As mythological deities go, the Norse had far fewer offspring than other cultures. Olympian thunder god and Singer seed sewer Zeus sired more than 25 kids. Nothing less than a super stretched three-axle Ford Expedition would have met the Olympian’s needs.

Zeus’ Valhallan counterpart, Thor adopted a more proportional of family having three known children.

Following a more proportional Nordic family sizing approach, the first generation of Volvo’s XC60 mid-size luxury crossover sports utility vehicle was the brand’s best seller. A remade 2018 Volvo XC60 raises a nouveau upscale SAV SKÅL to those “right” sized active lifestyle families.

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WHAT: 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 Inscription AWD luxury mid-size sport utility vehicle, now undepinned by Scalable Product Architecture, replacing 1st generation Ford Global P3 platformed XC60.

Standard Power (T5): transverse intercooled turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 250 hp/ 258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles + (optional) Haldex IV all-wheel drive.

Optional Power (T6): transverse intercooled supercharged, turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 316 hp/ 295 lb-ft @ 2200 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles + Haldex IV all-wheel drive.

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: To the unkeen eye, a spitting 2/3 scale image of the XC90 3-row SUV.

SPA XC90 II hand-me-downs: Low slung hoodline, split creased side valleys; Wider, concave vertical slat hexagonal grille; Inboard arrow shaped slim wrap-around LED headlamps; “Thor’s Hammer” alternating white DRLs/ amber flashers; Chrome trimmed lower front fascia corners filled with dark lattice work; Low front corner LED foglamps; Beveled rising lower body cladding w/ chrome inserts; Kammback liftgate bordered by hockey stick taillamps;

Deviations from XC90 II: More radical D-pillar to liftgate frame Hoffmeister kinked ; ” L”  horizontal mid-liftgate taillamp extension; Chrome upper bumper cover reflector housings; No simulated front / rear lower fascia skid plates; No headlamp assembly corner amber reflector extensions.

Summed-up: More upright silhouette, less coke bottle bodied, more formal detailed, and less raised sportback wagon than it’s predecessor.

WHY: Luxury IKEA-n crossover ute for urban 21st Century family.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late Summer 2017

WHERE: Volvo new vehicle dealers

WHERE MADE: Torslanda, Sweden

WHERE TO: available Haldex all-wheel drive, e-varies front/ rear traction from 90/ 10% – lockable at maximum 50/50%, rear e-clutch differential limits the slip; Selectable and Driver customizable Off-Road modes aided by ABS descent control; 8″ clearance = Inclement weather beater & light off-roader;

HOW ROADWORTHY: Low speed supercharging + higher speed  turbocharging, featuring healthy if brief turbo overboost. Singing slightly hoarse soprano rather than tenor, a healthy surge in motion is realized once the indecisive 8-speed Aisin automatic transaxle torque converter settles on a taller ratio.

+1 Traditional rowing transmission selector wins out over contemporary toggle types any day; Exquisite hammered aluminum twist-action ignition switch & barrel drive mode selector by Mjölnir.

Haldex IV all-wheel drive cues the driver with tinge of tail-swing before increasing the viscous clutch lock to the maximum 50% fore to aft split, with side-to-side rear torque vectoring.

Specified 20″-inch wheels were fitted to the tested XC60 T6 Inscription. Available 21″ and 22″ inchers on offer render optional rear air-springs nearly compulsory in freeze thaw cycle geographies. Optional 4-C air spring variable damping occasionally compresses slowly under load, dishing up some pitching. Turn in is impressive, with abundant roll control. Electric assisted steering boasts heft in resistance but some ambiuguity in on center accuracy. Volvo’s have made serious strides in cabin placidity and the XC60 is hardly an exception to the trend.

Pilot Assist 2 semi-autonomous Level 2 driving, delivers accurately centered lane control on more acute freeway bends; Single piston sliding disc brake calipers deliver a firm pedal but less bite at the abrupt end of travel.

HOW FAR: 23 combined miles per gallon fuel economy; 500 highway miles range.

