Take the sublime Volvo XC90 crossover, leave it in the dryer a little too long, and flip its 9 upside down.
You wind up with the 2018 Volvo XC60, a five-seat crossover that feels more exclusive and luxurious than its price tag suggests. Starting around $42,500, the 2018 XC60 range undercuts some fierce BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class competition despite coming standard with all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, and 250 horsepower.
But don't think of the XC60 as merely Volvo's answer to those German stalwarts. Dressed with stunning details in and out, the XC60 is distinctly Scandinavian. From its "Thor's Hammer" headlights to a pair of LED taillights that snake up the roof pillar, the XC60's exterior is timeless. The real catch here is its soothing interior, whether outfitted in driftwood trim or swathed in cognac-colored leather upholstery. Its front seats are all-day comfortable and there's good room for humans in row two and their gear in the cargo area.
It's the kind of vehicle that makes even the least stylish of us feel like we're part of a swanky marketing campaign for an artisanal coffee shop.
Three powertrains sit under the XC60's hood, all mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The base turbo-4 engine, which falls under our $50,000 price cap, boasts 250 horsepower. Spend more and that figure climbs to 316 turbo- and supercharged hp or 400 turbocharged, supercharged, and electrified hp (with 20 or so miles of tailpipe emissions-free range). They're all a little short on refinement compared to the segment's best, but the XC60's personality and relaxing demeanor are fair trade-offs.
Volvo's core safety tenants are intact with the XC60. Even the cheapest model can stop itself if it detects an impending collision, while a few ticks through the options list nets buyers a crossover that can kind-of, sort-of drive itself without human intervention.
We'll know soon if the Volvo's subtly gorgeous XC60 has what it takes to be our next Best Car to Buy