Volvo’s new XC60 is an Evolution, not a Revolution
Volvo has just announced the new XC60, and it’s coming to America this fall for the 2018 model year. The new XC60 will be built on Volvo’s SPA platform, like the XC90, V90, and S90. While this is, technically speaking, a big change from the P3 platform used on the first generation XC60, the new model seems to be largely in keeping with its predecessor. Styling, size, price, and features all seem to be remaining consistent on the new model. If we didn’t know Volvo was switching platforms here, this would look more like a refresh and facelift and a truly new model.
Close on the XC60’s heels is the new XC40, which is built on Volvo’s CMA – Compact Modular Architecture. The XC40, unlike this XC60, is available through Care by Volvo, which is marketingspeak for “subscription”. We expect the XC60 to soon follow the XC40 in this regard.
New Volvo XC60 Powertrains
Like the first generation, the new XC60 will have the T5 and T6 engines (turbocharged and twin-charged, respectively). Both of these will be available in FWD or AWD. Other markets will almost certainly be getting diesel options, but in the US it’s unlikely that we’ll get anything other than gasoline engines. However, it appears that we will be getting the T8 hybrid “twin-engine” drivetrain.
If you’re not yet familiar with Volvo’s hybrid T8 setup, we explored it in detail on the XC90 page. And, unless Volvo makes some major changes to the way it works, we’re going to maintain our stance that the complicated system isn’t worth its cost. Actual fuel savings are going to be minimal for most drivers, acceleration is only marginally improved, the price tag goes up significantly, and the complex nature of the T8 design means that longterm maintenance costs will almost certainly be much higher than on any of the other powertrain offerings.
Second Generation XC60 Trim Levels
Details on the new XC60 are sparse, and Volvo hasn’t yet released information on what trim levels will be available on the new model. However, we can make some inferences based on what was offered on the first generation XC60, and what Volvo has made available on other new models. The outgoing XC60 is currently available with the Dynamic, Inscription, and R-Design trim levels.
The Dynamic trim level fills the same space that’s being occupied by the Momentum (semi-luxurious, but the base trim) on new models, so it’s likely that Dynamic will be dropped in favor of Momentum on the new XC60. The Inscription trim is thriving across the Volvo lineup as the more luxurious option, so it’s almost definitely going to be kept around. The sporty R-Design trim may not seem to be an obvious choice on a midsize SUV, but its popularity in the past means that Volvo is probably going to retain it.
What remains to be seen is whether or not the Excellence trim is going to an option for the new XC60. As Volvo’s highest tier trim, it seems unnecessary to offer it on the XC60 (an Excellence buyer would probably just spring for the XC90). However, if the XC60 is going to be getting the T8 powertrain (and it looks like it will), then Volvo may see fit to offer it with the Excellence trim for customers who want luxury without the size of the XC90.
Volvo XC60 Safety
If you’ve read any of our other recent articles on the new SPA-based Volvo models, you’re probably expecting the new XC60 to get perfect safety score from the IIHS. We’re expecting this too — but unfortunately safety data isn’t available yet. Considering Volvo’s reputation, the first generation XC60’s ratings, the standards set by other SPA models, and buyer expectations (and requirements), it seems unimaginable that the new XC60 wouldn’t receive top safety scores.
But, alas, we’ll need to wait for firm data to confirm that. What we do know is that the XC60 is getting all of the same safety tech we’ve seen in all of Volvo’s other recently-released models. Active safety gadgetry like lane-monitoring, adaptive speed control, and pilot assist will all be available. Volvo is even introducing a new safety feature on the XC60 — steering assist. Not only will this be used to allow semi-autonomous driving, it can respond to hazards and direct the vehicle around obstacles, such as an oncoming car entering your lane.
Volvo XC60 Value and Initial Thoughts
So far, automotive journalists haven’t got their mitts on the new Volvo XC60 — and we’re in the same boat here at MVS. However, based on the information available, initial impressions are good. Not exuberant, but good. Like everything else Volvo has released lately, the 2018 XC60 looks good and exudes a luxurious high-brow kind of confidence. The styling is dramatically different than the old XC60, and is more of an evolution than a revolution.
Interior comforts look like they’ll match what we’ve grown used to from Volvo: comfortable, well-designed, and well-appointed. With the new XC60, Volvo is hitting the sweet spot of luxury without ostentation. Like its heftier sibling the XC90, the XC60 manages a design aesthetic that is more refined than extravagant — a trick German car makers might want to try in their increasingly silly arms race of oneupmanship.
And the XC60 bears a strong resemblance to its big brother the XC90 (and presumably for thousands less). Overall, the car appears a bit leaner and less upright than the XC90, but it retains that Volvo vibe, from its cool new Hammer of Thor headlights to a new take on the sinuous D-pillar taillights. Volvo’s lead designer has said the three series (40, 60, and 90) will be more differentiated from now on, but the family resemblance is still very clear.
Though we don’t have an official figures on price, it’s safe to assume that the new XC60 will be priced similarly to the old, and will start around $40k in the US. That’s already dangerously close to the starting MSRP of the XC90, and getting any closer would surely cause confusion for buyers (why buy an XC60 when you can get the XC90 for roughly the same price?). If the price does stay the same, it would put it dead center of the midsize luxury-ish SUV market, and that seems just right. We’re excited to find out more information about Volvo’s newest model, and will release additional details as we get them.