2018 Volvo XC60 T6, AWD R-Design Trim
With the recent addition to Volvo’s rejuvenated lineup of the 2018 XC60, this iteration is the second-generation of the model, originally introduced back in 2009. The all-new XC60 is built on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform that underpins the current well-received 90-series array of stylish cars and SUVs.
In the T6 R-Design trim as tested, Volvo’s engineers are once again wringing every available ounce of power and torque from their four-cylinder engine—316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. respectively. This power plant, when coupled with Volvo’s eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, never leaves the driver with the impression that there is nothing left to give. The XC60 T6 has a starting price of just over $55,000. However, with the addition of several options, including the convenience package, the climate package with head-up display, the vision package and a tailored dashboard and upper door panels, 21-inch wheels, a Bower & Wilkins premium sound system and a special metallic paint, add another $12,950 to the price tag.
While the XC60 is categorized as a sport utility vehicle, do not be misled: the sport is not in reference to general performance. However, we can safely assert that this is a “sporty” mode of transport that hits all its marks with confidence and yes, perhaps a modicum of subdued swagger! In addition, the XC60 is the second marque within Volvo’s XC category: later this spring, expect the slightly smaller yet brand new XC40 to complete the category and provide incentive to attract new-to-Volvo-customers since the entry price point will be $39,500 for a seriously good looking vehicle loaded with safety features, technology, and innovation.
Sales of Light Trucks and SUVs Continue to Climb
The phenomenon that continues to see the popularity of light trucks and utility-type vehicles growing, shows no sign of abating in Canada. In fact, according to industry pundit, Dennis DesRosiers, sales rose by 8.7 percent year-over-year to reach almost 1.4 million vehicles for calendar 2017. Conversely, passenger car sales slipped by 3.4 percent last year to come in at 639,823. On balance, light trucks et al accounted for 68 percent of the new vehicle market—an all-time record. Passenger car sales tumbled to their lowest level since 1964.
The point is, Volvo will likely not cannibalize sales within the XC family. Each is a little different from each other—vis-à-vis weight, length, and interior space.
Point of fact: the XC60 could be mistaken for the bigger SUV, the XC90. The upright fascia houses a similar grille, flanked by high-mounted headlights with Volvo’s Thor’s Hammer sideways—T LED light graphic. As your gaze moves along the side of the vehicle to the rear, it’s clear this is the younger sibling. Further, compared to the first generation XC60, this new XC60’s wheelbase has been stretched 3.6 inches. At 112.8 inches it’s still 4.7 inches shorter than the XC90. This vehicle is also 2.1 inches lower than before and slightly wider.
As a result of the general wheelbase stretch, there is more space, especially legroom in the rear cabin area. The improvement is noticeable; rear passengers sit on a cushion that’s comfortably up off the floor and enjoy generous rear leg and headroom. Overhead, a panoramic sunroof is standard on all models and helps brighten the interior.
The dashboard design, TFT instrument cluster, and vertically-oriented touchscreen all do a convincing impression of the stylish XC90. The ignition knob and the drive-mode selector “roller” switch are identical to those found in the 90-series. All in all, Volvo’s Sensus Connect 9.0-inch touchscreen has been slightly tweaked with a larger map for the navigation system, new fonts, and revised menu logic; it looks stylish, and the system is fairly easy to use after a little familiarization. Note: do not use while wearing heavy gloves!
The XC60 introduces a few new active-safety features. Oncoming-lane mitigation is a variation on lane-keeping assist: If a driver crosses the centre line and the system detects an oncoming vehicle, it sounds an alarm and helps the driver steer the car back into its own lane. Volvo’s City Safety automated emergency braking system can now help a driver steer around objects rather than just braking to avoid them. This works at speeds from approximately 50 kilometres to 100 kilometres per hour.
In addition, Volvo’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driver-assist feature is optional (it is, however part of the Convenience package on this test vehicle), whereas it’s standard on the 90-series cars. It works at speeds up to 128 kilometres per hour and is primarily meant for highway driving. I cannot personally attest to this since the time I drove this vehicle Central Ontario experienced some wild winter weather with an abundance of snow—not the best conditions to put this to the test! Volvo advises that the self-steering feature, which must be separately enabled after the adaptive cruise control is set, no longer needs a car in front to follow; it works well, steering smoothly and staying centered in the lane, although it does want the driver to keep a hand on the wheel!
All in all a great all-round, good for just-about-any-occasion vehicle where budget is still a consideration.
2018 Volvo XC60 T6, AWD R-Design trim
Body Style: Mid-size luxury SUV.
Engine: As tested, 2.0 L turbocharged and supercharged I-4, generating 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque.
Fuel Economy (stated): (Premium) 11.4/8.7/10.2L/100 km city//highway/combined.
Cargo Capacity: Just shy of 850 litres with the back seats folded.
*Does not include freight. PDI, HST, and other taxes extra.
David Taylor is an independent automotive lifestyle writer, producer, and editor based in Barrie, Ontario who is fascinated by innovation and technology which enhance the overall driving experience. He’s also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and a Director of the Canadian Car of the Year. Follow him on Twitter @Omemeeozzie or on Instagram @hugoscaroftheweek.