24 October 2018

Volvo XC60 2018 Car Review

We tested the base model T5 Momentum – the range tops out with the $117,900 T8 R-Design plug-in hybrid.

IMG 9419 volvo xc60 jm 18
Volvo XC60
IMG 9418 volvo xc60 jm 18
Volvo XC60
IMG 9423 volvo xc60 jm 18
Volvo XC60
IMG 9408 volvo xc60 jm 18
Volvo XC60
IMG 9406 volvo xc60 jm 18
Volvo XC60

Volvo’s XC60 has won a number of accolades over the last year – it’s been crowned as World Car of the Year 2018, UK organization Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Towcar of the Year in diesel format, and it even featured in the news when Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer Barbara Davidson exhibited photographs of Copenhagen taken by the XC60’s battery of safety cameras.

Most notable at first glance is how modern and even edgy this vehicle looks. Yet it sits atop the same platform as XC90, and uses the same powertrain tech.

Modern it may appear, but Volvo hasn’t forgotten its traditional bottom line - safety. When ANCAP tested the XC60 last year it scored higher than any other large SUV, and obtained a 98 per cent mark at occupant protection – another step along the way in Volvo’s stated aim that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo on a public road.

Hence the launch in this car of a City Safety version which we’re told will not only recognize vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, but will also help steer around them – as well as brake automatically – to avoid impact. Oncoming Lane Mitigation will tug the steering wheel to help avoid an oncoming vehicle, and the Blind Spot Information System alerts you to an obstacle in your blind spot, and helps steer the car back into the lane at any speed from 60kph to 140.

The specification of these cars is high, as you’d expect. There’s a barrage of cameras to impart a 360-degree all-round view, satnav, Park Assist Pilot which will not only check a car-park space is the right size, but will steer you into it – and later out of it, too – and a massive nine-inch touch screen.

Naturally this is a practical car. The boot includes tie-down points, a 12V charger, a luggage net – and a fold-down ‘window’ in the centre of the rear seats to carry long objects like skis. Back-seat passengers get seat-back nets to carry guff (and always see what’s in there), a cubby and a charging point plus deep door pockets that’d hold a bottled drink.

But it’s the driver position that’s the place to be, in part because the cabin angles around that seat. And then there’s that large control screen.

There are very few knobs and dials to twiddle in this car – even the steering wheel is not as crowded as some, while just ahead of the gear knob for the eight-speed auto there’s a simple array of dials to switch the sound on and off, heat the front or rear screens, or activate the hazard lights.

Everything else is controlled via the screen, with air and seat temp always on display, but the main four menu items up to you to choose. Then you tap or swipe left or right to access sub menus or to see exactly what battery of safety and entertainment functions you have, and which ones are activated, or deactivated.

You can change drive mode settings, view the surround cameras, see road sign information, and more.

You’re comfy while you’re doing all that, too – Volvo’s seating experts really know their stuff. The long doors cover the sills so you don’t get dusty when getting in or out and our tester, a compact height, particularly liked the power cushion extension for the front seats – the taller spouse can have a longer base, the short one reduce it to cut pressure on the back of the knees.

This car was also fitted with the optional seat heaters ($450) and head-up display ($1890).

As for the driving experience, it’s as you’d expect from a vehicle which sits between the XC40 and XC90 in size. The steering feels accurate, handling predictable, and performance adequate given this car’s (stylish) family focus. You wouldn’t take it to a track, but then no truly family-friendly set-up is designed for those sorts of shenanigens.
Overall the XC60 is easy to like. It’s good looking, well thought out, everything seems to work as it should, provided you’re happy to use swipe menus for functions traditionally controlled by dials and switches, and it includes a few nice little touches, like washer jets built into the wiper arms.

Sure, you expect all that at this price – but that doesn’t always mean you get what you think. And sure, its natural BMW X3 competitor might boast iterations which would beat it down a quick stretch of swervery, but for many, that’s not why you buy a wagon like this.

With XC60, you effectively get a more compact and better-looking XC90 with a modern look, and the sort of comfort and tech you’d expect from the Swedish brand.

At a glance


Volvo XC60 T5 AWD Momentum


2.0-litre in-line four petrol turbo


$87,240 as tested ($84,900 standard)

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

 187kW at , 350Nm at


Eight-speed auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity




Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

505 litres (1432 with row two folded)

Safety systems

  • Adaptive cruise control with steer assist and cross traffic alert
  • Run-off mitigtation and protection
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • City Safety auto emergency braking
  • Lane keeping aid
  • Oncoming lane mitigation
  • Park Assist pilot
Previous review
Next review
Subaru Forester 2018 Car Review
Read more
Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2018 Car Review
Read more