2018 Volvo XC60

2018 Volvo XC60

Episode 3736
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined