We aim to find out if a new Volvo XC60 is worth the extra cash over a lightly used 2018 model with many of the same features.
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When Volvo introduced the second-gen XC60 in 2018 it came with stylish new looks, more interior space, and new powertrains too. Since then, Volvo has slowly improved the details of the XC60 but its core is largely the same.
Is it possible then that a lightly used XC60 is the better buy right now? To find out we’ve limited our search to a 2018 XC60 with fewer than 60,000 miles. We’ll compare what’s available in that bracket to a brand-new XC60 in terms of price, driving performance, interior comfort, trims, and available features. Then, we’ll crown a winner as the best value between the two.
Back in 2018, the XC60 debuted with three trim levels and three available engines among them. The base version, dubbed the T5, utilizes a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Above that is the T6 which uses the same 2.0-liter engine as a foundation but then adds supercharging to make 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
Finally, the T8 is a plug-in hybrid that incorporates an electric motor with the T6 powertrain to develop 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. All engines use an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive to get power to the ground.
The EPA estimates that the XC60 will get anywhere from 23 to 26 mpg combined depending on the engine chosen. The T8 can go up to 18 miles on electric power alone. Pricing today sits between roughly $30,000 and $50,000 for an XC60 in good condition.
The 2023 XC60 features a similar engine menu with slight variations. The base motor, now called B5, is a mild-hybrid turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 247 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Next is the B6 which again supercharges the B5 platform to produce 295 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.
Atop the lineup is the Recharge T8, a plug-in hybrid with an 18.8 kWh battery and 455 hp, and 523 lb-ft of torque. It’ll go up to 32 miles on electric power alone. The B5 and B6 get up to 26 and 23 mpg combined respectively.
For 2023, the B5 comes standard with front-wheel drive but AWD is optional. The B6 and Recharge T8 both get AWD as standard. Pricing starts at $44,545 and rises to an MSRP of $75,245 for the top trim level of the XC60.
The 2018 XC60 is somewhat unique in that it doesn’t offer the same razor-sharp handling and power delivery of high-end athletic SUVs but it also isn’t slow and wallowy like some luxury SUVs in the segment. All three engines offer decent power but the T6 and T8 are noticeably quicker than the T5 which should come as no surprise.
The T8 is a very mixed bag because while we like its all-electric range and its exceptional power it’s not as smooth as we’d like. The transition between regenerative braking and conventional braking is a little awkward too. At the same time, it’s worth noting that rivals from Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW have their own drawbacks too.
Despite the years that separate these two cars the driving performance hasn’t changed much. Both the B5 and B6 versions feel largely identical to the 2018 model. If anything, the ride quality is ever so slightly better.
The big difference rests in the Recharge T8 where it has considerably more power than the old T8. 455 hp is nothing to smirk at and it’s fully put to use the in very expensive Polestar Engineered trim thanks to adaptive dampers, a sport-tuned suspension, and summer performance tires.
If there’s one thing that Volvo seems to always do well these days it’s build a comfortable and stylish interior. That’s also the case with the 2018 XC60 as both the front and rear seats offer ample space and supportive cushioning. Opt for the top-end trim with the luxury seat package and you’ll get heated and ventilated massaging seats too.
The 2018 XC60 is available with quad-zone climate control, a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system, and a cooled glovebox. The ride quality is good too. Only the roughest roads seem to unsettle this SUV. Cargo space is good with about 30 cubic feet of storage behind the second row. If that’s not dog friendly we don’t know what is.
Volvo hasn’t undertaken any major interior design changes over the last five years in the XC60. To that end, it’s still very stylish, sleek, and easy to get comfortable in. The big change is that features previously locked behind higher trim levels have slowly trickled down into the lower ones.
For instance, the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster from the old R-Design is standard across the entire XC60 lineup for 2023. The infotainment system is different too and now employs a Google Built-In user interface. While it’s not one of our favorite infotainment systems, we think it’s a solid improvement on the old system and still offers Android and Apple integration to those that prefer them.
For 2018, Volvo sold the XC60 in three trim levels, Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. Each one had full access to any of the above-mentioned engines.
Momentum – This trim comes standard with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, automatic high beams, integrated roof rails, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, and a 9-inch infotainment system. Road departure mitigation, lane-keep assist, and collision mitigation are also standard features.
R-Design – The sporty R-Design trim adds 19-inch wheels, LED front fog lights, keyless entry, illuminated door handles, front sport seats, integrated navigation, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and selectable drive modes.
Inscription – This top trim gets 20-inch wheels, quad-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped dash, ambient interior lighting, and a cooled glovebox. It also has full access to every optional package including ones that add adaptive cruise control, heated wiper blades, parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera system.
For 2023, the XC60 is available in four trim levels.
Core – This trim has access to the B5 and Recharge T8 engine. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, LED exterior lighting, blind-spot warning, forward collision mitigation, lane-keep assist, parking sensors, and automatic high beams.
Plus – Next up is the Plus trim with access to all available engines. It gets 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, power-folding rear headrests, a surround-view camera system, side parking sensors, wood interior trim, ambient interior lighting, and a universal garage door opener.
Polestar Engineered – This trim gets 21-inch wheels with summer performance tires, adaptive headlights, a sport-tuned suspension, adjustable Ohlins dampers, Brembo brakes, gold-colored seat belts, heated rear seats, rain-sensing wipers, and a Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
Ultimate – This trim has access to all engines and adds heated and ventilated front seats, a Harman Kardon sound system, a heads-up display, 20-inch wheels, a crystal gear selector, a leather dash topper, and quad-zone climate control (B5 and B6 only).
For that reason, we think that the clear win here has to go to the used 2018 Volvo XC60. A top-end 2018 XC60 Inscription T8 is available with under 45,000 miles for less than $45,000. We’d call that a steal of a deal compared to a new $70,000 SUV. Have a look at our detailed used-car checklist for what to watch out for in a used car and have fun shopping!
The XC60 is an unconventional choice in a large segment that feels somewhat stale at times. It’s not a perfect SUV by any means but it’s comfortable, innovative in its own way, and very stylish. On top of that, it’s available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and boatloads of horsepower. All of that is true about both the 2018 and the 2023 versions but where the big changes lie, gigantic pricing differences lurk too.