2018 Volvo XC60 Review
2018 Volvo XC60 Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Director, Vehicle Testing
Jonathan Elfalan has worked in the automotive industry since 2005. As a director of vehicle testing at Edmunds, Jonathan has tested and reviewed thousands of cars and written thousands of car-related articles over the course of his career. Jonathan got his start testing cars for Road & Track magazine as a newly minted mechanical engineer grad from University of California, Irvine, and has also contributed to Motor Trend and the Associated Press. He likes to say he learned to drive a manual transmission in a rear-wheel-drive mid-engine vehicle but often omits it was his family's 1991 Toyota Previa minivan.
- Beautiful and modern interior looks great
- Plenty of available amenities and luxury options
- Variety of engine options to suit your desired performance
- Not as sporty to drive than most competitors
- Smaller cargo area behind rear seats than before
- Not as quiet as other cabins in the segment
- The 2018 Volvo XC60 is fully redesigned
- Represents the second XC60 generation introduced this year
Volvo debuted its small luxury crossover, the XC60, back for the 2010 model year. Over the years, we've given it high marks for its powerful engines, roomy cargo area and strong safety scores. For 2018, Volvo's got a fully redesigned XC60 on offer. Much of the model's core appeal remains, but this year's model is more stylish, has a bit more room for rear passengers and has new engine options.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $4.32 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$219/mo for XC60 T5 Momentum
XC60 T5 Momentum
Avg. Midsize SUV
The 2018 Volvo XC60 is essentially a scaled-down version of the larger three-row XC90. And because of the similarities between both structures, the smaller, lighter XC60 can actually use all of the same powertrains from the XC90 model line. The XC60 T5 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but we like the 316-horsepower output of the midlevel T6. It's the best match for the XC60, and it gives up only 1 mpg on average to the T5.
All-new for 2018 is the T8 plug-in hybrid. It uses the T6's engine to drive the front wheels and an electric motor to drive the rears. It delivers a big jump in power (400 hp) with only a small benefit in fuel economy. It's also considerably more expensive. Since the XC60's best strengths are in areas other than soul-stirring performance, we don't see much appeal in the T8.
No matter which powertrain you pick, though, you'll appreciate that Volvo has upped the luxury factor in the XC60, especially when it comes to interiors and amenities. It matches what you'll find inside an Audi or Mercedes-Benz, but with a distinctly Swedish style. We are most impressed by the top Inscription trim, which benefits from exquisitely formed wood inlays and a leather-wrapped dashboard. The sport-focused R-Design comes exclusively with paddle shifters and sport seats, and it sits in between the Inscription and base trim, which Volvo now calls Momentum in lieu of Dynamic.
Although the XC60 hasn't quite developed the dynamic chops to run toe to toe with the sportier variants in segment, there's no doubt Volvo will attract new fans with this XC60 generation.
Edmunds' Expert Rating8.0 / 10
The XC60 is a compact luxury SUV and Volvo's most popular model. For 2018, it steps everything up a few notches with an elegant new design, more power, less weight, a plug-in hybrid option and highly attractive amenities. We'd consider the XC60 a top pick in the segment for the luxury-conscious buyer.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD (turbo- and supercharged 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).
|Overall||8.0 / 10|
The T6 trim achieves the best balance of power and dynamics of all the available XC60 models. No one should be disappointed with the amount of power on tap, and the brakes deliver smooth yet responsive stopping performance. It's not the sportiest in the segment, but it's a solid midpack contender.
The twin-charged four-cylinder provides sufficient thrust, even if it isn't quite as fast as Volvo claims. We reached 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds, which is comparable to times from the competition's turbo four-cylinders. Nobody is going to have issues with the power on tap to get up to speed.
The brakes are nice and easy to modulate with linear pedal feel and the perfect amount of initial bite. Under heavy braking, they are stable and consistent and are able to stop the XC60 in 114 feet, which matches results from the segment leaders equipped with all-season tires.