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: 5 Occupant 2+3 seating;

For Comparison’s Sake:

  • 112.8″-inch Wheelbase: 3.6″ > preceding 2017 XC60
  • Wheelbase: 1.6″ > Audi SQ5
  • LxWxH: 0.7″ >, 0.4″ >, 1.9″ > Audi SQ5
  • Maximum cargo capacity: 5% < Audi SQ5
  • 1st/ 2nd Row legroom: 0.2″ >, 1.4″ < Audi SQ5
  • Curb weight: 108 lbs. > Audi SQ5 3.0
  • LBS. per HP vs. Audi SQ5:  14.0 vs. 12.4

HOW USEFUL: 60/40 split Row 2; Power release flat folding Row 2 seat backs; Row 2 cargo pass through;

Cargo area 12V outlet; Mouse-fur lined, damped action glove box; +1 Above segment average cargo capacity Power liftgate; Sub-cargo floor management; Cargo area power load height adjustment; Row 2 tilting seatbacks; Lined glovebox w/ chrome latch; +1 View from tall greenhouse, low sloping hood and lower door mount wing mirrors; Tow Rating: 3500 lbs.

-1 Manual 2nd Row Seat back fold & cushion slide; -1 Sub-cargo floor storage compromised by air spring canisters; -1 Unlined door pockets; -1 Compromised wireless device storage/ connectivity in shallow center armrest bin; –1 No overhead console retracting sunglass bin;

HOW SAFE: 10 airbags; IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus; Bird’s Eye view Rear camera; sonar front & rear Park Distance Control, Blind spot, rear cross traffic & lane departure warning, Auto parking brake hold; City Safety pedestrian avoidance; Auto high beam headlamps; Heads-Up display

Partial Autonomous Driving: Pilot Assist 2; Full-adaptive cruise control; Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision avoidance braking; Active Park Assist; +1 Permits 23 seconds of hands/ foot free driving.

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: Heated, cooled, 12-way power front seats, w/ power torso bolsters & knee extenders, 2-setting driver & front passenger memory; Massaging front seat backs and cushions; 4 power windows, full express; 3-Zone auto climate control; Automatic front seat heating/ cooling; Auto steering wheel heating; Row 2 door privacy glass; Power retracting Row 2 headrests; Door puddle lamps x 4; Panoramic power moon-roof w/ opaque screen; +1 Cocooning, cradling fatigue eliminating seats; -1 Manual tilt/ telescoping steering wheel;

Cool Gizmo(s): 9.2″-inch LCD Digital Drive Display w/ configurable LCD twin gauges Aft front center console 2-Zone 2nd Row climate & seat heating LCD haptics touch controls.

Details Done Right: Aluminum inlays & switch-gear; Linear open-pore walnut wood veneers & center console bin shades; Contrast stitched, perforated Nappa leather seating & upper door panels & dash-top; Full dashboard & door panel ambient LEDs; Two-tone leather helm; B&W Nautilus dash top aluminum bullet tweeter speaker – Yellow Kevlar door speakers glare through aluminum covers.

Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Light grey mesh cloth headliner;

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: 9″ vertical tablet-style, pane-swipe, touch LCD infotainment screen, Script text entry; Rotary audio volume dial, selection, defroster & Home screen switches ; Voice recognition command hands-free communications; 3-D HDD GPS voice command/ guidance navigation; Android Auto + Apple CarPlay; Sensus Connected Apps: 12V x 3; USB x 1.

Aurally Audiophilic: Sparkling sibilant, taut 19 speaker, 1400 Watt Bower & Wilkins audio;

By Subscription: Sirius XM radio, TravelLink apps (90 days trial)

HOW MUCH: $62,290 = tested 2017 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Inscription price.

WHAT’S MISSING: Power steering wheel tilt adjustment; Improved exhaust sound, 2nd Row USB ports.

ANY COMPETITION: Acura RDX: +1 V6, value, reliability; Alfa Romeo Stelvio: +1 engine sound, handling;  Audi SQ5: +1 V-6 TT, ride, cabin IT ; BMW X3 M40: +1  V-6 TT, cargo versatility; Cadillac XT5+1 V-6, Level 2.5 autonomy, cabin space; Infiniti QX50: +1 cabin materials; Jaguar F-Pace+1 V-6 SC, cabin materials; Porsche Macan S+1 V-6 TT, handling.

 

(Contributing Editor: Peter Stamatis)