The Volvo XC60 has been in the lineup for 9 years (an eternity in the auto industry) and accounts for a third of all Volvo sales worldwide. The company started production of its replacement, the 2018 Volvo XC60, this week at its factory in Torslander, Sweden. The new XC60 rides on a slightly smaller chassis known internally as the Scalable Product Architecture.
Its styling has been updated and now closely follows the look of the current XC90. The interior has also been updated significantly to bring it in line with the expectations of premium SUV customers. CarWow, a UK automotive website, says the base price of the new 2018 Volvo XC60 will be €37,900 or less than $43,000 in US numbers. The new car is right in the sweet spot of the global new car market. Volvo needs the updated model to continue being a strong seller.
The top engine choice in the 2018 Volvo XC60 will be the same 407 horsepower T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain with compound turbocharging offered in the top of the line XC90. It has a 4 cylinder engine that pumps out a respectable 390 horsepower, an electric motor between the engine and the transmission, and a second electric motor powering the rear wheels. Using only the 80 hp rear motor, the XC90 can travel about 25 miles on electric power alone. Pricing for that model has not yet been announced.
The gasoline engine benefits from both an electric supercharger for good low end torque and a turbocharger for lots of power at higher engine speeds. The electric supercharger is operated by a 48 volt system that is separate from the car’s normal 12 volt electrical system.
Volvo has always prided itself on building safe automobiles. The 2018 Volvo XC60 will have BLIS, a blind spot detection system, as well as automatic emergency braking as part of its City Safety Assist system. That is now coupled with steering assist to help the car avoid an object that appears suddenly in its path. There is also an Oncoming Lane Mitigation system that steers the car back into its proper lane when necessary.
The absence of automatic emergency braking is what prompted Consumer Reports to downgrade the Tesla Model S and Model X last week. Tesla fixed the problem with an over the air update the very next day. The XC60 will also offer Pilot, which is Volvo’s version of adaptive cruise control. Last year, a Volvo official took a broad swipe at Tesla, saying its Autopilot system promised more than it could deliver.
“It gives you the impression that it’s doing more than it is,” Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance at Volvo told The Verge. “[Tesla’s Autopilot] is more of an unsupervised wannabe.” Ouch. At Volvo, its safety systems do what they say they do and no more.