Volvo was purchased in 2010 by Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., and the Chinese company has provided the struggling Swedish automaker with the premium fiscal fuel it needed to engender a product renaissance aimed at converting its dreary counting house into a corporate Valhalla.
New platforms and drivetrains were developed and first employed in the luxury car builder's full-size 90 series sedans and crossovers.
Now, those same engines and transmissions, and a somewhat truncated version of the '90s architecture, have been handed down to Volvo's extremely important compact crossover, the XC60.
The 2018 XC60, due in showrooms this August, is an all-new version of the best-selling Volvo in the world, and Europe's sales leader in the luxury compact-crossover segment. Over a million have been sold worldwide in the last nine years, accounting for 30 percent of Volvo's global sales.
The handsome new XC60, which proved quick, agile, comfortable, and deluxe during a recent media preview, will come in three trim levels, ranging from the base Momentum model ($41,500), to the top-of-the-line Inscription ($45,300).
Even the Momentum is well-equipped, with a dossier that includes leather, a panoramic sunroof, 10-way power front seats, a power liftgate, and a host of safety electronics — something you'd expect from a company that has made cutting-edge safety its hallmark. This includes standard aids like the new Oncoming Lane Mitigation feature, which detects an oncoming vehicle when the driver crosses the center line, sounds an alarm, and then assists the driver in steering back into the proper lane.
Toss in the available safety options and you'd be hard pressed to find a safer ride.
All of the new XC60s will be equipped with all-wheel drive and a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox. And each of the three models can be equipped with any of the three available engines: the T5, the T6, and the T8.
The T5 is a 2-liter, turbocharged four that develops 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The T6 lets a supercharger onto the dance floor with the turbo and the duo combine for 316 horses and a hefty 295 pounds of torque. The king-of-the-hill T8 is a plugin hybrid that combines that T6 engine with an electric motor to develop a rather profound 400 horsepower and 472 pounds of torque.
Alex Tripi, product manager for the XC60, pointed out that the only other compact crossover with 400 horsepower, the Porsche Macan Turbo, is a heck of a lot saltier.
"The T8 starts at $52,000," he noted. "The Macan Turbo is $77,000."
And, he added, the T8 is a deal in another way: "The walk from the T6 (equipped XC60) to the T8 is about $8,000. But the actual walk is only $3,000 with the $5,000 (electric car) tax credit."
Regardless of which engine one chooses, the XC60 is lively business. The T5 goes from zero to 60 in a tad over six seconds, the T6 in a tad under. The T8 does it in 4.9 seconds, which is definitely a Performanceville address.
Since production hadn't started yet on the T8 as of this writing, and had just began on the T5, a T6 Inspiration was the only game in town at the preview.
The XC60 tester was a handsomely carved crossover with an eye-catching front end that raised and isolated the grille from the lower fascia. The interior proved comfortable, quiet, and quite attractive with a gray trim described by a Volvo operative as "real wood made to look like driftwood."