• Car Review

Review: 2018 Volvo XC60

By David Undercoffler | February 20, 2018

Autolist rating: 4/5
But would we buy it? Yes
Price range: $42,495 - $57,695, including destination

Key takeaways

  • The XC60 is all-new for 2018.
  • There are three engine choices, including a plug-in hybrid; all models come with all-wheel-drive.
  • It’s one of the most stylish crossovers in its segment.
  • The XC60 was named North American Sport Utility of the Year in 2018.

What is it?

The XC60 is a midsize luxury crossover from Volvo with two rows of seats that fit five adults. It’s the most popular model in its segment in Europe, outselling competitors like the BMW X5, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC. Clearly the Europeans know what they’re talking about; this is an excellent all-around crossover.

The XC60 has a choice of three four-cylinder engines with varying degrees of power: the T5, T6 and the T8. All-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all three.

The T5 has a 250-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The T6 has a 316-horsepower, turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine.

The T8 -- the high-end model -- is a plug-in hybrid with 400 total horsepower. It has the same supercharged and turbocharged engine as the T6 but adds an 87-horsepower electric motor.

Each XC60 model, regardless of engine, comes in one of three escalating trim levels: Momentum (basic), R-Design (sporty) and Inscription (luxury).

The XC60 sits in the middle of Volvo’s crossover lineup. The Volvo XC40 is its new, smaller brother. The larger XC90 is the Volvo crossover to check out if three rows of seats is a priority.

What’s good

  • It’s safe. Volvos have long had a penchant for protection, and this model is no different.
  • It comes with plenty of standard features, including a panoramic moonroof, leather seats and a crisp, 9-inch touchscreen in the dashboard.
  • It’s one of the best-looking crossovers -- of any size -- on the market today. Those sharp exterior looks are matched with an artful interior.
  • The base model has plenty of power and features; this isn’t a vehicle where you need to splurge to get a lot.

What’s bad

  • Unknown reliability: On the mid-level T6 and the high-end T8 trims, the engines are both supercharged and turbocharged, something that is relatively rare in cars today. While there are no indications that the engines are unreliable, that’s a lot of moving parts that could fail at some point down the road.

  • The digital instrument panel is counterintuitive and confusing to set up.

  • Some of the materials inside the cabin are cheaper than we’d hope for a vehicle in this price range.

5 stars of execution

Safety? Yes

  • The XC60 has a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS; it hasn’t been crash tested yet by the NHTSA.
  • Back in Europe, the XC60 was named as the safest vehicle overall in 2017 by the Euro NCAP -- a safety agency backed by the governments of numerous countries. Euro NCAP also rated the XC60 as best-in-class for safety.

Value? Yes

  • The XC60 starts at $42,495.
  • As mentioned, all models come with all-wheel-drive, a moonroof, a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, leather seats and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
  • All that style and swagger is free.
  • The high-end XC60 T8 -- that’s the 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid model -- is also eligible for federal and state tax incentives and credits. In California for example, these rebates can shave a cool $6,500 off the price -- bringing that model’s starting price to $47,393. That’s not a bad deal for a powerful, stylish crossover that can also carry a carpool lane sticker.

Efficiency? No

  • The XC60 is less efficient than many of their peers, regardless of which engine you choose.
  • The base T5 model gets 22/28/24 MPG city/highway combined.
  • The T6 gets 21/27/23 MPG city/highway/combined.
  • The high-end T8 plug-in hybrid model has 18 miles of all-electric range, with a 26 MPG highway rating and an overall 59 MPGe combined rating.

Driving experience? Yes

  • Volvo has done a nice job of avoiding turbo-lag on the XC60 -- that brief pause between when you put your foot down on the gas pedal and when the turbocharged engine actually accelerates.
  • The base engine we tested had plenty of power and the transmission shifts were seamless.
  • The XC60 feels agile and light on its feet.

Execution? Yes

  • The XC60 is a visual stunner -- nothing in its segment comes close to matching its style.
  • The cabin is quiet and comfortable and also has class-leading style.
  • But more than looking good, the XC60 performs well: handling, interior space and the intuitive touchscreen on the infotainment system are all highlights.

Total Rating: 4 stars

What’s it gonna cost me?

The XC60 with the base engine starts at $42,495. This was the model we tested (T5 Momentum) and it wants for nothing...

Except that our tester added the $1,100 Vision package, which we would recommend. The Vision kit comes with blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, automatic parallel parking (“Look Ma, no hands!”) and cross-traffic alert when you’re backing up. Skip the other packages.

The mid-level T6 engine costs $3,400 more than the base T5.

The top-grade T8 plug-in hybrid is $11,400 more than the base T5, but remember it’s eligible for state and federal tax incentives and rebates that can shave thousands of dollars off that price.

Also consider

The Volvo XC60 plays in a cutthroat segment with rivals that are hard to beat. So kudos to the XC60 for carving out its own identity and being so competitive.

Audi’s Q5 was new for 2017 and it does everything the XC60 can do, just with more subtle styling. It’s certainly worth a look if you’re interested in the XC60.

BMW’s well-known X3 has been redesigned for 2018. We will drive one soon and expect it to be competitive.

The Lexus RX350 is extremely popular and promises rock-solid reliability, so that’s always worth a look -- even if the style is polarizing.