Motoring and Property Editor
1:45 AM 8th January 2022
Swedish Delight – Volvo’s Plug-in XC60 On Test
The second generation of Volvo’s premium mid-size SUV has been on sale for a few years now and despite an array of talented opposition, it still competes for class honours.
The Germans lead the charge with the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, whilst home grown offerings from Jaguar and Land Rover cannot be ignored.
The XC60 is a fine example of Volvo’s current design language with clean, simple lines and some distinctive touches such as the T-shaped daytime running lights and signature L-shaped tail lights.
The interior is an absolute delight and showcases the very best of cool, Scandinavian design. Classy soft-touch materials abound and the intuitive Sensus touch screen control system has allowed the interior to be pleasantly free of superfluous switches and buttons. However, sometimes even basic functions such as increasing the cabin temperature can involve several prods of the screen – not ideal.
The seats both front and back are supremely comfortable and supportive, amongst the very best available on any car, regardless of price.
On my driveway was a Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T8. Under the bonnet sat a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine which combined with the electric motor for a heady 400hp. If you are in the mood, the XC60 will sprint from 0-60mph in just 5.2 seconds. Top speed is limited by Volvo to 112mph, quite fast enough.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox works well, and changes are smooth and refined. This model does without steering wheel paddles, so taking control requires use of the stubby gear selector.
The battery allows for electric only running and expect to cover around 20 miles in this mode, ideal for the urban leg of a journey. A larger battery is to be fitted to 2022 model year cars, with around double the range.
Charging can be done via a domestic three-pin socket, so no need for a home charging unit. It will take some time though. CO2 emissions are commendably low at between 56 and 64g/km, ideal for the company car user. You can also charge the car on the move, but this will do little for the car’s fuel consumption.
Up to 113mpg is claimed, something that cannot be realistically replicated in the real world. Mixed running over 350 miles saw the trip computer register around 37mpg, with the car plugged in as much as possible. Low mileage urban dwellers will certainly do much better than I did.
One of the many drive settings includes an ‘Off Road’ mode, which lifts the suspension and engages power to all wheels. To test it out I took the XC60 down a couple of local green lanes and although it was fairly muddy, the car coped well and inspired confidence.
A little snow and ice towards the end of the test period allowed me to further test the car’s All-Wheel Drive system and I am pleased to report that icy hills were dispatched with ease. Helping to keep the driver in peak condition were the powerful heater, heated seats and steering wheel.
Inscription models of the XC60 are designed with comfort in mind and treated to some of my challenging test routes, the ride comfort was top drawer. The powerful engine/electric motor combo ensured brisk progress was easy to make, with just a tad too much body roll in some of the faster bends.
As one would expect from Volvo, all XC60s come with a raft of active and passive safety features. Of particular note are the standard fit City Safe with Steer Assist and Oncoming Lane Mitigation systems. The former can detect pedestrians, cyclists and large animals and will steer and brake in the event of an emergency.
The latter can guide you back into lane if you unwittingly drift across the white lines onto the other side of the road.
I can heartily recommend the Volvo XC60 as tested, though the price is distinctly premium - £63,735 with options. However, it is refined, quick, frugal in some settings and in my opinion, very desirable.
Added to this, all XC60s offer a comfortable, luxurious and family-friendly interior. So why not head down to your nearest friendly dealer and take a look? And if you need more space, the XC90 offers room for seven, whilst the popular XC40 is a little more compact.
Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T8 AWD Inscription Pro
Price £61,600 (£63,735 as tested)
XC60 range from £42,485
T8 (petrol & electric) – 303 and 87hp
0-60 in 5.2 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Emissions 56-64g/km CO2
Combined economy 100.9-113.0mpg
Braked towing capacity 2,100kg