Test Drive: 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Inscription
2018 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Inscription
Class: Premium Compact Crossover/SUVs
Miles driven: 547
Fuel used: 20.8 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 26.3 mpg
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 59 MPGe, 26 mpg (combined)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||A-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Base price: $56,700 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Convenience Package ($2000), Vision Package ($1100), Luxury Seat Package ($3000), Advance Package ($1900), black headliner and sport steering wheel ($300), metallic paint ($595), Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound ($3200), 4-Corner Air Suspension ($1800)
Price as tested: $71,590
The great: Interior materials, available safety features, ability to run on all-electric power
The good: Pleasant road manners, strong acceleration, good fuel economy (if using charger)
The not so good: Complicated touchscreen controls, pricey options
Volvo apparently has a high regard for electrified vehicles. It has announced that, starting in 2019, every new or redesigned product line it rolls out will have either pure-electric or hybrid power – no more solely fossil-fueled engines. So, it’s a touch ironic that the hybrid offering in its redesigned 2018 XC60 compact crossover SUV lineup is kind of downplayed.
XC60s with the T8 plug-in hybrid powerplant don’t boldly advertise that fact to the world — you have to kind of know your Volvos to realize the T8 badge on the hands-free liftgate stands for the gas/electric unit. The view from behind the wheel is similarly low key. There are no showy animated power-flow graphics on the instrument display. The sweep of a needle in the right-hand dial in the cluster informs the driver of operational status from “charging” through to “power,” and a discreet graph next to the gas-gauge indicator displays the charge level of the battery.
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Regardless of how much fuss Volvo does or doesn’t make about the T8, which is available in all three XC60 trim levels, the core facts about it are this: The 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged T6 4-cylinder gas engine is combined with an electric motor for a maximum 400 system horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. The engine drives the front wheels and the electric motor powers the rear. Power is managed via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Selectable drive modes include traditional “Hybrid,” limited-range electric-only “Pure,” fully combined “Power” for heightened performance, “AWD” for full-time all-wheel-drive operation as road and weather conditions warrant, and “Individual” to blend elements of the other modes.
The XC60 T8 delivers good around-town performance in Pure or Hybrid modes. Still, acceleration is noticeably stronger in Power mode. Initial throttle response is quicker, though followed by a brief flat spot before resuming a brisk pace. Transmission operation is unobtrusive.
EPA energy-economy estimates for the T8 are 59 MPGe with electric operation, and 26 mpg combined city/highway for the gas engine. This tester ran through EV, Hybrid, and Power modes during his 278-mile turn with the car and averaged 25.5 mpg with 65 percent city-type driving. During the course of the test, he had two full battery charges that respectively took an indicated 2 hours, 45 minutes and 2 hours, 15 minutes to complete on a 240-volt level-2 charger.
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Consumer Guide®’s T8 test car sported top-level Inscription trim. That made it just like the T6-powered 2018 XC60 that CG previously tested with one exception. Where the gas-powered XC60s get a 4-zone climate system, the hybrid makes do with a 2-zone unit. Inscription-specific appearance features include 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome grille bars and bodyside trim, oblong exhaust outlets in a body-color trim panel, and illuminated door handles. Interior upgrades are driver and front-passenger seat-cushion extenders, driftwood inlays, and a tailored dashboard covering. Conveniences encompass navigation, keyless entry, high-level interior illumination, a storage net on the passenger side of the transmission tunnel, and a cooled glove compartment.
Volvo’s historic penchant for safety is advanced in the XC60 through some new standard technology features. “Oncoming Lane Mitigation,” which will steer the vehicle back into its lane if it crosses the center stripe when an oncoming vehicle is detected, is one of them. Others include City Safety collision-avoidance, forward-collision warning and mitigation, lane-departure warning and mitigation, drowsy/distracted driver alert, and road-sign information.
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A wheelbase stretched by 3.6 inches to 112.8 for 2018 not only improves rear-seat legroom; it also helps to smooth out ride quality somewhat. The XC60 handles easily for the class, but the hybrid’s braking action is more abrupt than that of its gas-engine siblings. Optional 4-corner air suspension changes suspension firmness and ride height in accordance with whatever driving mode has been selected. All-wheel drive is standard across the lineup.
The cabin is comfortable, attractive, and well executed, all the more so with the Nappa-leather Luxury Seat Package, which includes heated and ventilated front seats with massaging back rests, and seat heaters in the rear. Door panels are adorned with padded or pliable surfaces all the way down. Large windows provide good vision to the front and rear corners, though somewhat-thick roof pillars cut down side views. There’s full adult legroom in either row. Headroom is good all around as well. If anything detracts from the pleasant ambience, it’s the touchscreen for the Sensus infotainment system. Like a tablet or smartphone, the 9-inch vertically oriented screen can be swiped left or right, up or down, to access information and settings, but little of this is intuitive. Get ready to hunt and peck.
Personal items can be stashed in the large glovebox or, to a lesser degree, in the covered console box. Segmented front-door pockets are long and each holds a bottle. Rear-seat occupants are provided with smaller door pockets along with net pouches on the backs of the front seats. Cup holders are found under a lid in the console and in the pull-down center armrest, which also has a small covered bin.
The T8’s hybrid-power gear is stashed under the cargo floor, which is as flat as in any all-gas XC60. The gain in rear-seat legroom seems to have come at the cost of a little bit of rear cargo space. Nonetheless, it’s still pretty good, and it improves when the 60/40-split rear seats are down. The seats fold flat, with a smooth transition from the cargo area, and a pass-through for long items is built in behind the central armrest.
CG’s test XC60 was kitted out with an extensive checklist of packages and freestanding options that raised its bottom-line price with delivery to an, um, ambitious $71,590. However, Volvo points out that the hybrid T8 makes the vehicle eligible for a federal tax credit of $5002, plus possible other state and local incentives. Consider that just one more of the XC60 hybrid’s “secrets.”
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