2018 Volvo XC60 — Road Test

Posted on Mar 25, 2018 by
2018 VolvoXC60
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  • VolvoXC60
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  • Last modified: March 26, 2018

Review Summary:

It's a fantastic left-field choice for people who don't want to buy a German crossover. Superb interior, too. It's pricey, though.


Fantastic interior, ride quality, technology.


Body roll, expensive.

The 2018 XC60 has a lot going for it, but there is a problem, and a major one at that. Text and Images: Amit Benjamin

2018 Volvo XC60

Ah! The ! Tell me more about it…

Volvo has been on a bit of a resurgence in the past few years and the new XC60 continues that momentum. It is one of the most left-field and therefore, in my view, one of the coolest premium mid-size crossover SUVs out there. It’s packed full of technology and looks rather good, too.

2018 Volvo XC60

This goes against the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5, but is it as good?

In a sea of so-called premium crossovers, the Volvo XC60 is the only car in its class that actually feels it could give the Mercs, BMWs and Audis of this world a run for their money. Our tester is the top-of-the-line Inscription model which means it is brimming with every piece of tech and luxe you could ask for. It certainly feels premium inside and out.

The cabin is superb and there is no overdose of grey and black like the Teutons, it’s minimal yet extremely sophisticated. The unpolished wood trim looks fantastic and the metal accent pieces are the real stuff; that bodes well for perception of quality.

There is Volvo’s semi-autonomous driving as a big differentiator in its class — although it still a bit of work-in-progress — but overall it does not blindly follow the luxury blueprint set by BMW, Audi and Mercedes. It’s different and in many ways, better.

High praise! How does it drive, then?

It’s not going to shame any hardcore 4×4 off-roader and neither is it a track destroyer. In fact, there is way too much body roll for what it is. However, the ride is supple and there is a sense of serenity on the move. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine is fine, if a bit gruff sounding in the upper reaches of the rev range, but there is reasonable get-up-and-go acceleration. Even though it’s got 320 horsepower, 400Nm of torque and an eight-speed automatic, it never feels as urgent and the stop-start system is still blooming mad; you slow down to a crawl and the engine cuts out, which combined with the dimwitted auto-park electronic brake, makes for some comedic, albeit frustrating, head-lurching moments in stop-and-go traffic. It’s almost like you’re back to your first day of driving a manual car and the clutch keeps slipping. In a cruise though, it’s all rather agreeable.

2018 Volvo XC60

So, should I buy it over a BMW X3, Audi Q5 or Mercedes-Benz GLC?

That’s a tough one. As good as the Volvo XC60 is, I can’t really vouch for how well it will serve you in the long-term. Although I have tested its bigger brother the XC90 and its sedan brethren the S90 for an extended period of time and they weren’t exactly fail-proof in terms of certain aspects of interior build quality. On face value the Volvo XC60 feels as good as, if not better in many measures than the big three from Germany. But…

2018 Volvo XC60

And that would be?

It’s super pricey. Our Inscription tester costs a whopping AED309,999 including VAT. That is a boatload of money. Even though the Dubai dealer will pitch in AED59,047 as down payment, it’s still an expensive car. At AED250K this is a decent family crossover, but for that amount of cash there is some serious machinery to be had. A Porsche Macan S, for instance, costs AED266,900 including VAT, albeit in base guise. That’s the one I’d have.



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