The 2018 Volvo XC60 carries on the Swedish brand’s breathtaking visual makeover under the direction of design chief Thomas Ingenlath.
With crisp lines, beautifully restrained surfacing, and a dash-to-axle ratio that makes it look like there’s a longitudinal engine under the hood, this XC60 presents a more elegant exterior than the previous model. But a rising beltline, subtle haunches over the rear wheels, a more steeply raked windshield and backlight, lower nose, and a shorter wheelbase ensure the XC60 is still perceived as the sportier alternative to the larger XC90.
As with the XC90—and the beautiful S90 sedan and V90 Cross Country wagon—the XC60’s interior is a textbook example of 21st century Scandinavian Zen: Studied, airy, and sophisticated. Standard equipment levels are high, with all XC60s available with the nine-inch central touchscreen, moonroof, power front seats, leather on the seat surfaces, and a power tailgate. And, because they’re Volvos, all XC60s come standard with an impressive list of safety equipment, including active systems that help avoid collisions, help keep you on the road, and help keep you in the right lane on the road, plus the full complement of passive safety equipment, from curtain airbags to whiplash protection.
The two models tested here illustrate the bandwidth of the new XC60 range. The T5 Momentum is the entry-level XC60, powered by the turbocharged version of Volvo’s 2.0-liter direct injection inline-four that delivers 250 hp at 5,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. The only options fitted to our tester are the $1,100 Vision Package, which includes useful driver aids such as blind-spot warning, cross-traffic alert, and various park assist options, and $595 metallic paint, bringing the total price to $44,690.
Working the 9.0-inch infotainment screen at the center of the dash means taking your eyes off the road as you dive through lots of menus to get what you need, so it’s probably just as well the XC60 also has a collision avoidance system as standard. It might have lovely graphics and frictionless Apple-style touch and swipe control, but the interface seems to have been designed by a bunch of show-off software engineers who want you to keep staring at their work. And it can be slow to load at times.
After driving both the T5 Momentum and the T6 Inscription, we’d opt for a version that’s somewhere between the two, combining the punchy 315-hp T6 engine with the Momentum trim and a handful of choice options, including the Advanced, Vision, and Convenience packages, and the $1,400 navigation package that also upgrades the Momentum’s 8.0-inch digital dash display to the nicer, more informative 12.3-inch unit.