The steering feels a little sensitive at highway speeds, which requires micro-corrections from the driver. But it's also more lively at lower speeds and as precise as you'll ever need. With today's technology, Volvo should be able to tune the steering for all instances, and it falls a bit short.
In Comfort mode, the XC60 returns a lot of body movement over bumpy pavement and through turns. In Dynamic, the car feels more buttoned-down, though the large panoramic sunroof makes it feel a little top-heavy. The optional air suspension is far from clumsy, but some competitors are superior.
The engine can surge a little at times while at partial throttle, likely when there's engine boost being generated two ways. The transmission for the most part is very responsive, and only on a couple of occasions it took more time than expected to downshift and accelerate.
The XC60 has an off-road mode, which raises the suspension almost 2 inches when equipped with the optional air suspension. Still, with the extra ground clearance, the XC60 isn't meant for hardcore off-road duty but should handle inclement weather without issue.
Seating comfort is a strong point of the XC60 thanks largely to highly adjustable and massaging seats and soft-padded surfaces. The four-zone climate control is also a rather luxurious feature on this Inscription model, though Volvo hasn't quite optimized the air suspension for ride comfort.
The XC60 has excellent seats, and it is currently the only one in its class to offer an optional massage function. The cushions have the right amount of firmness and front heat and ventilation, and functions work well. Adjustments are wide-ranging so it helps to have a touchscreen menu for guidance.
Even in its softest suspension setting, the optional air suspension isn't very effective at filtering out high-frequency road vibrations. The ride isn't harsh, but we'd call it a little busy for a luxury crossover. The large 20-inch wheels that come with the Inscription trim could be partly to blame.
Noise & vibration7.5
Some road and wind noise permeates the cabin, but not to a distracting degree. At low speeds the supercharger whine becomes audible. Not exactly a refined luxury sound, but it isn't off-putting either. There are quieter cabins, such as the Mercedes GLC's, but overall the XC60 is quieter than many.
The climate control is very effective at keeping cabin temps pleasant. Adjusting temps and fan speed for front and rear zones is straightforward and elegant. Our one gripe is the system is slow to load on startup, and you have to cycle through all seat heating/cooling settings to turn them off.
With rotary dial controls the new norm, we're surprised Volvo was able to make the touchscreen work as well as it does. The cabin is pretty spacious, with the exception of a panoramic sunroof eating up a little headroom. Still, Volvo went above expectations with regard to visibility.
Ease of use8.0
The infotainment is intuitive and user-friendly, responding to swipe and pinch gestures like those for a smartphone, with response times that are good. The gauge cluster controls are a little less straightforward but ultimately easy to use. Function follows form.
Getting in/getting out6.0
The doors open fairly wide, but the step-over could prove a little high for short or elderly individuals. The front windshield is raked back a fair amount, so head clearance is somewhat sacrificed and taller folks might have issues. The rear door openings are squared-off and don't pose these issues.
With a ton of seat adjustability and a good amount of range in the adjustable steering column, there are few drivers who won't be able to find a good driving position. We could use a little more tilt functionality for the bottom cushion, but that's nearly a nonissue.
The front seats have a fair amount of legroom and seat width, but the panoramic sunroof that's standard on all models eats up some headroom. Backseat accommodations are quite good across the board, and even middle seat comfort isn't too compromised, so it should work for three average-size adults.
Volvo did its homework. The front pillars are narrow in the right plane, with a space between the sideview mirror so that critical 45-degree view isn't obstructed. The generous window space in the back, the power-folding rear headrests and the optional 360-degree cameras make life easy.
Volvo really elevated its build quality with this XC60 generation. It's not quite up to Mercedes level, but it's definitely a step above BMW and Jaguar. The interior materials feel of quality, and there's real craftsmanship to some pieces, specifically the wood trim in this Inscription model.
Utility is another strong area for the XC60, thanks to a generous cargo area and smart configuration options. If you have the optional air suspension, you can impress your friends by lowering the car from the tailgate area.
