I am slowly but surely being won over by Volvo. I’ve always thought its vehicles were super comfortable, but the design was quirky, the ride and handling have always been a bit eh, and the turning radius was downright awful.
Yet in recent years, with serious design upgrades and some smooth 4-cylinder engines, I actually get excited when I see a Volvo on my test schedule.
Such was certainly the case with the all-new 2018 Volvo XC60.
And from the minute I slipped behind the wheel I loved it.
The exterior still retains some of the quirky design elements that Volvo has been known for – such as the distinctive bumped-out taillights. But the hard edges have been smoothed out, and the overall image is one of elegance and grace.
Which is impressive when you consider the base price is just $42,495.
With the interior, everything about the XC60 is beautifully detailed from the beveled drive mode selector to the speakers in the available Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
Every time I sat in driver’s seat, I’d notice some new detail that captured my eye – like the available Orrefors crystal gearshift or the miniature Swedish flag sewn into the front seats.
Even at a base trim, the XC60 is chockfull of lux-level amenities, making it well worth the price. Standard features include things such as lane keep assist, rearview camera, leather seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a hands-free power tailgate.
The base engine for an XC60 is a the T5, a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that delivers 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The mid-level engine is the T6, a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
But the test vehicle was the E-AWD model, so it had T8, a 2.0-liter turbocharged/supercharged 4-cylinder engine along with an electric motor. Combined power output was a heart-flipping 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque.
Power was instantaneous, and I appreciated the fact there wasn’t a stutter before the vehicle moved when you floor it.
Of course, this power comes at a $10K premium. But. Wow.
As an “E” model, the test vehicle was a plug-in hybrid, and you thankfully don’t need a special port to plug it in. It’ll charge over night by plugging into a simple wall jack, and it’ll give you about 20 miles of electric-only driving.
The EPA estimates that the E-AWD model should get 26 mpg in highway driving. I did a lot of city driving, and wasn’t able to charge regularly, so my numbers were significantly lower in combined driving. I’m ashamed to admit I only averaged 18.7 mpg.
However, due to shared garage space, I wasn’t able to charge every night like an owner presumably would.
The trim structure for the XC60 is fairly straight-forward, with three powertrains and all-wheel-drive-only availability. The T5 is the base engine in all trims, the T6 adds $3,400 over the base, and the T8 adds $11,400 over the base.
Momentum ($41,500): This base trim is really well equipped with a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, rear park assist camera, oncoming lane mitigation, lane keep assist, leather upholstery, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and a hands-free power tailgate.
R-Design ($44,800): This trim adds 19-inch double-spoke diamond-cut alloy wheels, the R-Design grille, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, sport pedals, sport seat padding, navigation and R-Design badging.
Inscription ($45,300): This top tier trim adds 4-zone electronic climate control, a tailored instrument panel, passive entry, push-button start and a high-performance audio system.
The test vehicle was a top-of-the-line T8 Inscription model that pretty much spared no expense. In addition to the plug-in-hybrid powertrain, it added several pricey options, including the Convenience Package ($2,000), Vision Package ($1,100), Luxury Seat Package ($3,000), Advanced Package ($1,900) and the Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system ($3,200) – among other things. The as-tested price was $71,590.
While I think the XC60 is a great deal at $41K, I would have a hard time spending an extra $30K on this car. I might opt for the Luxury Seat Package just so I could get the heated seats and maybe the Advanced Package to include the 360-degree camera, but as I mentioned previously, the XC60 is nicely equipped – and looks really nice – at a base level. That’s the draw here.
The Bottom Line
As a testament to how nice – and versatile – the Volvo XC60 is, it won the 2018 North American Utility Vehicle of the year award at the North American International Auto Show in January.
While it does a nice job as a utility vehicle for a couple of DINKS, the Volvo XC60 is also a great vehicle for a family on the move. No, it doesn’t have a third row, but it does have some decent cargo space, and it’ll easily fit a family of 5 – and their luggage – for a roadtrip.
One of the best things about the XC60 is everything is included with the base price on the base model.
Volvo has done a great job packaging cool tech, comfortable ride and nice styling into a very affordable package.