2018 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Inscription – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis



Volvo has been on a roll lately, every vehicle we’ve tested has been a tasty blend of performance, luxury and uniquely Swedish design.

We’re always up for a fresh serving of the carmaker’s fare. But the XC60 is more than just another entree, it’s their biggest seller, and it fights in one of the most competitive SUV/Crossover segment on the planet.

So, we wondered:

Is the all-new XC60 another sweet-dish or a stinky Lutefisk?

Well, if you don’t know what Lutefisk is, we’ll leave it up to your googling skills. Or trust us, it’s an “acquired taste” at best.

Presentation is everything.

So, we were a little surprised at first glance at our XC60 tester. It was nice, but kind of ho-hum. Then we figured it out…it’s not the lines, in this case, it was the color. Called Pine Grey Metallic, it certainly sounds outdoorsy enough, but in the wrong light, it seems kind of a flat gray. It does warm considerably in less-direct light. We’d probably opt for the Fusion Red Metallic if it was us.

Once you figure the color out, you appreciate how handsome the design is. Looking like a slightly scaled down XC90 – which is gorgeous all right. You get those nice muscular fender lines, cool LED headlights that Volvo says are Thor’s Hammer design (ok…) and L-shaped LED taillights that run up the lines of the D-pillar. It’s instantly recognizable as a Volvo and looks fresh and crisp. It’s notably larger than the previous model, and even though our tester rolled on some handsome 20-inch, 7-spoke rims, it looks like there’s room for a larger wheel set up. 22-inchers are available and they look awesome.

Party of Five

If Volvo doesn’t stray far from the path on the outside, the inside is even more on the straight and narrow. Which is fine by us – Volvo interiors have to be the most gorgeous of any carmaker today. The effect is stunning. Our tester, fitted with optional Blond Perforated Nappa leather has the coolness of a high-end Swedish furniture showroom.

Since this is an SUV, we’d probably opt for the Charcoal or Maroon colored leather – these vehicles have hardworking lives. With kids/pets/activities, and we’d hate to have to chase after keeping that leather looking bright and unscathed.

And you will be spending plenty of time inside the XC60. The front seats are superb, with adjustable lower cushion length, and massage – yes massage – up front. Oh, not just prodding from some un-enthused metal rods. You choose between Swell, Tread, Advanced, Lumbar or Shoulder. Low, Normal or High Intensity and Slow, Normal or Fast Speed. It’s heaven…

 

While Lars (well, that’s what we named him) was giving our sacrum a swell time, it let us take in the rest of the interior’s beauty. There’s a lovely 2-tone effect with leather upper dashboard in black, and driftwood trim surrounding you. So elegant. The gauge display adjusts as you call up different drive modes, and can serve up the navigation display between the tach and speedo, ala’ Audi.

At the center of the dash is the info-tainment tablet – a staple in the Volvo lineup. The 12.3-inch display is huge, and works like an iPad, and you get used to swiping and tapping your way through screens to get where you want. An incredibly efficient and modern way to get around.

All the better to enjoy the glorious-sounding optional Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System, all 1400 watt, 10-channel amplifier, 15 separate speakers of it. Three room modes include the Gothenburg Concert Hall. In case you haven’t been…

Lean back, relax, look through the massive panorama roof and get you back rubbed….it doesn’t get much better than this.

Along with being much more stylish the new XC60 is notably larger, with greater room for the rear seats – sorry no massage for you! Power lower those rear seats down – ain’t luxury grand – and you get a spacious 63.3 cubic feet of room, larger than either BMW X3 or Audi Q5. Our tester’s optional air suspension even lowered the vehicle a couple of inches for easier loading of cargo.

 

One Hot Swedish Meatball

If the interior is familiar, you’ll find the drive is as well. The XC60 comes in three degrees of spiciness, a turbo 2.0-liter punching out 25O horsepower. A supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter, giving a muscular 316 hp, and a hybrid producing a massive 400 hp.

Our tester was the 316 hp version, and it’s a honey – the supercharger gives its max torque (295 lb-ft) at a low 2,000 rpm and the turbo eases in the boost to give a satisfying rush to the redline. It’s got a unique, burbly exhaust and a throaty sound that’s enjoyable. Matched up to a responsive 8-speed automatic it’s quick off the line and zips around slower traffic on the freeway easily.

Our tester ran the optional 4-corner air suspension and it does a wonderful job of giving a smooth ride, even on those low-profile 20-inch tires. It also gives a controlled ride when the going gets rougher or twistier. You always feel confidant and in control.

But you won’t burn yourself.

This is a Volvo, and you’d expect loads of safety features, and you’d be right. Volvo says the XC60 is one of the safest cars ever made. Steer Assist has been added to the ground-breaking City Safety system – now it will help steer you to avoid pedestrians, while Oncoming Lane Mitigation helps steer you away from head-on collisions. And if you try to change lanes with a vehicle in your blind spot, the XC60 will try to steer you to avoid a lane-change collision.

We also got a good workout with the Adaptive Cruise Control – it handled a stop and go traffic jam on the freeway keeping us in our lane and even coming to a stop and accelerating again without us having to fry our nerves, reducing the stress immeasurably. The optional 360 overhead view made parking a snap once we got to our destination, too.

 

Check Please

While the XC60 is a premium luxury vehicle, there are no nasty surprises when the bill comes. You can get into a T5 AWD Momentum model starting at $41,500. That’s a load of style, safety and comfort for reasonable sum.

Our tester was the XC60 T6 AWD starting at $44,900, with the luxury Inscription goodies adding $3,300. Our loaded tester also had the Convenience Package ($2,000), Vision Package ($1,100) Luxury Seat Package ($3,000 of Swedish Masseuse Goodness!) Advanced Package ($1,500), Metallic Paint ($595), Bowers and Wilkins Sound ($3,200), and destination charge ($995). All totaled, our XC60 rang in at $63,280.

We optioned out a new X3 and came in at just over $62,000, A loaded Q5 was a bit cheaper at $58,000.

The all-new XC60 does what Volvo does best – gives you an exciting and different alternative to the other European competitors. It offers excellent performance – with a unique supercharged/turbo engine. It’s cleanly styled – while offering that Swedish blend of sporty, yet conservative. The interior is simply stunning – the comfort, the design, the feeling it gives is unmatched. And the safety is world class.

The XC60 is simply delicious. Hurry to your dealership before they’re all devoured!

 

About The Author

Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round -- whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, or learning to surf.