In-cabin stowage is decent for a luxury vehicle. The felt, rubber-lined door pockets keep loose items from causing noise and will hold a larger water bottle. A modest center armrest bin with two USB ports is good for phones. Rear storage is limited to a small door pocket and a shallow armrest bin.
At 29.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up, volume is generous for the segment, and an innovative cargo cover can either slide up or retract completely. The air suspension allows you to lower the rear-end height for easier loading; there's both a ski pass-through and 60/40-split folding seatbacks.
Child safety seat accommodation8.5
The LATCH anchors are located under easy-access flip covers and in the usual places on the outboard seats with two top tethers on the back. You can mount only two child seats, but there should be enough space for rear-facing child seats.
Volvo backs up its new modern styling with a ton of well-executed technology. It may not be innovating as boldly as the German manufacturers, but the features and driving aids available in the XC60 are, for the most part, very useful.
Audio & navigation9.0
The Bowers & Wilkins audio system is one of the most advanced and configurable offerings we've come across. Sleek yellow speaker cones peeking out behind decorative metal grilles is a nice aesthetic pairing with the rich sound and deep bass. The nav system's modern graphics are almost as nice.
Device integration is excellent. You can pair your phone while on the move and choose between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or use Volvo's native Bluetooth interface, which also works well. We appreciate the fact that CarPlay and Auto don't occupy the entire infotainment screen, too.
Of note, Pilot Assist's firm hold on lane position feels more autonomous than most systems. The forward collision warning returned a few false positives from parked cars. Otherwise, all driving aids work well and are easy to access and switch on/off at will through the touchscreen.
Voice control functionality is quite extensive, with all the usual functions related to phone calls and navigation. But you can also control the climate control, seat heaters and ventilation, and steering wheel heat. Holding down the button summons Google Voice or Siri if your phone is connected.
Which XC60 does Edmunds recommend?
Volvo offers a nice range of engines and trim levels for the XC60 to suit a variety of buyers. However, we believe the T6 Inscription model strikes the best balance of power versus cost and provides access to the XC60's more distinctive luxury amenities, such as four-zone climate control and massaging front seats. The Inscription model's interior also oozes elegance with its beautifully shaped wood inlays, a leather-wrapped dash and vertical bar front grille.
2018 Volvo XC60 models
The 2018 Volvo XC60 is available in three trims, which offer varied levels of luxury and sport-focused amenities: Momentum, R-Design and Inscription. All trims can be paired with any of the available powertrains designated by T5, T6 and T8. The T5 features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (250 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque), and the T6 has a similar engine but with turbo- and supercharging (316 hp, 295 lb-ft). The range-topping T8 is a plug-in hybrid that combines the T6 engine with a rear electric motor (400 hp, 472 lb-ft). All models are equipped solely with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
The base Momentum trim is pretty nicely equipped, featuring 18-inch alloy wheels (T6 models come standard with 19-inch wheels), LED headlights and taillights, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, integrated roof rails, and a power liftgate with programmable height.
Inside, there's leather upholstery, aluminum interior trim, a panoramic sunroof, automatic dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming mirror, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, 60/40-split folding rear seats (with rear underseat storage), a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and Bluetooth connectivity.
On the safety front, all XC60s are equipped with lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation and protection, oncoming collision avoidance/mitigation with bike/pedestrian/animal detection, driver attention alert, road sign recognition, and a four-year complimentary subscription to Volvo On Call with remote engine start.
The R-Design trim includes everything above and adds 19-inch wheels, special exterior trim, LED front foglights and cornering lights, keyless entry, a hands-free liftgate, illuminated door handles, front sport seats with manual seat bottom extensions, navigation, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, steering wheel paddles and selectable drive modes.
The Inscription trim includes most of the R-Design features but has different exterior and interior trim and lacks the sport seats and steering wheel paddles. Instead, you get 20-inch wheels, four-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped dash, ambient interior lighting and a cooled glovebox.
A number of small packages and stand-alone options are available on the base Momentum trim if you don't need or want everything offered in R-Design or Inscription trims. Features such as the digital gauge cluster, navigation system, interior ambient lighting, and keyless entry are all available.
