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Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD (2021 - 2023)

As is the Volvo way, the vehicle is packed with the most comprehensive list of safety features and driver assistance aids imaginable in a bid to reduce the risk of injury to occupants and other road users alike.

Starting price:
£60,055 (£62,900 with options)

Why we love it:
  • Practical SUV that’s also fun to drive
  • Economical to run if electric range used to the max
  • Packed with safety kit and features AWD for more testing conditions
Where it could be better:
  • Needs to be charged regularly to achieve good efficiency
  • Quite expensive to buy
  • Touchscreen icons are too small and quite fiddly

Introduction

Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD

With the popularity of SUVs showing no sign of easing up, established carmakers are having to constantly up their game to keep their models in the public eye. One such vehicle is the Volvo XC60, a five-door, family SUV that has been gracing our roads since 2008.

While demand was previously high for petrol and diesel-powered models, customers are looking to switch to a cleaner driving regime and, with that in mind, the XC60 is available with plug-in hybrid technology these days. This means the car’s 18.4kWh battery can be charged at home and then is good for up to 49 electric-only miles between charges. That is ample for the daily commute or school run and, to keep costs low, it can be charged again overnight at home.

Then for journeys further afield, there is the punchy 2.0-litre petrol engine to fall back on. 

With prices starting from £56,030, the XC60 Recharge is available in T6 guise with 350hp or more powerful T8 455hp format, and there are three generously equipped trim levels called Core, Plus and Ultra to choose from.

Each model features all-wheel drive for added grip and we opted for the XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD in Plus specification for our test.

Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD

The Volvo XC60 is a mid-sized, five-seat family SUV that boasts a design that looks dynamic but not aggressive. There are distinctive light clusters including the signature Thor hammer daytime running lights at the front, along with a black grille where the Volvo badge takes pride of place, a panoramic sunroof, integrated roof rails and 20-inch alloys to finish off the sporty look.

The interior is bright, spacious and very upmarket with a clutter-free feel to it. And there is an abundance of technology to explore with the main focal point being the upright nine-inch touchscreen which offers access to Google Automotive Services, including navigation, voice control and access to apps via the Google Play Store for four years.

There is a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, a parking camera with 360-degree surround view, full smartphone connectivity and a 12.3-inch driver information display clearly showing all the vital driving data and this can be customised to taste too.

The upholstery and craftsmanship are first class with high-end fixtures and fittings throughout the cabin.

It’s certainly a driver-focused cockpit and the portrait touchscreen is well laid out with many similarities to an iPad. On the downside, the icons are quite small and it can be difficult to touch the right one on the move.

However, the voice recognition system works well and many tasks can be completed via that option.

On The Road

Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD

Handling & Performance

The Volvo XC60 Recharge PHEV model features a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an 18.8kWh battery. This unit delivers 253hp and 350Nm of torque while the electric motor adds a further 145hp and 309Nm to the mix. Volvo does not supply a combined power or torque figure, but the test car could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in just 5.7 seconds and maxed out at 112mph.

This is a vehicle the eats up motorway miles for fun, but can also put in a shift when faced with twisting country lanes. The steering is perfectly weighted and the XC60 is confidently grounded through tighter turns with next-to-no sign of body sway. It feels safe rather than exhilarating, but that’s exactly what XC60 buyers will be wanting from the car.

The elevated seating results in excellent all-round driver visibility which is another plus-point on a car that will likely feature regularly on the school run and its agility makes manoeuvring through busier town centres an easy process too.

The acceleration through the eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive, and the various drive modes are accessed via the touchscreen. These are called Hybrid, Power, Pure, Off-road and Constant AWD and they alter the driving dynamics of the vehicle and also introduce extra features to combat more challenging weather and road conditions. In addition, there are battery modes called Auto, Hold and Charge so you can monitor and adjust the battery’s status.

The XC60 PHEV can be driven in EV-only mode for up to 49 miles which is more than the average daily commute and then there is the petrol engine when longer journeys are necessary.

The excellent suspension system smooths out any road undulations and occupants are well protected from engine, road surface or wind noise thanks to the effective insulation set-up.

Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD

Space & Practicality

The Volvo XC60 is a family SUV that still maintains great styling. It stretches 4,708mm in length, is 2,117mm wide (including mirrors), 1,656mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,865mm.

There is bundles of space up front and the powered seats, along with ample steering wheel adjustment, make it quick and easy to find a comfortable driving position. These seats, as well as the steering wheel, can also be heated along with the outer rear seats.

In the back, three passengers can fit albeit a little snuggly and the middle occupant will have to straddle a quite large transmission tunnel. It is perfect for two adults though or three youngsters.

The boot is accessed via a wide-opening and powered tailgate and it can swallow 613 litres of luggage, a capacity that increases to a generous 1,410 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. There are hooks and a large netted section to help secure items and stop them rolling around.

Inside the cabin, extra storage facilities include a glovebox, central cubby, door bins with partitions, a wireless charging pad, front and rear cup holders, plus seat back nets.

With its very capable all-wheel drive, the XC60 can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 2.25 tonnes and when it comes to charging the 18.8kWh (14.7kWh useable) battery, a 0-100 per cent boost takes. approximately five hours.

Ownership

Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD

Running Costs

The Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid line-up costs from £56,030 for the T6 AWD model in entry-level Core specification and rises to £69,385 for the T8 AWD model in range-topping Ultra grade. The petrol-powered XC60 vehicles are cheaper with an entry price of £47,560 and increasing to £62,565.

Our test car, the XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD in Plus grade, was priced at £60,055 although the addition of a retractable towbar, 20-inch, six-spoke alloys and metallic paint saw the final cost creep up to £62,900.

The official WLTP-tested fuel efficiency figure is a whopping 217.0-313.4mpg, but like all plug-in hybrids, owners would only see anything fractionally close to that economy if the car’s battery was kept regularly charged and full use was made of the EV-only range of up to 49 miles.

But there are financial advantages to be gained by choosing the XC60 PHEV over the petrol-driven model. For example, its low carbon emissions figure of 23g/km means owners will be exempt from any road tax bill for the first year and it will be at the reduced cost for hybrid models of £170 from then onwards.

However, the initial cost of the car has its drawbacks. That’s because it exceeds the government’s premium car levy of £40,000 meaning owners will need to pay an extra £390 for five years starting from year two.

And for anyone weighing up the XC60 Recharge PHEV T6 as a company car, it boasts an attractive eight per cent Benefit in Kind tax rating.

Verdict

Volvo XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD

With more than two million global sales, there’s no denying the success and appeal of the Volvo XC60, but the Swedish carmaker is always looking at ways to improve the vehicle and customer buying experience.

In 2022 a new naming structure was announced to simplify the line-up choice and more recently larger battery packs have been introduced which, in turn, increases the EV-only driving range.

And, as is the Volvo way, the vehicle is packed with the most comprehensive list of safety features and driver assistance aids imaginable in a bid to reduce the risk of injury to occupants and other road users alike.

All in all, the Volvo XC60 is certainly moving with the times but not at such a rapid pace to scare away its loyal fanbase.

By Maxine Ashford
Jan 10, 2024

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