The 2018 Volvo XC60 could be the safest Volvo ever

March 7, 2017

If you're familiar with the Volvo XC90, nothing about the Swedish automaker's new, smaller crossover effort will surprise you. That's a good thing, however. 

With its 2018 XC60, Volvo has scaled down everything about the successful XC90—and it has packed in even more technology. Underneath its simple, Scandinavian looks, the XC60 rides on a shrunken version of the underpinnings found in the XC90. Perhaps the biggest difference comes at the rear, where the XC90's headlamps are thinner and more dramatic. They retain the high-riding look that we've come to expect from Volvo's crossovers and wagons, but with more flair as they make a sharp curve toward the center of the tailgate.

MORE: Read our 2017 Volvo XC90 review: the XC60's big brother

Inside, things are even more familiar. A big, vertical touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability takes center stage on the XC60's dashboard. In the instrument cluster, another screen replicates analog gauges. 

Driving itself 

Where the XC60 diverges is in its safety tech. A new lane keep assist feature works at higher speeds (37 to 87 mph) to  correct drivers who may have unwittingly veered out of their lane and into incoming traffic by automatically nudging the XC60 back within the bounds of its lane. The system also detects if a driver is merging into another lane that's occupied, even if the lane departure warning system sounds a chime. In this case, it again nudges the XC60 back into its lane.

Volvo's latest Pilot Assist system is also on board, which can automatically accelerate or brake and it can steer itself at speeds up to 80 mph as long as lane markings are clear. It's not quite self-driving, but it's a big step in that direction. 

DON'T MISS: Volvo is back in the wagon game

An updated version of Volvo's City Safety tech can now steer the crossover out of trouble if it detects an impending collision. Previously, City Safety could only apply the brakes, but it will now look for a safe out if the driver doesn't react in time between 31 and 62 mph.

The details

Volvo hasn't yet announced American-market specs for the 2018 XC60; we expect those figures to come closer to its debut here at April's New York auto show. We expect the base configuration to be a 250-hp version of Volvo's turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive should be standard with all-wheel drive as an option for those more likely to encounter slippery climes. 

Buyers looking for more scoot will be offered a 400-hp variant that pairs a supercharged and turbocharged version of the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder to an electric drive system. All-told, the high-zoot version of the XC60 will hit 60 mph from a stop in just 5 seconds flat. 

Look for the XC60 to hit the market here by the end of the year, where it will square off against an increasingly competitive field of rivals like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. 

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