Everything you need to know about Volvo’s midsize SUV

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The new Volvo XC60 SUV landed on the scene a full two years after its bigger brother XC90 received a complete redesign; both SUV’s predecessors were on the shelf past their expiration dates. As a result, the second-generation XC60 feels at least a couple of eras ahead of the model it’s replacing — the interior alone is in a different time period — and it has plenty of tech to show for it. But Volvo is also letting the XC60 have a bite it’s bigger brother’s T8 powertrain.

On paper, the XC60 T8 is nothing short of a sports car with 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque on tap, courtesy of the 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder paired with an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is the top powerplant in the XC60 lineup; the 2.0-liter inline-four pumps out 313 hp by itself, then gets help from an 87-hp electric motor and a 10.4 kWh battery. The combined output places the XC60 in an exclusive club (especially for a Volvo), with a choice of Momentum, R-Design and Inscription trim for buyers. The Inscription trim I drove was essentially the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink version; the luxury is nice, but whether this top engine makes much sense for Volvo buyers given the premium in price is another matter.




The performance stats don’t lie: This version of the XC60 can haul. Acceleration is brisk in the same way that a V8 can provide the growl and the climbing revs, but when it comes to braking the SUV is a bit more fidgety, providing varying degrees of nosediving with different applications of the brake pedal. The nosediving is perhaps the single biggest flaw in the XC60’s handling, as the touchy brake pedal produces a nervous kind of stopping. The braking effect itself is immediate and very strong, but it ultimately comes with the price of too much dipping even with gentle taps of the pedal. This quality takes a couple of days to get used to and requires a much gentler touch than in most other cars to keep the items sitting in the passenger seat from flying forward. Best to stick with the more thrilling acceleration.

The XC60’s road manners are otherwise hard to fault. The suspension is geared toward comfort, and despite the impressive wheel size the suspension soaks up just about everything our neglected roads can throw at it. The light steering does not come with all the numbness still offered by quite a few competitors, namely Audi and Lexus, and it’s communicative and quick enough to allow the XC60 to dance in just about every traffic setting.

Overall, the XC60 T8’s handling is similar to that of a car a size below it, and not just due to the sheer power, but also thanks to the agility of the platform. Its main competitors from Team Germany tend to offer heavier controls at slow speeds, but its tuning makes the XC60 feel far more nimble.



2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Inscription interior

The interior is top notch when it comes to design, comfort and ergonomics, once again resembling a scaled-down XC90. Photo by Autoweek


Volvo XC40 T5 AWD First Drive GLC grade for the price of a GLA



The interior is still one of the main selling points of the XC60 and it feels more natural in this scale than in the larger XC90; the latter can feel a little ungainly due to its sheer size and touchy handling at crawling speeds. The XC60, on the other hand, feels just right; it’s not too big, it’s not too small, and the proportions of the interior make things a little more within reach, lending it the feel of a large station wagon rather than a big SUV.

The T8 Inscription is the top dog in the XC60 lineup so there is no avoiding the build price of something with just about all the boxes ticked — in this case $71,590. The T8 Inscription’s starting price of $57,695 overlaps the starting price of the larger XC90 (and is well over the $43,000 starting price of the base XC60 itself, so one has to really be in love with the concept of a money-no-object Volvo utility to go this route.






On Sale: Now


Base Price: $57,695


As Tested Price: $71,590


Powertrain: 2.0-liter supercharged & turbocharged I4, 10.4 kWh battery, AWD, eight-speed automatic transmission


Output: 400 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 472 lb-ft @ 2,200 rpm


Curb Weight: 4,599 lb


Fuel Economy: 26/28/26 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)


Observed Fuel Economy: 27 mpg


Pros: Comfortable, quiet, expensive-feeling cabin, attention to detail, quick when needed


Cons: Touchy chassis, nosediving during braking, slightly numb steering, generous body roll



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