Whether you’re looking for convenience, safety, technology, or outright luxury, the Volvo XC60 checks all the boxes and then some.
There are many ingredients that go into making a good, or let alone perfect, crossover. Most of the time it’s not because automakers don’t know what to do in order to please their customers, but because they simply can’t do it all—as in one size does not fit all.
For example, I prefer a softer and quieter ride on a crossover or SUV even if it means a less than sporty handling, after all, it’s a vehicle designed to haul mine and my family’s behinds comfortably—period. However, I often meet folks who want the convenience of a high-riding vehicle like an SUV but also want the razor-sharp handling of a sports car. Sure, there are vehicles made by German automakers that can deliver both, but that doesn’t mean they’re “the norm.”
So, what’s “the norm?” In my opinion, a crossover should be practical, comfortable, reliable, and safe. A plethora of tech offerings and a swanky look are a plus, but not a must. In a nutshell, I’ve just described the 2018 Volvo XC60, which I recently had a chance to enjoy for a week.
Inside and Out
It all starts when you approach the X60. In this case, my tester was a top-of-the-line Inscription model with the T8 powertrain, which means it featured all-wheel-drive and a hybrid powertrain with plug-in capability. The exterior color was a lovely pearl white which was offset by 19-inch allow wheels with spokes subtly outlined in black.
Inside, a creamy tone of chocolate-colored leather wrapped all seating surfaces and the bottom portion of the dashboard, while piano black accents adorned the cabin throughout. Just like the bigger XC90, most, if not all the controls are touch-sensitive—even HVAC controls in the back seat. If Apple designed a car interior, it would certainly look this good.
The 2018 XC60 T8 Inscription eAWD Plug-in Hybrid may have a long name, but it’s the key to several important features. As I mentioned, the T8 powertrain is actually a plug-in hybrid, which means the system will work like a normal hybrid while on the road, but you can also plug it into an external power source in order to charge its internal battery and drive up to 21 miles purely on battery power.
Furthermore, this setup delivers a whopping 400 horsepower, which is more than plenty to get around town swiftly and effortlessly. Truth be told, the surge of torque is almost intoxicating when accelerating off the line. However, because I’m a big fan of fuel economy, I kept heavy acceleration to a minimum. And speaking about fuel economy, I averaged about 32 mpg on a 350-mile highway stint from Wisconsin to Indiana. Quite incredible for a 4,600-pound vehicle.
Sure, 400 horses are fun, but driving around town the X60 is as composed as a vehicle can be. The optional air suspension soaks bumps with the utmost elegance and keeps things relaxed in the airy cabin. The steering is light and nimble, although don’t expect tons of feedback around corners. It’s communicative, but not telepathic.
Family Friendliness & Safety
For starters, this thing is safe—it’s a tank. The 2018 XC60 received the highest rating available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, including a Superior rating for crash avoidance and mitigation thanks to its clever camera and radar system that can help you apply the brakes in the case of an imminent collision and keep you from veering off the road. In the case of our tester, the Pilot Assist system will even do minor steering inputs in combination with the adaptive cruise control to offer a mild form of semi-autonomous driving.
When it comes to the precious cargo in the passenger and rear seats, my kiddos truly enjoyed the ample legroom, cup holders, and AC vents in the back. The rear seat also offers a heated function, although we opted for not testing this in the middle of summer!
When it comes to cargo space, there is more than plenty for a road trip or a mundane trip to the grocery stores. You can fold the rear backrest down to create a nearly flat floor and load larger items on a trip to Ikea or something of that sort. With the rear seats up, it boasts 30 cubic feet of cargo space, but that expands to 51 with the seats folded flat.
It’s not often that I’m blown away by a vehicle on all fronts, but after driving the XC60’s older sibling, the Volvo XC90 sometime ago, I’m really not surprised that Volvo developed a truly inspiring, smaller vehicle. A starting price of $41,500 keeps things competitive in this segment, but a hefty as-tested price tag of $66,400 certainly makes me wish I had a more profitable job!