by Frank A. Aukofer

Sweden’s Volvo resumes its unprecedented product push with the 2018 XC60 crossover sport utility vehicle, another in  a string of solid contenders.

It endured a long drought as the company adjusted to new ownership and sought a fresh path to success as a competitor in the luxury sedan, station wagon and crossover sport utility categories.

The new Volvo XC60

In mid-2015, the onslaught started with the well-received 2016 XC90 three-row crossover, followed by the S90 sedan, V90 station wagon and the V90 Cross Country, a rugged all-wheel drive version of the V90 wagon.

Now Volvo loyalists have another choice in the new two-row XC60 crossover, a solid performer that handles competently and delivers a creamy smooth and quiet ride.

The interior is estate-level plush — the sort of place where you don’t mind spending long hours and many miles. Workmanship and materials epitomize top quality, including genuine driftwood trim finished to a silvery satin sheen.

The new Volvo XC60

Although the redesigned XC60 competes in the luxury compact class against BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, it looks and feels more like a midsize crossover. It is a bit longer than the best-selling compact Honda CR-V and weighs about 500 lbs more. However, its passenger/cargo volume is less than that of the CR-V, owing mainly to its posh surroundings and sound deadening materials.

The X60 features three different drive systems, though all use versions of the company’s efficient 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Power is sent to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode.

The new Volvo XC60

Over many years, Volvo’s vehicles were powered by engines with four, five, six and even eight cylinders. After Geely of China bought the company in 2010, its engineers and designers embarked on a mission of efficiency and cutting-edge safety innovations. Geely smartly pumped in money but left the Volvo experts to their own devices.

To that end, Volvo has abandoned all but its family of 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines. This fits an industry trend of designing smaller engines with fewer cylinders that deliver greater power and fuel economy. Much of it is made possible by clever computer software, though the engines also were engineered to be stronger.

The new Volvo XC60

On the new XC60, three powertrains embrace the all-wheel drive and versions of the four-banger: The base T5’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder delivers 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Step up to the T6 and the four gets both turbocharging and supercharging for a 316-hp output with 295 lb-ft of torque.

Both turbochargers and superchargers enhance power by forcing air and fuel into the cylinders. The supercharger is engine-driven and boosts power off the line. The turbo, which runs off exhaust gases, does the same as the engine revolutions rise.

The new Volvo XC60

There’s a third XC60 choice: the T8, which is a hybrid that sends the 2.0-liter engine’s power to the front wheels while an electric motor drives the rear wheels. The total system makes 400 hp and a zero-to-60 miles an hour acceleration time of 4.9 seconds, according to Volvo’s specifications. The T6 runs to 60 in 5.6 seconds and the T5 in 6.4 seconds.

Each of the three power train choices comes with three trim levels: Momentum; R-Design; and Inscription. The base T5 Momentum starts at $42,495 and the price ranges up to $57,695 for the T8 Inscription eAWD  hybrid model. Tested for this review was the T6 Inscription, which started at $49,695.

The new Volvo XC60

Not surprisingly, there are plenty of extras. The tester, for example, came with the $1,800 air-suspension system, $3,200 Bowers and Wilkins audio system, and option packages that included adaptive cruise control; a rear surround-view camera; head-up windshield display; heated windshield wipers; headlight washers, and heated and cooled front seats with massagers and power-adjustable bolsters.

However, you don’t have to pay extra for the XC60’s panoramic sunroof, which comes standard on all versions. Yet you will not be able to totally block sunlight because the sunroof shade is made of a perforated cloth. Moreover, you will have to tolerate sun visors that do not slide on their support rods to fully block sunlight from the side — something that is standard on many less expensive vehicles.

Volvo continues its traditional emphasis on safety, working toward the goal that by 2020 nobody will be killed or severely injured in one of its vehicles. The XC60 has a full complement of features, including a new lane departure mitigation system that will steer away from an oncoming car.

The new Volvo XC60

Specifications

  • Model: 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged and supercharged, 316 hp, 295 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 5 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 100/30 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,045 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: estimated 22/28/24 on premium fuel.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $49,695.
  • Price as tested: $60,040.

Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event in Barcelona, Spain. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

The new Volvo XC60

Photos (c) Volvo.