Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
During a recent exploration through the vibrant metropolis of Barcelona, Spain I relished the sites and sounds from the driver’s seat of Volvo’s city friendly, premium, midsize SUV otherwise known as the 2018 XC60. Interesting enough, my lifestyle is centered around nomadic travel — whether stateside or internationally — clean eating, higher learning and automotive technology presented in the form of advanced safety engineering, assertive styling and smart infotainment. Suffice it to say I was highly pleased with the Swedish package.
Of course a few other luxury brands, especially the German and Japanese automakers poignantly define their products with some of my requests, but Volvo is uniquely positioned in saving lives behind a Scandinavian wheel while doing so with a unique freshness to the consumer experience. When was the last time you said a Volvo was “hot”? Well, I’ve used the adjective on a few recent occasions to describe the award winning XC90, the revolutionary S90 and of course the baddest wagon on US turf aka the V90 Cross Country.
Moreover, with the XC40 arriving later this year, continuous success of the XC90 and S90 and Volvo’s first US factory coming to South Carolina in 2018 expect the company’s 18% growth in 2016 to increase by the end of 2017 and even more so in 2018. Their meteoric rise in recent years can be attributed to sharper and more aggressive designs, infectious interiors, newer, compact powertrains built for fuel efficiency and of course adventurous DNA traits for the warrior inside all of us.
The latest XC60 inherits some the XC90’s attributes including the familiar family grille and Sensus Connect while presenting a bevy of memorable features depending on the trim chosen: Momentum, R-Design or Inscription. Some of the amenities I want to point out up front include the smart windshield wipers that pump washer fluid directly from the inserts for a cleaner finish. The optional $3,200 15-speaker, 1100-watt Bowers and Wilkins Premium Surround Sound is a game changer in car audio. The dynamic system leaves passengers with the sense that a Skip Marley concert just took place. Storage under the rear seats are specifically designed to hold digital devices so they won’t slide out, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard and the video from the rear view camera is akin to gaming graphics. While backing up I felt like I was intriguingly watching myself from the outside. Designer door panels, dual, integrated exhausts tips, standard panoramic sunroof, slick 20” and 21” alloy rims (especially the 21” R-Design), a chin spoiler and LED headlights cued with the outline of Thor’s Hammer complete the exterior elements of the XC60.
While cruising around the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region and taking note of the artistic themes and unique architecture the vehicle provided precise maneuverability, spirited power and impeccable AWD traction from the Michelin 255/45 R20 Latitude Sport 3 tires. The system acts as a FWD in most cases and can send 50% of torque to the rear when needed. Our XC60’s $1,800 4-Corner Air Suspension with FOUR-C Active Chassis with an 8.6″ ground clearance and active dampers gobbled up rough patches in the road to keep the ride quality in check.
Power can emanate from either of three powertrains including my favorite T6 supercharged and turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder with 316-horsepower. The T5 offers 250-horsepower in its turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder engine and the T8 Twin Engine Electric Plug-In Hybrid’s in-line 4-cylinder provides a combined 400-horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque when the rear electric motor kicks in. Depending on your topography the XC60 can be switched to various Drive Modes such as “Off Road Mode” and “Dynamic Mode” which enhances the vehicle’s performance from steering inputs to transmission shifts.
Inside you feel safe from ultra high-strength steel which is focused on the passenger cabin. As well, the XC60 delivers comfort from super cozy headrests, clean and refined materials like Driftwood Inlays, 12.3” Digital Drive Display with Navigation, the aforementioned Sensus Connect 9” Touchscreen and 10-way therapeutic front seats. In the rear cargo area there are switches that automatically set the second row headrests down and then quickly fold the seats flat. Then there is another switch to manually adjust the rear air suspension for loading and unloading. A few changes needed for me would be a thicker and sportier steering wheel, power steering wheel column and the deregulation of the engine Start/Stop default which is pretty annoying.
Keep in mind Sensus Connect is one of the most advanced forms of connectivity and infotainment in the industry but it takes some time adjusting to. Similar to the swiping on an iPad, owners can customize their menus whether it’s Navigation, Phone, Music, etc. Here is also where you will find and change the settings on the vehicle’s systems and apps.
Owners should be proud of Volvo’s advanced safety systems that seek to reduce injury or death by way of City Safety with Steering Support, Run-off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Blind Spot Indication System and Steer Assist to name a few. Pilot Assist is Volvo’s answer for semi-autonomous driving and takes control of acceleration, steering and braking up to 80 mph (with road limitations). The XC60 is a true thinker.
Arriving to showrooms in August the 2018 Volvo XC60’s MSRP starts at $41,500 for a T5 AWD Momentum, $44,900 for a T6 AWD Momentum and $52,900 for the T8 eAWD Momentum. The R-Design and Inscription models increase the pricing as well as the array of packages available. “We have a strong heritage in designing stylish and dynamic SUVs that offer the latest in technology,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive, Volvo Car Group. “The new XC60 will be no exception. It’s the perfect car for an active lifestyle, and it represents the next step in our transformation plan.” I agree!