Caraganza First Drive Review 2018 Volvo XC60: Quietly taking the world by storm

(Volvo)

(Volvo)

I don’t really like car commercials on TV. They are filled with leggy models with flawless skin and handsome men with chiseled jaws and perfect tans. They drive the car, or SUV, or whatever on a clear highway (professional driver on a closed course, don’t try this) with a picturesque landscape. The vehicle is of course pristine (optional equipment shown).

It’s always like this. It reminds me of ads for cheeseburgers showing perfect patties with little wisps of steam rising up. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my cheeseburger to show little wisps of steam, and I would prefer to see cars driven by real people in real situations; stuck in traffic, with a door ding or two, and a car seat in the back with clutter on the floor.

The perfectness of today’s car ads makes them forgettable for the most part.  Though a few have stood out through the years. One old one is from Volvo. It had the famous tagline: “I’m glad my wife drives a Volvo”.

The insinuation of those ads was that a Volvo was a safe car; whether or not it was safer than any other car didn’t matter. If you cared about your wife, she needed to drive a Volvo.

Of course those type of sexist leaning types of ads would never fly in today’s easily offended society.

However, those ads sort of mirrored the Volvo line; simple, quiet, unassuming. While we may not openly talk about caring for our wife by choosing a car for her today, Volvo is still going strong and still quietly making simply good vehicles.

And let’s face it; most vehicles today are SUVs. They have to be. Volvo has a couple of good ones.  They recently delivered me one: a 2018 XC60.

For 2018 the XC60 has had a complete redesign.  It made an already great looking SUV even nicer.

The XC60 is available in three levels which offer varied stages of luxury and sport-focused features: Momentum, R-Design and Inscription.

Each level can be paired with 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); the T6 has a similar engine but with turbo- and supercharging (316 hp, 295 lb-ft). The T8 is top of the line. It’s a plug-in hybrid that pairs the T6 engine with a rear electric motor (400 hp, 472 lb-ft). All models have an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.

All the XC60’s have safety features like lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation and protection, oncoming collision avoidance/mitigation with bike/pedestrian/animal detection, driver attention alert, and road sign recognition.

My tester for the week was the T6 Inscription. This top of the line luxury model has less of the sporty trim found on the R-Design like sport seats and paddle shifters, but still has leather, LED front foglights and cornering lights, keyless entry, a hands-free liftgate, illuminated door handles and the center touchscreen, ambient interior lighting and a cooled glovebox on top of 20-inch wheels.

It was also loaded with options like the Vision package with such things as blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and a hands-free tailgate. It also had the Luxury Seat package with my all-time favorite option ever, a messaging feature along with heated, ventilated and adjustable lateral support.

(Volvo)

(Volvo)

Well played my Swedish friends.  If you were to put messaging seats in old Yugo I could be blinded to anything that might be wrong with a car. In the case of this XC60, what’s wrong is…well…nothing really.

This new XC60, which is actually a smaller cousin to the XC90 three row SUV, uses a new type of design. The exterior has nicely sculpted lines and it’s based on what Volvo calls “Scalable Product Architecture platform (SPA)” with details “including signature Thor’s Hammer headlights”, whatever that means.

While I didn’t see Thor the outside looks great.

The inside however, looks even better.

Of all the cars I have driven, (two a week for the last five years, you do the math) the interior of this latest generation Volvo is the best on the market. Better than a Mercedes? Yup. A F-Pace? You betcha’.  A BMW? Oh yeah.

It’s not just the wood trim, the graceful lines, the vertical 9-inch touchscreen, it’s the overall ergonomics found inside the cabin. Just about everything is where you would expect to be; and while there are a lot of features, the cabin is far from crowded. There are also little touches like a preconditioned ventilator that circulates air when the door is unlocked to help cool the interior on a hot day.

On the road the 2.0 four-cylinder engine with its supercharger and turbo deliver enough power for just about any use. There are selectable drive modes: Comfort being the default, but there is also Dynamic, Off Road, and Eco settings.

My XC60 also had the optional air springs and electronically adjustable dampers for all four corners making for a smooth ride over just about any surface.

At the end of the week, I knew that Volvo has quietly given the world a luxury SUV that is near perfection. In a world filled with SUVs you won’t hear them shouting, but for shoppers who are in the market for an SUV the XC60 needs to be on their list. If not, they may miss out on one of the best SUVs out there.  And if they do, they might be heard saying:

“I’m glad I drive a Volvo.”

The 2018 Volvo XC60 Inscription

MSRP: $44,900
MSRP (as tested): $63,290
Engine (as tested): 2.0 liter supercharged, turbocharged, and intercooled 4-cylinder. 316 hp @5700 rpm, 295 lb-ft torque @2200 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 21 city, 27 highway, 23 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 22 mpg

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase: in     112.8
Length, Overall: in     184.6
Width, Max w/o mirrors: in 74.9
Height, Overall: in 65.3
Track Width, Front: in 64.9
Track Width, Rear: in 65.1
Min Ground Clearance: in 8.5

Cargo Area Dimensions
Cargo Area Length @ Floor to Seat 1: in     68.8
Cargo Area Length @ Floor to Seat 2: in     37.8
Cargo Box Width @ Wheel housings: in     41.5
Cargo Box (Area) Height: in     30.6
Cargo Volume to Seat 2: ft³     17.8
Cargo Volume to Seat 3: ft³     17.8

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity:     5
Front Head Room: in     38
Front Leg Room: in 41.5
Front Shoulder Room: in 58.2
Second Head Room: in     38
Second Leg Room: in     38
Second Shoulder Room: in 56.3

Warranty
Basic: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion: 12 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 4 Years/Unlimited Miles
Maintenance: 3 Years/36,000 Miles

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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