2018 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD R-Design essentials: A beaut ute

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The XC60 is a crossover you’ll be glad to see each morning

What is it: The 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 is a midsize premium crossover with subtle Nordic luxury. The T6 signifies a turbo- and supercharged I4 making 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic is standard.

Key Competitors: Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3

Full Review: 2018 Volvo XC60

Base Price: $45,895 As-Tested Price: $59,740

Highlights: The XC60’s R-Design trim adds sporty elements like sculpted seats, a gloss back mesh grille, matte silver mirror caps, integrated tailpipes and 19-inch alloy wheels. The best part of the interior is the 12.3-inch digital driver display that brings in all relevant climate, nav and radio functions, though it takes some getting used to.

Our Opinion: In a world chock-full of similarly boring-but-nice-enough crossovers, it takes a lot to stand out, and this Volvo does just that. The XC60’s styling alone puts it in a special class of cool crossovers. Unlike the fire-breathing monsters from Mercedes-AMG, Maserati and BMW, this Volvo doesn’t snarl or pop but hums along quietly. Of course, it also doesn’t hustle through the gears like performance-minded crossovers, either, but for fans of forced induction, there is a faint hint of supercharger whine while accelerating.

Handling in the XC60 is similar to its GLC and X3 competition — it does everything pretty well. Steering inputs are video game-esque, but that’s expected with over-boosted electric power steering systems. This Volvo manages bumps without spilling your coffee or waking your baby. That said, there is the expected body roll that comes with softly sprung SUVs with high centers of gravity.

Volvo has been putting together some of the nicest interiors available for a while now, and the XC60 is no exception — the passenger compartment is a great place to spend hours on a road trip. It takes a while to get acclimated to the lack of physical controls for things like seat heaters and climate control, but after a few weeks of ownership, the large touchscreen control system will be second nature. The audio system on our test car was as good as any premium system from the competition. While there was some clipping with the system dialed all the way up, it’s more than loud enough to let your neighbors know you’re finally getting into Captain Beefheart.

The automatic stop/start system will probably save you a few gallons of gas throughout the entire time you call an XC60 yours; that said, it doesn’t seem to be as smooth as others on the market. Blipping the throttle a few seconds before you want to start rolling will bring the engine back to life and give you immediate response. The twin-charged I4 delivers a smooth shove while accelerating under both heavy and light throttle.

Unless you’re in the market for a crazy-fast performance crossover, it’s hard to look past the XC60. The styling is unique enough to stand out in a crowded parking lot, and the amenities will coddle customers who want a premium cabin.

–Wes Wren, associate editor

2018 BMW X3 xDrive 30i Essentials Heavy on Sport Light on Utility

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2018 BMW X3 xDrive 30i essentials: Heavy on sport, light on utility

Options: Bowers and Wilkins premium sound ($3,200); R-Design, including unique grille, integrated tailpipes, body-color lower insert, 12.3-inch driver display, Sensus navigation, mechanical driver and passenger seat extension, leather and Nubuck sport seats, metal mesh aluminum deco inlays, keyless entry w/hands-free tailgate, black headliner, LED front fog lights, driver mode settings, storage net, illuminated door handles, paddle shifters ($3,000); Convenience Package including adaptive cruise, semi-autonomous drive system, HomeLink, heated wiper blades, power-folding second row, power child locks, electric-folding rear headrests, 12-volt power outlet, compass in rearview mirror ($2,000); Advanced Package including 360-degree camera, graphical head-up display, full LED headlights w/active bending lights, headlight high-pressure cleaning ($1,900); Vision Package including blind-spot information with steer assist, cross-traffic alert, front and rear park assist, park-assist pilot, automatically dimmed inner and exterior mirrors, retractable rear-view mirrors ($1,100); 21-inch R-Design wheels ($1,000); heated front seats and steering wheel ($750), metallic paint ($595)

On Sale: Now

Base Price: $45,895

As Tested Price: $59,740

Powertrain: 2.0-liter DOHC super- and turbocharged I4; AWD, eight-speed automatic

Output: 316 hp @ 5,700 rpm; 295 lb-ft @ 2,200-5,400 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,045 lb

Fuel Economy: 21/27/23 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Excellent styling and fun to drive

Cons: The automatic start/stop is slow to spin up

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