The Vision package is available to all models and includes auto-dimming and folding side mirrors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors with semiautonomous parking assist. The Convenience package adds adaptive cruise control, power-folding rear seat and headrests, heated wiper blades, power child locks for the rear doors, HomeLink, an additional 12-volt power outlet, and for Momentum models includes selectable drive mode settings, keyless entry and a hands-free tailgate. Adding the Advance package equips all models with turn-adapting LED headlights, a 360-degree parking camera system, headlight washers and a head-up display.
The Luxury Seat package is offered exclusively on Inscription models, and it helps elevate the XC60's amenities above the competition. Included is premium leather upholstery, upgraded front seats (heated, ventilated and massaging with power lower cushion extenders and adjustable lateral support), heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
The most significant stand-alone options include an adaptive air suspension that provides adjustments in body height and damping and a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system.
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
In my humble opinion this is the best luxury SUV.
2018 Volvo XC60 T5 R-Design 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
I honestly believe that this SUV is hands down the best luxury SUV available in the segment. I test drove the Mercedes Benz GLC 300, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace, Mazda CX-9 (X3 2018 was not available to test drive) and at the end the Volvo was the winner. To me, the design of the Volvo is the most modern and elegant of the bunch. The engine on the T5 is on par with the Base models of the … other brands. (@250HP and around the same torque) The cabin set up for convenience of the driver, the blend of technology and amenities on a simple yet elegant design made the XC60 the best. I was a little concerned with the performance and almost decided to go with the T6 but I honestly could not justify the extra money, the engine performs just fine for the type of driving I do. The noise levels at highway speeds are just right, not so quiet that you fall asleep but not so loud that you can't carry a conversation. The R-design specs are certainly worth the extra cash, the fit and finish of the seats is impeccable. The steering wheel, shifting paddles, aluminum accents, and the overall environment are just way above the German and British competition. One characteristic that I have really liked is the suspension. My only test drive was on a XC90 T5 and on that occasion I noticed some plushness to the suspension, specially when compared t my old BMW 328i. On the R-design suspension that feeling has not been present, it is firm but not uncomfortable it just feels sporty to the point that you forget you are driving a 4000lbs+ SUV. I have never owned a Volvo so the question of reliability and quality long term are still out there. Without a doubt my initial impression to this point has been 100% positive.
4 out of 5 stars
Nice ride with a couple idiosyncrasies
2018 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
T5 momentum with navigationPro, Vision Package, Heated seats/steering wheel, keyless entry, base 18 inch wheels. 2200 miles, 25.5 mpg in mix of town/highway. Base engine/ 8 speed is more than adequate highway or stop and go. Base interior is significantly upscale to our 2011 XC60 T6. Ride is too although maybe not as playful/connected to the road as our 2014 X3 2.8. There are times when … the 2.0 of the XC60 is less refined than that of the X3, say accelerating up a long hill, but the XC60 wins in overall comfort in my opinion. I liked the lane keeping feature at first but now find it annoying. If you change lanes without signaling the car will fight with you. Luckily it can be deactivated and left off. Unfortunately, the start/stop needs to be deactivated every time car is started, requiring a couple extra swipes of center screen that gets old. Leading edge of sun roof sun screen buzzes but can be addressed by rolling it back a cm or so. Traffic flow status, green/orange/red colors, took a while to figure out how to enable by activating car modem in communication menu. Sometimes the center screen menus can be a bit slow to boot up when car is started. Overall very happy so far.
5 out of 5 stars
2018 XC60 is fantastic... best in class luxury
2018 Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
I purchased a new 2018 XC60 Momentum T5 - loaded with options in July. The vehicle now has 3000 miles on it. The vehicle is fantastic driving machine for 1) the freeway for long trips and 2) the city for short trips. Super easy to drive and comfortable. Compared to my former Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Explorer, it is much more connected, easy / fun to drive and luxurious feeling … inside. The safety technology and driver Pilot Assist 2 are amazing. I use it every day and well worth the upgrade. The T5 is plenty of power and zip for the XC60 at 250 HP. I really love driving this car... it is energizing getting into it and driving it.
