We have asked this before – would you believe a Swedish born and bred crossover utility vehicle (CUV) came to the 2017 Truck of Texas rodeo and rode away with not one, but several top awards?

Well believe it – as it happened again this last week at the Longhorn River Ranch near Dripping Springs, Texas where the all-new 2018 Volvo XC60 took on the field, winning the coveted Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) SUV of Texas honor.

Not only did they capture the top SUV honor, but the 70 journalists attending and judging named the all-new 2018 XC60 as the Luxury SUV of Texas plus – measured against all 64 vehicles entered – judged their Sensus Connect & Navigation system as the Best New Connectivity and their all-new T8 Twin Engine Plug-in Hybrid engine as the Best Powertrain among all competitors.

Volvo Three-Peats Truck Rodeo

This year’s honors were essentially a “three-peat” for Volvo.  At last year’s Texas Truck Rodeo, the 2017 Volvo XC90 won the CUV of Texas and the Luxury CUV of Texas honors.  Two years ago, at the rodeo (then held at Knibbe Ranch), their 2016 XC90 corralled the CUV of Texas, Luxury CUV of Texas and Best Connectivity awards.

It would seem that winning at the Texas Truck Rodeo is getting to be a habit for Volvo.  Their winning formula seems to be simple and straight forward – send just one exceptionally styled, superbly engineered and technology-forward vehicle to compete each year.  In Texas Ranger lore, we call that “One Riot, One Ranger” meaning it only takes one to win.

This year again, practicing what we call their “One Rodeo-One Volvo” approach, they sent just one company representative – this time all the way from Sweden – but they did send two vehicles to showcase two powertrain versions of the new AWD 2018 XC60.

Both vehicles were the XC60 Inscription luxury trim level versions. One was the T6 powered by their twin gasoline engine AWD powerplant producing 316 horsepower.  The other was their new, segment exclusive T8 Twin Engine (one turbocharged and one supercharged) gasoline plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with electric AWD that produces 400 horsepower.  We drove this one twice and in the remarks section of our scorecard, penned the word “Wow”.

2018 Volvo XC60

The 2018 XC60 – the first of an all-new 60 series vehicle – includes elements of the latest generation Volvo design language. All XC60s will come equipped with a class leading level of standard equipment including a panoramic moonroof, leather seats, Thor’s Hammer LED headlamps, and Apple Carplay / Android Auto integrated into the 9-inch center touch screen.  Optional features such as soft Nappa Leather seats with ventilation and massage, Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound and four-corner air suspension bring a new level of luxury to the mid-sized SUV market.

Our test T8 had the Bowers and Wilkin Sound system.  Others may say their upgraded audio has ‘concert level’ sound, but the Volvo XC60 actually delivers it.

Other features include their Lane Keeping Aid standard and new Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which will provide steering input to mitigate head-on collisions. This function will also join the standard Intellisafe City Safety system, which includes pedestrian, cyclist, vehicle and large animal detection with automatic emergency braking. Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) will now use Steer Assist functionality to prevent drivers from changing lanes into other vehicles.

The T6 MSRP is $44,900 and the T8 MSRP is $52,900.  Note a T5 turbocharged gasoline AWD power plant producing 250 horsepower is also available for MSRP $41,500.

Rest of the Story

This was actually a fourth TAWA Truck of Texas rodeo for Volvo as back in 2002, Volvo entered their (then all- new) 2003 XC90 in the competition and rode away with the prestigious top Truck of Texas honor (there being no SUV or SUV categories back then).

It seems the Volvo folks have got this Texas Truck Rodeo stuff down pretty pat.  If they keep bringing new, innovative, superbly styled and engineered Volvo SUV and CUV vehicles to the Texas market, they will continue to be a “vehicle to beat” at the Texas Truck Rodeo.

Stop by your local Volvo dealer to see and drive all of the 2018 XC60 powertrain versions.  You can get more information on the Volvo lineup at https://www.volvocars.com/us  including the XC90 and the new compact XC40 due early in 2018.

Rodeo ranch location pictures by Kevin McCauley