Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Volvo has been knocking its latest cars out of the park with elegant designs, efficient and powerful engines, and the latest in safety technology. From the new XC90 and S90 to the V90 and conceptual previews of the next-generation 40-series cars, Volvo has gone from strength to strength. With today’s unveiling of the new 2018 Volvo XC60, the success appears to be continuing, but this time, the stakes are even higher: the XC60 has consistently been Volvo’s best-selling model even as it ages, making up about 30 percent of the brand’s global sales. A sharp new design, cutting edge safety technology, and a range of engine options could make this the most successful XC60 yet.
The XC60’s sleek new look is all Volvo, but refreshingly different from the XC90, which is also based on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). Where the XC90 projects size and height as well as understated Scandinavian elegance, the XC60’s aim is to be more athletic and less imposing. The short rear overhang, along with the up-kicked belt line, gives a visually aggressive stance to the XC60. This design touch is made possible by the four-cylinder-only engine lineup, which enabled Volvo to push more of the cabin space forward, effectively making the XC60 larger inside.
Speaking of the cabin, the interior design is also new, rather than a rehash of the (still quite gorgeous) themes found in the XC90, S90, and V90. The same Swedish aesthetic prevails, as well as many of the same geometries and styles, but the overall effect is fresh. The XC60 is definitely not just a mini-me XC90.
The new XC60 offers a trio of options under the hood, all of which should be familiar to any fan of Volvo’s recent work: the T5, the T6, and the T8 Twin Engine with 400 hp. All-wheel drive is standard, but a front-drive option paired with the T5 engine is expected to be offered eventually. But design and powertrain options are only part of the story with the new XC60. Safety isn’t just an abstract concept at Volvo, it’s an ever-evolving reality, thanks in part to a host of high-tech systems, including some completely new for the XC60.
True self-driving cars that can take you from A to B with no human input are still much farther away than the evening news would have you believe, but cars with limited self-driving aspects are already here. Volvo, especially, is pushing the limits of what is possible in mass-market vehicular autonomy, all the more so with the new XC60, which not only offers Volvo’s Pilot Assist self-driving features, but a new system that can steer your car out of the path of a head-on collision, as well as steering around obstacles and avoiding rear-end collisions.
The head-on collision avoidance system, dubbed Oncoming Lane Mitigation, can tell when the driver has veered out of their lane of travel and into an oncoming lane, as well as detect an oncoming car, and then take action to steer the XC60 back into its own lane and out of harm’s way. The system works at speeds of 60-140 km/h (37-87 mph). But Oncoming Lane Mitigation isn’t the XC60’s only self-driving trick.
In addition to head-on collision avoidance, the new XC60 combines its Steering Assist feature with City Safety to provide fully automatic collision avoidance not just with brakes, but with steering input as well, at speeds between 50-100 km/h (31-62 mph).
The new XC60 will start production at Volvo’s Torslanda plant in Sweden this April, with U.S. deliveries expected this fall.