4 out of 5 stars
A couple of shortcomings short of greatness
2018 Volvo XC60 T6 Inscription 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Twincharger 8A)
This is a longer term update to my review and reflects the software update that was done at the dealer last month which improved the responsiveness of sensus quite a bit. It's still slow but I'd no longer consider it a hazard. This is a very well made car with a couple of significant issues. One, the Sensus system is not good. Don't get me wrong, it looks beautiful with it's big center … screen and has lots of features. The problem is it is slow. Two, the ride is ridiculously rough. Going over anything larger than a small divot in the road sounds like a sledgehammer hitting the suspension. I don't know who drove this car in pre-production testing and thought this was acceptable but that person should be fired and never allowed to work in vehicle engineering again. On the upside the car looks beautiful inside and out. It really looks like it was lovingly handcrafted, particularly the seats which are amazing. The engine, despite being tiny, puts out a really surprising amount of power. Unfortunately the gas mileage is not good. However, I've found that if I use "eco" mode I can do pretty well on mixed city and highway driving and right now I'm at 23.7mpg. The Pilot Assist is reasonably capable. On a highway with well painted lines it can keep you in your lane as long as your hand is on the wheel. Obviously it doesn't have any of that next level stuff you see in Teslas but at least Volvo is trying...hopefully the system will get better with software updates (right now it just gets totally lost if the lines are faded). However this model will obviously never get any major Pilot Assist upgrades, the hardware can't handle it. As for value I pumped that up to 4 stars because as far as I can tell I can sell the car right now for almost what I paid for it which is pretty amazing. Granted there aren't many 2018's for sale yet so the market isn't very deep. But as a comparison, my prior Ford Edge had lost almost 1/2 of it's value at the same point in it's life. I've upped my overall review to 4 stars and it's really only losing a star for the very rough ride which is a darn shame. I assume volvo CAN make a car that doesn't feel like I'm riding on bare metal but they just didn't and I can't figure out why. I can understand why Sensus is slow, they just didn't put in a powerful enough processor which, while also a shame, is kinda understandable because very large center screens are fairly new. But suspensions are very much not new and there is no excuse, none, for how rough this car rides. But overall, assuming it's not going over bumps, it's a great car that could get even better if the next software update improves the Sensus and the Pilot Assist (hint hint volvo this review could go to 5 stars).
2018 Volvo XC60 video
[WATER SPLASHING] SPEAKER: Volvo has chosen the Geneva Auto Show in picturesque Switzerland to launch the new XC60. We take a 360-degree look behind the scenes. [CHILDREN RUNNING AND VOCALIZING] We thought we'd give you a little insight into what life really like on a press preview day at a major international auto show. Geneva really is one of the biggest of the year attended by industry leaders and the world's top media, including us. Take a look to my left. There you'll see Dan Edmunds, our director of vehicle testing-- John and Dave from the video team. Dan's attended the press conference. He's talked to the Volvo insiders, added his own expert opinion, and he's now delivering his verdict on the new Volvo XC60, which you can see all around me. No fake news here. [CHATTER] Subscribe to the Edmund's YouTube channel for more 360-degree experiences. [CHATTER]
Volvo XC60 360° Experience
Alistair Weaver follows members of the Edmunds’ video team as they film the Volvo XC60 at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show.
2018 XC60 Highlights
|Combined MPG||24 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$219/month|
|Drivetrain||all wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
Our experts like the XC60 models:
- Oncoming Lane Mitigation
- Helps avoid collisions by steering back into the lane if you cross a lane marking in the way of an oncoming vehicle.
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Pilot Assist
- Adjusts cruise control speed automatically in relation to the vehicle in front and supports the driver in keeping the car within the lane.
- Driver Alert Control
- Monitors steering inputs and senses if you're driving more erratically or have signs of drowsiness. Provides an audible warning and message.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood