2018 Volvo XC60: Full redesign, new safety suite for Europe’s bestselling premium mid-sized SUV

By Mike Blake Carlisle Events
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Volvo launched its small luxury crossover, the XC60, for the 2010 model year, and in the nine years since its launch, it has become the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe with nearly a million units sold globally. The XC60 today represents around 30 percent of Volvo’s total global sales.

Well, it’s time for a makeover, and the Volvo XC60 has been completely redesigned for 2018.

Keying in on safety, Volvo has added such new safety items for 2018 as Oncoming Lane Mitigation, that uses Steer Assist to help mitigate head-on collisions, while Volvo’s Blind Spot Indication System now uses Steer Assist to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions. Steer Assist has been added to Volvo’s ground-breaking City Safety system. Also in the safety suite is Pilot Assist, Volvo’s advanced semi-autonomous driver assistance system, which takes care of steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 80 MPH, now available as an option

Also new for 2018 are a T8 Twin Engine gas plug-in hybrid at the top of the powertrain range, delivering 400 hp; a new CleanZone four-zone climate system that removes harmful pollutants and particles from outside the cabin to deliver fresh air on the inside; and enhanced driver infotainment and connected services that offer Sensus, and the Volvo On Call app, both upgraded with a graphical update with improved usability. Smartphone integration with CarPlay and Android Auto is also available.

As no redesign is complete without an exterior re-imagining, Volvo has constructed the 2018 XC60 as an elegant SUV with drivability. Available in three trim levels: the elegant Momentum; the sportier and track-cornering R-Design; and the more luxurious Inscription with an enhanced exterior and interior, XC60 shows off fluid Euro rounded exterior lines, an elegant demeanor and a sculpted feel. Inside, the cabin is a composition of well-resolved architecture, luxury materials and step-ahead technology, blended together for what Volvo says is: “a true Scandinavian experience which will make our customers feel special.”

Weighing in from 4105 lbs. to 4600 lbs. depending on trim level and options, XC60 measures 184.6 inches long, 83.3 inches wide and 65.3 inches high on a 112.8-inch wheelbase.

Inside, pampering prevails, as does comfort, with the exception of headroom – a surprisingly skimpy 38 inches of front and rear headroom. However, you do get a comfortable 41.5 inches of front legroom with 38 inches in row two, and 58.2 inches of front shoulder room and 56.3 inches of rear shoulder room.

While not as quiet inside as I would have expected, due to road and wind noise, the XC60’s cabin is filled with soft and lush materials, comfortable seats, impressive climate control, state-of-the-art infotainment, a rotary control touch-screen that works well, and good sightlines and visibility.

Under hood, XC60 power comes in several options. The base engine is a T5 AWD 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that provides 250hp and 258 lb-ft of torque for an EPA rating of 22mpg/city, 28mpg/highway and 24mpg/overall. Next up is the T6 that powered my test ride. T6 is a 2.0-liter that performs to 316hp and 295 lb-ft. That setup got me 27mpg on the highway and a 22.2mpg average in mixed-use driving. Finally, the T8 eAWD plug-in hybrid distributes 400hp and 472 lb-ft and mileage ratings were not yet available.

While the double wishbone front suspension, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar work well with the integral axle rear with transverse composite leaf spring, hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar to smooth out road irregularities, we did feel the vibrations inside. On the road, the power-assisted rack and pinion steering was above average for the niche, and the XC60 was stable and confident even during quick turning.

Acceleration was strong and predictable, and I was in line the manufacturer’s estimates of 6.8 seconds for a zero-to-60mph dash and a 15.2-second quarter-mile, with hand-timed runs of 6.9 seconds and 15.3.

The 2018 Volvo VX60 is offered in three trims, with the Momentum starting at $41,500, the R-Sport basing at $44,800 and the Inscription trim beginning at $45,300.

My test XC60 Momentum, with a laminated Panoramic Moonroof with power sunshade, LED headlights with Thor’s Hammer Daytime running lights, rear park assist camera and Smartphone integration, upgraded with the T6 AWD for an additional $3400. The T8 e-AWD plug-in Hybrid starts at an additional $8000, but my test vehicle went with the T6 only. Upgraded metallic paint costs $595, but mine was standard in Ice White. Spiffy wheels can run from $1000 to $4375, but mine has spiffy-enough standard wheels -- 19-inch, 5-Double Spoke Black/Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels. The Advanced Package added Active Bending Lights, LED Front Fog Lights with Cornering Lights, 360-degree Surround View Camera, Graphical Head-up Display and Headlight High Pressure Cleaning for $1900. The upgrade requires also adding the $1100 Vision Package -- Park Assist, Blind Spot Information, Cross Traffic Alert, Power retractable rear view mirrors and auto-dimming motors. Navigation and 12.3-inch digital instrument display added $1400; Heated front seats and steering wheel added $750; heated rear seats added $450; and Keyless entry and power tailgate added $575. With Destination fees of $995, my 2018 Volvo XC60 stickered at $52,070.

> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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