drive as standard, along with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The entry-level drivetrain is the T5, which consists of a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving.
The T6 has that same turbocharged engine, but adds a supercharger to develop 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption is 21 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.
The T8 is a plug-in hybrid setup where the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is once again turbocharged and supercharged, but it’s augmented by an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. Total system output is 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. The EPA puts combined fuel consumption as the equivalent of 59 mpg (MPGe). Electric-only range is 17 miles. The battery takes seven hours to charge on a 240-volt supply.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Volvo XC60 comes with T5, T6 and T8 drivetrains, each of which is available in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription trim levels.
The T5 Momentum ($42,495) has 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic high beams, LED taillights/daytime running lights, roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, a programmable powered tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, leather seating surfaces, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory settings, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity, remote engine start, voice control and an infotainment system with a 9-in central screen, 10 speakers, satellite/HD radios, a USB port and an auxiliary audio input. Several advanced driver aids come as standard (many manufacturers charge extra), including forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian/cyclist/large animal detection, lane-keeping assistance, oncoming-lane mitigation, road-departure mitigation, road-sign recognition and driver-fatigue monitoring.
The T5 R-Design ($45,795) has a sportier suspension setup, selectable driving modes, paddle shifters for the transmission, 19-in alloy wheels, several specific cosmetic additions inside and out, sport front seats with extendable under-thigh support, sport pedals, keyless entry/ignition, LED fog lights, active "bending" lights, hands-free tailgate operation and a 12.3-in digital driver information display.
The T5 Inscription ($46,295) has all the above, but brings 20-in alloy wheels, replaces the R-Design’s sportier equipment for more-luxurious alternatives, and dispenses with the paddle shifters. It also comes with quad-zone automatic climate control, a chilled glovebox, ambient LED cabin lighting, "Driftwood" trim and a leather-covered dashboard.
Some equipment in the higher trims is optional at the Momentum level. Individual options include an adaptive air suspension, heated front seats/rear seats/steering wheel, massaging seats (for the Inscription) and a Bowers & Wilkins 15-speaker/1,400-watt audio system.
A Vision package brings blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, a semiautomated parking feature for parallel and perpendicular spaces, parking sensors front and rear, self-dimming/power-folding side mirrors and a self-dimming rearview mirror.
An Advanced package includes a 360-degree camera system, high-pressure headlight washers and a head-up display.
A Convenience package includes Pilot Assist, a semiautonomous function, plus adaptive cruise control, heated wiper blades and power-folding rear headrests.
The T6 versions (from $45,895) have 19-in alloy wheels. So do the T8 models (from $53,895), along with a plug-in charging cable.
Fold down the 60/40-split rear seats for maximum cargo space of 63.3 cu ft. With the rear seats in place, there’s 29.7 cu ft. of cargo area. Every drivetrain has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
The XC60 features standard stability control, seven airbags (including a driver’s-side knee airbag and full-length side-curtain airbags) and disc brakes for all four wheels.
Volvo’s City Safety system (standard in the XC60) has evolved to the point where it can provide steering assistance (between 30 mph and 60 mph) in situations where automatic braking would not be adequate.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to crash-test the 2018 XC60. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), however, makes the XC60 a Top Safety Pick.
Behind the Wheel
We’ll mention one more award. The new XC60 also has one of Autotrader’s "10 Best Car Interiors Under $50,000" for 2018.
One of the many good things about this high-class, highly intelligent interior is the ultra-comfortable seating, a perennial Volvo quality. The front seats are especially well cushioned and well shaped for long-distance support. The rear seats, meanwhile, are more accommodating than many in this class.
The XC60 is an absolute pleasure to drive. There’s a subtle athleticism in the way it moves that never becomes jarring. The ride is quiet and smooth, and the view from the driver’s seat is appropriately commanding. Even though there are plenty of modern driver-assistance features, good old outward vision is still alive and well in the XC60.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Acura RDX — Spacious, well equipped for the money and makes almost every road feel like it’s just been refinished with smooth tarmac.
2018 Audi Q5 — Also all new for 2018. Not so well equipped as the XC60, but equally stylish in its own way.
2018 BMW X3 — Yet another new generation for this model year. Comes with driving fun, technology, equipment and quality all in high measure.
2018 Jaguar F-Pace — Impeccable driving manners, sleek styling and plenty of occupant space.
2018 Lexus NX — A big seller and well equipped, including a set of standard safety features. If the looks appeal, take one for a test drive.
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class — Based on the current (and excellent) C-Class sedan, specializing in comfort and style.
Used Lexus RX — Admittedly, the RX doesn’t drive as well as the XC60. But if we’re going down the pre-owned route, a high-quality Japanese machine is never a bad thing. Take a look at the Lexus certified pre-owned (CPO) program.
A T6 version has the most appeal and the Inscription trim level emphasizes the XC60’s refined foundation. If possible, stretch to the B&W audio system, because it sounds glorious.