Each year The Car Connection gives the Best Car To Buy award for vehicles that we'd recommend to anyone.
Our overall winner this year was the 2018 Honda Accord. In a very narrow vote, it beat out our Best Crossover To Buy 2018, the Volvo XC60.
With its bigger XC90, Volvo reset the notion of what a luxury sport-utility vehicle could offer, from its turbocharged and supercharged engines, to its battery-powered plug-in hybrid model, to its pitch-perfect interior.
The XC60 is Volvo's latest success story. It's not merely a shrunken XC90, it's a right-sized family wagon with all-weather capability, one that doesn't forget its mission of comfort and utility.
MORE: Read all about our Best Car To Buy 2018 awards
The XC60's winning package starts with a smart, contemporary shape that parries with Jaguar's F-Pace and Mercedes' GLC for tasteful, timeless style. Volvo knocks the XC60 interior out of the park, with eye-soothing bands of natural wood, a portrait-style touchscreen interface, and sheets of lush leather. If you haven't seen the driftwood-themed cabin, prepared to be wowed.
Performance comes from the same trio that powers the XC90. All are based around the same turbocharged inline-4 shared with the bigger SUV. Base T5 models turn in 250 horsepower; with turbocharging and supercharging, the XC60 T6 becomes truly quick, with 316 hp. The top 400-hp XC60 T8 has plug-in driving range of about 20 miles, then runs in hybrid mode. It's the strongest model in a lineup of vehicles that offer an 8-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive (for this model year, at least.)
No matter which model you choose, the XC60 smothers the road with its moderately firm base suspension. It's more adept with optional air shocks, and allows drivers the choice between a few driving modes, from snow to sand to mud, like any modern SUV would.
MORE: Read our first drive of the 2018 Volvo XC60
The stunning cabin has great space for four adults, and road noise is better controlled than in the bigger XC90. The ambiance is backed by very good functionality: the XC60 has a big cargo bin in back, fold-down rear seats, and lots of small-item storage.
Volvo's safety offerings range from piloted driving to surround-view cameras; crash-test scores have been very good so far, with the NHTSA yet to check in. Every version has a power tailgate, LED headlights, leather, a touchscreen with a user interface that factors in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Base models start at less than $43,000, while plushly padded XC60s with the Inscription package rush past $60,000.
Even at those prices, the XC60's hardware and features parse out as a very strong value. In truth, only its relatively high sticker price kept the XC60 from outgunning this year's Best Car To Buy. In all other respects, it's a vehicle any of our editors would give their stamp of approval.