Volvo XC60 2018 review

Front side view of a metallic blue Volvo XC60 2018 car parked next to the beach

Liam McPhan

Posted February 19, 2018

Volvo’s new model of its most popular vehicle in Australia, the XC60, has got everything just about right.

Volvo’s top-seller, the XC60, has received a much-anticipated overhaul, and being a Volvo much of the story is about its now higher standard of safety features. Internally and externally, XC60 has a strong resemblance to its larger SUV sibling the XC90, but XC60 took on only about 50 per cent of its DNA, granting it its own identity. But in line with the company’s vision of “no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020”, a large part of this carry-over has been equipping XC60 with a full suite of Volvo’s Intellisafe technologies. 

Configurable within the Intellisafe package is an electronic speed limiter, adaptive cruise control, pilot assist and distance alert. Although not intuitive at first, it’s relatively easy to change between speed limiter, adaptive cruise and Pilot Assist (a semi-autonomous driving system). The adaptive cruise worked well, and in Pilot Assist mode XC60 felt confident in its understanding of the road ahead, employing an assertive steering assistance with very minimal movement within the lane. But even at the lowest headway setting, it seemed to start slowing down a little earlier than when you’d normally decide to change lanes and overtake. This was more prevalent with a small speed difference to the vehicle you were approaching.

Even without Pilot Assist engaged, XC60 monitors the road to help keep you safe, with features such as speed sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, run-off-road mitigation and protection, blind spot monitoring with steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert and large animal detection. It provides this aid in a relatively unobtrusive manner, although it was still clear to the driver that the vehicle deemed it necessary to intervene.

New to Volvo in XC60 is a collision avoidance assistant to help the driver in making evasive manoeuvres, and ‘oncoming lane mitigation’, which steers the vehicle back into its lane should the driver drift over the lines into the path of an oncoming vehicle.


In this article

More stylish look

A smooth drive

The verdict

Light grey interior of the Volvo XC60 2018 showing the seats and dashboard

More stylish look

Cosmetically, XC60 has distinctive design traits seen across the Volvo line-up, but in this case with a slightly less boxy shape to give it a more stylish look that doesn’t shout ‘brutish SUV’. It comes in three trim levels – Momentum, Inscription and R-Design – with a choice of petrol or diesel engine in each, plus an hybrid option in R-Design spec. The main clue to model specification is the wheel size, ranging from 19-inch rims on the Momentum to 21 inches on the R-Design.

The cabin has a very upmarket feel with a mix of woodgrain panels, leather and metallic accents. A customisable 12.3-inch screen provides the driver with all the essential driving information, with automatic brightness adjustment to ensure it doesn’t become too overbearing in the dark. The leather- wrapped steering wheel feels comfortable in your hands, and the small drive selector gives a hint of sportiness to the interior. The engine start/stop is next to the drive selector, and for novelty value it’s operated by twisting a knob.

There is plenty of space inside the five-seat XC60, with a good amount of legroom front and rear, and ISOFIX childseat points. There are plenty of cupholders and storage compartments, including under the rear seats. A sensor allows you to open the tailgate using a simple foot gesture under the bumper, revealing a cargo area with ample storage space, 12-volt power and a three-position curtain cover that lets you hide larger items without impacting too much on rearward visibility.

A minimalistic approach is taken to the user interface. Much of the infotainment system is controlled through a nine-inch touch-screen operated somewhat like a tablet. (But there’s no CD player unless it is optioned.) Physical buttons are limited to demisters, hazard lights, music navigation, volume and a home button for the touch-screen. Our test car, a petrol-powered T5 Inscription, was fitted with a clear, crisp Bowers & Wilkins audio system, an upgrade from the standard Sensus Connect High Performance Audio 10-speaker system.


Rear side view of a metallic blue Volvo XC60 2018 car parked next to a lake

A smooth drive

The T5 Inscription petrol engine is a 2.0-litre turbo putting out 187kW and 350Nm. Courtesy of an all-wheel-drive system fitted across the range, driving was surprisingly smooth, yet the XC60 had a tightness that allowed it to take control of sweeping bends and move between tighter turns with ease, at times letting you forget you were driving a medium SUV. Even in some rough terrain, the XC60 seemed relatively unencumbered. Steering in ‘comfort’ mode was just that, with a lightness to be expected in a vehicle targeting consumers interested in luxury. Extended trips were no issue, the leather comfort seats producing no feelings of discomfort after three hours on the road, and surprisingly little road noise made it into the cabin.

The eight-speed automatic transmission utilised the power of the T5 in a way that made sure you had passing power when needed, along with a comfortable cruise on the highway. Officially fuel consumption is 7.8L/100km, however after driving in a range of conditions from peak-hour traffic to country highways, our average was considerably more at 10.2L/100km.


The verdict

The update to Volvo’s top-selling XC60 further advances an already strong suite of safety technologies. The XC60 bundles an extremely driveable vehicle with a comfortable and luxurious interior, creating a package that feels ready to tackle anything the family wants to throw at it.


Volvo XC60 T5


$69,990 + $8626 (est) ORC. Premium paint $1900. Range $59,990-$92,990.


ESC. ABS. 7 airbags. Steering support. Auto brakes. Adaptive cruise control. Lane-keep/departure systems. Rear cross-traffic/blind spot alerts. 360˚ camera. Auto lights/wipers. Tyre pressure monitor. ISOFIX fittings.


9” touch-screen. Sat-nav. Premium audio. Digital radio. Bluetooth. Apple CarPlay. Android Auto. AUX/USB input.

Vehicle features

Four-zone climate-control. Leather trim. Electric front seats. Auto boot. Roof rails.

Driver features

Head-up display. Park assist pilot. Steering modes. Fully adjustable steering column. Keyless entry/start.


Drivetrain: 1969cc, 4cyl turbo-petrol engine. All-wheel-drive. 8spd auto. 187kW@5500rpm, 350Nm@1500-4800rpm.
Fuel: 10.2L/100km (RACV); 7.8L/100km (govt). 60L tank. 95-RON fuel. 179g/km CO2.
Wheels: 20” alloy, 255/45 R20 tyres. Space-saver spare.
Towing limits: 2400kg.
Service/repairs: 12-month/15,000km services. 3yr/unlimited km warranty.

RACV rating