2018 Volvo XC60
After reenergizing the brand with the 2016 XC90 crossover, and following up with an all-new S90 luxury sedan and V90 wagon, Volvo turned their sights to the midsize arena with an all-new XC60 utility. Most of what you see here looks familiar. So, let’s see if that XC90’s brilliance survives a bit of downsizing.
Volvo didn’t think too far outside of the box for their midsize 2018 XC60 crossover. Rather, they just took the wonderful package that is the XC90 and downsized it. Well, like most things, it’s not quite that simple.
It does ride on the same platform, which means you also have the same powertrains; starting with a 2.0-liter turbo I4, which at 250-horsepower is more than enough for most, add a supercharger and it bumps up to 316-horsepower. Finally, tack on some electric assist, and output for our T8, jumps to 400-horsepower and 472 lb-ft. of torque.
No matter which version you choose, all-wheel-drive is standard, and all have an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Nothing drastically different underneath, just a revised version of the double wishbone front and transverse leaf spring rear suspension. So, street handling is sound; making the XC60 reasonably entertaining as a daily driver.
Power is plentiful at all times and smoothly delivered; whether merging on the highway, coming out of curves, or leaving a stop light. Our only driveline quibble is some clunky downshifts at low speed, and a very unrefined feel to this plug-in hybrid’s regenerative braking.
Inside, you’ll find the high-end expert-level handcraftsmanship of the 90, but with a modified layout and approach. The overall feel is still high on luxury; and perhaps more impressive, many interior measurements are barely different than the XC90.
In fact, rear seat room actually feels more plentiful, since the 5-passenger XC60 doesn’t need to create access for a 3rd row like the XC90.
Much less cargo space than the 90 of course, but still plentiful for a midsize; at 29.7 cubic-ft. worth of gear in the back; expanding to 63.3 with rear seatbacks folded.
A “love it or hate it” central control tablet dominates the center stack. Mounted in the dash, glare was not a big problem. It’s very easy to do basic things too, but more involved demands require a few menus to go through and taking your eyes off the road more than we’d like.
Seats are very comfortable in a way that only Volvo seems to have mastered, and near perfect seat height makes getting in almost like sliding into your favorite recliner.
Now, your recliner probably can’t get you to 60 in less than six seconds, however; and this XC60 T8 has no problem doing that.
It’s not so much a launch off the line, as it is an explosion of energy. We’re still not sure how this little 4-banger manages to hold together with a turbo and a supercharger feeding in boost, but it’s quickly becoming a favorite of ours. The added electric assist is just positively charged ionic icing on this 3-layer cake.
We hit 60 in 5.4-seconds. The automatic transmission shifts quickly and aggressively, and this power unit even sounds pretty good. 13.9 was our ¼-mile time at 99 miles-per-hour.
With less wheelbase, we were surprised it didn’t feel quite as agile, or for that matter refined, as the XC90 through our cone course. But, there was decent feedback and only mild understeer.
Where the XC60 mirrors its larger sibling the most is exterior design. It’s not quite an exact copy, but pretty darn close. And that’s just fine by us, why re-engineer a good thing. The front end is a little more rounded, and greenhouse chopped a little.
The government gives the T8 a Combined MPGe Rating of 59, with an overall Combined rating of 26; which we couldn’t quite match with our average of 24.2 miles-per-gallon of Premium. For a very good Energy Impact Score with yearly consumption of just 7.3-barrels of oil, with CO2 emissions of 3.3-tons.
And lest we forget, this plug-in also has an EV-only range of 18-miles.
It may not be quite the value that the XC90 was when it first came out, but the base XC60 is still very reasonable, priced at $43,895.
So, the 2018 Volvo XC60 may be just a scaled down XC90. But that also means it is yet another fantastic product from the new Volvo. One that should have no problem standing out in a crowded field of great luxury utilities.
- Engine: 2.0 liter
- Horsepower: 400
- Torque: 472 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds @ 99 mph
- EPA: 59 MPGe
- Energy Impact: 7.3 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emisiions: 3.3 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined