Volvo bets on ‘super/turbo’ to drive XC60

Restyling of 2018 Volvo XC60 is along lines of bigger XC90. (Bud Wells photo)

One of the biggest hits in car country three years ago was introduction of the redesigned Volvo XC90 crossover; thinking today in terms of compacts, I would suggest the guys from Gothenburg have done it again with the 2018 XC60.

The Inscription T6 model, which is both supercharged and turbocharged, delivered Jan and me to Denver International Airport for an early flight to Phoenix and a drive on to Palm Desert, and I winced in handing the keys over to the valet at DIA – the smaller one seems so good and so enjoyable to drive.

The T6 model is the most-advanced level of XC60 with a 316-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The super and turbo combination develops a more flat torque curve, minimizing the lag-thrust moments with many turbocharged engines. Torque rating for the Volvo is 295 lb.-ft., with a strong tow capacity of 5,290 pounds.

The new five-passenger XC60 is 3.5 inches longer in wheelbase and 2 inches longer overall than last year’s model. It is 184.6 inches in overall length, with a wheelbase of 112.8 inches. Curb weight is 4,175 pounds.

Oh, my, that Bowers & Wilkins premium sound might be the best we’ve heard this year. With 15 high-fidelity loudspeakers and 1,100 watts of amplification, you’ll think you’re in the middle of the Gothenburg Concert Hall. The B&W option came at a cost of $3,200.

The XC60 competes with classy competitors in the luxury SUV/crossover segment, including Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lexus NX and a couple of newcomers in the Jaguar F-Pace and Land Rover Velar.

The Volvo’s advanced semi-autonomous driver-assistance system is effective, its lane-keeping performed satisfactorily in maintaining position around several curves with my hands off the steering wheel (though ready, if needed).

Four drive modes – comfort, eco, dynamic or offroad – adjust response of steering and throttle, and four-corner air suspension guarantees relatively smooth ride under most road and terrain surfaces.

Fuel usage measured out to 23.2 miles per gallon; its EPA estimate is 21/27.

Swing a foot beneath the rear bumper and the liftgate opens, measuring out to 22.4 cubic feet of space; lower the rear seats and that expands to a spacious 63.3 feet.  It has Nappa leather seats, heated and cooled and perforated, and trims of driftwood decor.

All those high-tech options pushed the XC60’s price from a base of $44,900 to sticker of $63,290, and also included 9-inch touchscreen Sensus navigation, park-assist pilot, electric-folding rear headrests, head-up display and panoramic moonroof.

Pricing for the least-expensive Volvo XC60 Momentum AWD begins at $42,495.