First Look – Volvo Releases Crash Test Videos of 2018 XC60 Following Geneva Debut
Compact SUV’s Corporate Architecture Yields Safety, Style Dividends
The 2018 Volvo XC60 debuted at this week’s Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland, giving us a peek at the first all-new XC60 in nearly a decade. Now based on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), the 2018 XC60 shares a good deal of its mechanical and structural bits with the larger XC90 crossover, S90 sedan, and V90 station wagon.
The most obvious changes are cosmetic. Up front, the 2018 Volvo XC60 gets a version of the company’s “Thor’s Hammer” headlamps that now extend all the way to the radiator grille, while the rear gets distinctive, L-shaped taillights that recall the V90. The profile is very similar to the current XC60, which will attract current owners. The overall look outside is very similar to the larger XC90, albeit with a faster roofline in the rear.
Moving to SPA benefits the XC60 since the front axle can be pushed further forward. The longer wheelbase aids in stability, passenger space, and safety, but the most obvious improvement is styling. A longer dash-to-axle ratio gives the 2018 XC60 a much more premium look than its cab-forward predecessor, and the smaller front overhang imparts a more aggressive visage, lengthening the hood and reducing its slope.
Inside, the changes are even more impressive. Although the current XC60 has always had a reasonably stylish, comfortable interior, the new one adopts a much simpler, more Scandinavian design. Highlights include the portrait-oriented center touchscreen, bookended by sculptural HVAC vents and surrounded by gorgeous wood trim. That wood also appears on the Volvo-signature slatted center-console cover, which is precision-crafted for a beautiful appearance. Jeep-esque Easter eggs will abound in the 2018 XC60, like the milled-aluminum Swedish flag that makes an appearance just under the passenger-side HVAC vent. Expect buttery leather seating and a relaxed, tranquil driving experience from the XC60; Volvo admits the goal is comfort and competence, not canyon-attacking performance.
Per that mission, the XC60 will be available with the same powertrains as the larger XC90, comprising three 2.0L boosted I-4s. The XC60 T5 is turbocharged, yielding 250 hp and 258 lb-ft, while the T6 adds a supercharger to the mix for 316 hp and 295 lag-free lb-ft. The top-spec XC60 T8 Twin-Engine plug-in hybrid adds electric motors for more than 400 hp and 470 lb-ft. In the smaller, lighter XC60, expect the T8 powertrain to lop a few ticks off the XC90’s 0-60 time of 5.0 seconds, though the slowest XC90 T5 AWD will still hit 60 in about 6 seconds.
A double-wishbone front suspension replaces MacPherson struts, and Volvo’s unusual integrated rear axle incorporates a transverse composite leaf spring to equalize the front and rear roll centers. Volvo SPA also will imbue the XC60 with vault-like solidity, a trait we’ve noticed in the XC90. Part of that comes from extensive use of high-strength boron steel, which is found nearly everywhere in the XC60’s structure; the passenger cage, floor, front fenders, roof, liftback, and engine cradle are all reinforced with the stuff.
That stout safety cage will prove to be a boon in crash testing as well. Volvo released three videos of its own in-house crash testing of the 2018 XC60, and we’re very impressed with the small SUV’s performance. Particularly in the rollover test, passenger cage deformation is commendably low, and the cabin’s airbags do a good job of protecting the crash test dummies from the interior’s hard points. Expect Volvo’s sterling safety reputation to carry over intact from its other models.
As part of Volvo’s Vision 2020 ethos—“No one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020”—the company will include a number of active collision-prevention features in the 2018 XC60. One of these, City Safety with steering support, is an industry first. When the XC60 detects the driver is swerving to avoid an emergency, the system brakes the inside wheels to improve steering response, then brakes the outside wheels to stabilize the crossover. The system detects vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, and large animals as well, applying the brakes automatically if a collision is imminent. Volvo claims the autobrake technology can completely avoid collisions with closing speeds of up to 30 mph and significantly mitigate collisions with higher closing speeds.
With a suite of active safety technologies, Volvo will have no issues maintaining its legacy of vehicle safety. But thanks to its improved performance, jaw-dropping style, and luxurious interior options, the 2018 XC60 should also attract a number of buyers into the Volvo fold, giving them a uniquely Swedish take on the compact luxury SUV recipe.