2018 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Review - Silent Serenity

Fast Facts

2018 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Inscription

2.0-liter super-and-turbocharged inline four, DOHC, plug-in hybrid (400 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 472 lb-ft @ 5,400 rpm)
Nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
59 MPGe (EPA Rating, MPGe)
37.0 (observed mileage, MPG)
Base Price: $53,895 (USD)
As Tested: $71,590
Prices include $995 freight charge.
2018 volvo xc60 t8 e awd review silent serenity

One of the downsides of doing this job is adapting to a new car every week. While the joy of never actually performing maintenance on your daily driver makes up for it, I struggle with basic tasks at times that should be second nature. Various cars have different locations for parking brakes, for example — I once stomped toward what I thought was a pedal-actuated parking brake, and instead caught my toe on the hood release.

That struggle extends to plug-in hybrids like this 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 — I simply forget to plug the darned thing in. Volvo quotes up to 17 miles of all-electric range. My commute to the office is right around 8 miles. I rather like the idea of not using a drop of gasoline to get to the day job, but two things conspired to keep me from that goal: my general idiocy, and the intoxicating torque supplied by this innovative powertrain.

Take a look at that fact box up near the top of the page. I’m not joking. The T8 on the tailgate refers to the most powerful powertrain package Volvo offers. This 2.0-liter four cylinder is both super- and turbocharged and adds electric propulsion to total 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. That torque moves the XC60 off the line at an alarming rate for a midsized crossover — I’ve seen 4.8 seconds 0-60 mentioned, which I can believe.

[Get new and used Volvo XC60 pricing here!]

Technologically, the XC60 is a marvel. Note that E-AWD moniker — the rear wheels are powered by an 87 hp electric motor, rather than being mechanically linked to the gasoline engine. The space in the center tunnel normally dedicated to the driveshaft is replaced by the battery, which means there is no effect on interior room between this hybrid trim and the standard XC60 models.

Mind you, the XC60 isn’t a sports sedan. It’s heavy, and the suspension is tuned as one would expect from Volvo — for comfort. Hustling into a corner reveals body roll commensurate with the mass. The steering is seriously light, with little feel. But the powertrain gives the driver confidence to squirt away from the light, or from annoying drivers in the next lane on the highway.

Indeed, the XC60 excels on the open road. The ride from the optional ($1,800) air suspension is controlled, even on the constantly-under-construction Ohio interstates that make up my typical drives. Road noise is minimal, as is wind noise. I’m thankful that this otherwise-loaded XC60 came with the standard size (for the T8 trim) 20-inch wheels, rather than the optional 22-inchers that would likely have affected ride quality and road noise intrusion. Combined with the typically-excellent Volvo seats, this XC60 is a marvelous car for eating up miles in serenity.

Those seats are wrapped in plush Nappa leather in a color I can only describe as chocolate. Volvo prefers the “Maroon Brown” name, but I argue that it’s chocolate. The kid spilled chocolate ice cream on the leather, and it matched.

Volvo does a magnificent job mating disparate materials into a stunning-looking interior. Driftwood and aluminum trim, combined with the chocolate leather and charcoal soft-touch plastics, make the view from the driver’s seat much less boring than most crossovers. The “crystal” shift lever is a little goofy, however, and I think I prefer the industry standard engine start push button to the console-mounted twist-knob found on this XC60, if only for familiarity.

The 9-inch touchscreen is simple to navigate, and gives plenty of real estate to read the navigation system and to manipulate audio controls. As the screen has a portrait orientation, the included Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration only takes over half of the screen, leaving the other half available for controlling non-phone functions. This has been my biggest complaint about these smartphone integrations — I can’t as easily change satellite radio stations while viewing Google Maps from my phone. The tall Volvo screen makes this work better.

The optional Bowers and Wilkins audio system gives 1100 Watts of power to 15 speakers, and offers great clarity to my awful choices in music. I’m not an audiophile, however, so I don’t know that I’d spend the extra $3,200 for this audio upgrade.

The rear seats offered plenty of room for fighting sisters to have their separate quarters. The center drivetrain/battery hump is a bit higher than I’ve seen in other crossovers, which might be a bit uncomfortable for a center-seat passenger, but the outboard positions give plenty of comfort and legroom.

Styling is handsome, even attractive. I’m still delighted by the “Thor’s Hammer” design of the LED daytime running lights inset into the headlamps. The metallic trim near the lower edge of the doors is an unusual callback to running boards. I dig it. Otherwise the look of the XC60 is very similar to the larger XC90 — a bit anonymous from a distance, but with attractive details throughout.

Does it look different enough to keep shoppers from looking at the other brands? I don’t know. It’s certainly not inexpensive, though my tester has over $17,000 in options over the standard XC60 T8. The stunning power and revolutionary efficiency offered by the plug-in drivetrain make this an attractive proposition.

If you remember to plug it in.

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

Join the conversation
3 of 14 comments
  • Jberger Jberger on Jul 28, 2018

    No comments on the Volvo's Pilot Assist and you didn't remember to plug it in? Aren't those the 2 features that would be unique to this vehicle?

  • Storkdoc63 Storkdoc63 on Jul 28, 2018

    Since I own one, I tell you about pilot assist. It works fine as long as you keep one hand on the wheel. It tends to stay a little more toward the center line than I prefer. The cruise only goes up (or down)in increments of 5. In the gas only model, it goes up or down in increments of 1. The adaptive part work great. The wheel will vibrate if you change lanes without signaling. I find that annoying. There is no AM radio, which seems strange, as now i can't get the traffic as I drive through Nashville. The ride is extremely comfortable as are the seats. I am getting 48.8 mpg overall. I have learned to lighten up my lead foot. Accelerate too fast and the gas comes on. On the highway, I am getting about 30 mph. Driving around town, its almost infinite. I remember to plug mine in.

    • Garrett Garrett on Jul 29, 2018

      Gas is also 5mph increments unless you turn it on at a non-5mph increment speed and don’t toggle up or down. You can turn off the lane keeping assist to stop the vibration. Pilot assist is at its best in a very specific type of situation: you’re stuck in heavy traffic, possibly a construction zone, and people are demonstrating an inability to move in a slow but smooth manner. It takes 90% of the rage out of this situation. On the open road without traffic issues, it’s actually very useful for when you start to feel like you need a break, but you’re still a few miles from a good place to pull off.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.