2018 Volvo XC60 T6 Inscription Review

Upstaging its bigger brother in style


Wade Thiel, Staff Writer



Positives: Elegant styling inside and out, authoritative power and good throttle response, top-notch materials, and fantastic seats.
Negatives: Sensus infotainment system can lag at times, the second-row middle seat could use more room.
Bottom Line: The XC60 is the baby brother to the sublime XC90 and it delivers a heck of an experience. It's attractive, comfortable, high-tech, and good to drive. There are few other models out there that can rival this Swedish crossover.
The XC60 is Volvo’s top seller. It was even before the 2018 redesign, so Volvo had to make its second act after the all-new XC90 into an even better machine. One or two looks at the vehicle, and you could venture a guess as to whether or not the company succeeded. We drove the Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD – Volvo’s plug-in hybrid version late last year – and found it a true joy. That said, its enormous price tag gave us a furrowed brow. So, when we had the chance to drive the gasoline T6 Inscription version of the XC60 we were excited to see if it still had the goods to receive an excellent score at a lower price. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

8.8

 

Volvo has a good platform in the XC60. It’s competent on the road and the turbocharged and supercharged inline-four provides good thrust. The XC60 T6 isn’t as sporty as the Audi SQ5 or the BMW X3 M40i, but it’s still very enjoyable on the highway, city streets, and twisty roads.

Ride Quality: The vehicle absorbs bumps with ease. It has a well-balanced suspension that is very hard to unsettle.

Acceleration: Volvo uses turbocharging and supercharging to give the 2.0-liter engine plenty of power throughout the rev range. The XC60 T6 moves with authority, and can leap from 0-60 in about six and a half seconds.

Braking: The brakes feel powerful and almost grabby. You get used to it after a while but at first it’s annoying.

Steering: There isn’t much feedback but it’s reasonably precise and not overly weighted or too light.

Handling: The XC60 isn’t exactly a canyon carver, but it handles a twisty road with minimal drama. There’s some body roll, but it handles its rather hefty curb weight well.

Technology

9.3

 

The large screen in the center of the dash runs Volvo’s Sensus system. It gives you access to basically every feature available in the CUV. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than many other systems out there.

Infotainment System: The 9-inch touchscreen displays everything clearly. The Sensus system takes a bit of time to get used to, but once you do, you’ll find this very original system well-laid-out and easy to use.

Controls: Almost everything can be controlled through the touchscreen. There’s also a few buttons and a volume knob. Other than the occasional lag, the controls functioned well.

Styling

9.6

 

The XC60 is styled much like its bigger brother the XC90. In fact, from the B-pillar forward, it’s easy to confuse the two vehicles though there are subtle differences. It’s elegant and clean lines make it one of the best-looking crossovers on the road today. It’s a little more aggressive than its bigger brother, too, thanks to a tighter tail section.

Front: The XC60 has one of Volvo’s best looking fascias. It features Volvo’s Thor’s Hammer headlights that stretch outwards from the grille and the grille. The grille itself is a little smaller than on the XC90 but still has the same overall shape.

Rear: The rear features vertically oriented C-shaped taillights much like the ones on its other recently designed vehicles. They’re some of the most distinctive lights in the industry, and help set this model apart.

Profile: From the side is where the XC60’s athletic stance really comes through. Whereas the XC90 was large and elegant, the XC60 looks modern and ready for action. Other sporty luxury crossovers have the edge here, but the XC60 is in line with Alfa and Porsche.

Cabin: The light beige upholstery mixed with the driftwood inlays and real metal accents makes this one of the best cabins around. It’s elegant, luxurious, and has a Scandinavian chic style that’s unparalleled by basically every other automaker.

Comfort

9.3

 

Volvo does a lot of things right, but seats are chief among them. Other automakers, save for Lexus, could learn a thing or two from the company. No matter what row you sit in, you’ll find a supportive well-clad place to settle in.

Front Seats: Volvo’s Multicontour seats are fantastic. They offer good adjustability, cushioning, and bolstering. Our tester came with massaging capabilities for the front seats as well, making them even better.

Rear Seats: The rear seats have similar cushioning to the front and the outboard seats offer good contours. The middle seat lacks headroom and legroom and is really only good for kiddos or the vertically challenged.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): There’s very little noise that makes it to the cabin. Even at high speeds or under heavy acceleration, noise levels are at a minimum.

Visibility: The only complaint is the size of the D-pillar. It makes a pretty big blind spot. Otherwise, visibility in the XC60 is good.

Climate: The four-zone climate control system means that everyone can get to the temperature they want to be at. The heated seats work fast and are powerful, too.

Safety

9.7

 

The Volvo XC60 is a safe vehicle but it’s not the safest thing you can buy out there. Many other vehicles get top honors from the IIHS. NHTSA ratings are not in yet, but we expect the XC60 to perform well.

IIHS Rating: The XC60 was awarded Top Safety Pick, scoring a “good” rating in all crashworthiness categories and a “superior” in crash avoidance and mitigation technology. It missed out on the IIHS top honors due to an “acceptable” rating for headlights and child seat anchor ease of use.

NHTSA Rating: Not yet tested.

Standard Tech: The XC60 comes with a fair amount of safety equipment, including collision avoidance, run off road protection and mitigation, lane keeping aid, oncoming lane mitigation, road sign information, airbags and whiplash protection.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with the Vision Package and the Advanced Package. These packages included blind spot information with steer assist, cross traffic alert, front and rear park assist, park assist pilot, auto dimming mirrors, retractable side mirrors, and 360-degree camera.

Storage/Cargo

8.3

 

While the XC60 isn’t exactly cavernous, it does a good job of providing room to store items and cargo, especially, if you don’t have second row passengers and can fold down the seats.

Storage Space: There’s plenty of storage inside the cabin, including a retractable door that shows a couple cubbies and two cup holders. Under the center armrest is a large and deep bin for storing other items.

Cargo Room: The XC60 features 29.7 cubic feet of space behind the second row. And 63.3 cubic feet with the second row folded. This is on par with the competition and manages to beat some competitors like the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5.

Fuel Economy

7.6

 

The Volvo XC60 doesn’t do a horrible job on sipping gas but it’s no hyper miler. The vehicle performed adequately for us, but we still managed less than the EPA numbers for combined city and highway driving.

Observed: 22.1 mpg

Distance Driven: 186 miles

Driving Factors: We drove in Comfort or Dynamic mode during our time with the vehicle. We dove more city miles than highway ones. With an equal mix of highway and city driving, you could easily hit the EPA numbers.

Audio

9.2

 

The top-of-the-line Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system is fantastic, and it should be for $3,200. It provides rich and full-bodied sound to all areas of the cabin.



Final Thoughts

The Volvo XC60 is definitely worthy of praise. It won North American SUV of the Year for a reason this year. It’s simply that good. It combines elegance, comfort, power, and beauty into one package that is thoroughly enjoyable. Having driven both the hybrid and the regular gasoline versions, we’d have to say the T6 Inscription is the way to go. The gains you get as far as efficiency goes just aren’t worth the significant price hike that comes with the hybrid system. That said, we’re sure anyone who buys any trim level of the XC60 will be pleased with their purchase.

Check out our quick video review below:

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