Volvo debuted its small luxury crossover, the XC60, back for the 2010 model year. Over the years, we've given it high marks for its powerful engines, roomy cargo area and strong safety scores. For 2018, Volvo's got a fully redesigned XC60 on offer. Much of the model's core appeal remains, but this year's model is more stylish, has a bit more room for rear passengers and has new engine options.
The 2018 Volvo XC60 is essentially a scaled-down version of the larger three-row XC90. And because of the similarities between both structures, the smaller, lighter XC60 can actually use all of the same powertrains from the XC90 model line. The XC60 T5 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but we like the 316-horsepower output of the midlevel T6. It's the best match for the XC60, and it gives up only 1 mpg on average to the T5.
All-new for 2018 is the T8 plug-in hybrid. It uses the T6's engine to drive the front wheels and an electric motor to drive the rears. It delivers a big jump in power (400 hp) with only a small benefit in fuel economy. It's also considerably more expensive. Since the XC60's best strengths are in areas other than soul-stirring performance, we don't see much appeal in the T8.
No matter which powertrain you pick, though, you'll appreciate that Volvo has upped the luxury factor in the XC60, especially when it comes to interiors and amenities. It matches what you'll find inside an Audi or Mercedes-Benz, but with a distinctly Swedish style. We are most impressed by the top Inscription trim, which benefits from exquisitely formed wood inlays and a leather-wrapped dashboard. The sport-focused R-Design comes exclusively with paddle shifters and sport seats, and it sits in between the Inscription and base trim, which Volvo now calls Momentum in lieu of Dynamic.
Although the XC60 hasn't quite developed the dynamic chops to run toe to toe with the sportier variants in segment, there's no doubt Volvo will attract new fans with this XC60 generation.
The 2018 Volvo XC60 is available in three trims, which offer varied levels of luxury and sport-focused amenities: Momentum, R-Design and Inscription. All trims can be paired with any of the available powertrains designated by T5, T6 and T8. The T5 features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (250 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque), and the T6 has a similar engine but with turbo- and supercharging (316 hp, 295 lb-ft). The range-topping T8 is a plug-in hybrid that combines the T6 engine with a rear electric motor (400 hp, 472 lb-ft). All models are equipped solely with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
The base Momentum trim is pretty nicely equipped, featuring 18-inch alloy wheels (T6 models come standard with 19-inch wheels), LED headlights and taillights, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, integrated roof rails, and a power liftgate with programmable height.
Inside, there's leather upholstery, aluminum interior trim, a panoramic sunroof, automatic dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming mirror, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, driver memory settings, 60/40-split folding rear seats (with rear underseat storage), a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and Bluetooth connectivity.
On the safety front, all XC60s are equipped with lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation and protection, oncoming collision avoidance/mitigation with bike/pedestrian/animal detection, driver attention alert, road sign recognition, and a four-year complimentary subscription to Volvo On Call with remote engine start.
The R-Design trim includes everything above and adds 19-inch wheels, special exterior trim, LED front foglights and cornering lights, keyless entry, a hands-free liftgate, illuminated door handles, front sport seats with manual seat bottom extensions, navigation, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, steering wheel paddles and selectable drive modes.
The Inscription trim includes most of the R-Design features but has different exterior and interior trim and lacks the sport seats and steering wheel paddles. Instead, you get 20-inch wheels, four-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped dash, ambient interior lighting and a cooled glovebox.
A number of small packages and stand-alone options are available on the base Momentum trim if you don't need or want everything offered in R-Design or Inscription trims. Features such as the digital gauge cluster, navigation system, interior ambient lighting, and keyless entry are all available.
The Vision package is available to all models and includes auto-dimming and folding side mirrors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors with semiautonomous parking assist. The Convenience package adds adaptive cruise control, power-folding rear seat and headrests, heated wiper blades, power child locks for the rear doors, HomeLink, an additional 12-volt power outlet, and for Momentum models includes selectable drive mode settings, keyless entry and a hands-free tailgate. Adding the Advance package equips all models with turn-adapting LED headlights, a 360-degree parking camera system, headlight washers and a head-up display.
The Luxury Seat package is offered exclusively on Inscription models, and it helps elevate the XC60's amenities above the competition. Included is premium leather upholstery, upgraded front seats (heated, ventilated and massaging with power lower cushion extenders and adjustable lateral support), heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
The most significant stand-alone options include an adaptive air suspension that provides adjustments in body height and damping and a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system.