Volvo’s Gorgeous XC 60 Hybrid T8 has it all…

Running Costs...%

Including the long name and price tag to match but more on that later. The very first XC60 was Volvo’s  biggest seller and this latest model has continued where the original started. And Volvo have now upped the style stakes with it’s XC60 Recharge T8 Plug-in hybrid. It’s a very high brow plug-in hybrid SUV offering 52 Kms of electric range in combination with a twin-turbocharged Petrol engine. That petrol engine and electric motor combined give the XC60 405 HP.

Special mention : Amazing looks, road presence, cabin refinement, comfort, styling, ability to manually adjust dampers.

Needs work :  The price is very niche but for the sheer amount of car you get for it. PHEV engines always have a little coarseness to them. You haveto pay extra for Apple Carplay / Android Auto.

Specs: As tested

Max Power 405 HPPetrol / Hybrid
0-100 km/h in 5.3 secondsRoad Tax €170

XC60 – €53,850
XC60 Recharge T8 Plug-in hybrid – €80,527.00
XC60 Polestar Engineered – €88,978.00

Boot 468-1,395 litres

July was a record breaking month for EV registrations in Europe, with volume up 131% to 230,700 year from 2019. Yet some are still only willing to dip a toe in the EV waters. This is where Hybrids step in, it gives consumers a place to start their EV journey if they’re slightly unsure of going the whole hog. Since Volco announced they were phasing out their Diesel engines, they’ve developed quite the PHEV line up, including the XC60 Recharge T8 Plug-in hybrid.

In terms of styling, if you like Volvo’s current lineup, then you are certainly not going to be disappointed by the XC60 (to be referred to here on in as Polestar to make all our lives a little easier!). This car shares its underpinnings with the bigger XC90, however, and it’s not immediately obvious, this is slightly shorter. The XC60 Polestar is all about the ultimate luxury experience which is what you’d expect given that it starts at €80,527. This is in keeping with it’s rivals including BMW’s X5 XDrive 45e and the Range Rover Sport P 400e.

It’s easy enough to plug in the XC60 Polestar from the front wing on the passenger side, opening with a satisfying push of the flap. You may need to pay extra for the type II public charging cable to plug the Volvo into any public car charge point. You can get a full charge into the XC60 10 kw/h battery in around about three hours while a normal domestic three pin socket, for which you get the cable as standard.

Once you’re charged up and on the move the XC60 Polestar is an absolute joy to drive, it’s incredibly smooth, really quiet and very relaxed. Of course it has all the drive modes that you could want via a rolling selector down by your left hand which makes it easy to access. Put it in pure mode and you get the all electric powertrain. During real-world every day use, you get very close to Volvo’s claimed figure. If you’re around town quite a lot you should get 50kms quite easily which is really impressive. Interestingly the electric motor is on the rear axle so when it’s in electric mode it’s actually in rear-wheel drive mode.

Otherwise the XC60 Polestar is four-wheel drive and is really very good in sport mode. It’s quite a powerful car and when you floor it, it really moves. It handles brilliantly and is very enjoyable to drive. You can also save using the economy mode and you can charge up the battery using the petrol engine (but this will use up fuel of course….swings and roundabouts). But if you keep those batteries topped up and if you do a lot of short journeys then you could be looking at virtual fuel free motoring.

The interior is definitely a highlight of this car, from the matching seat belts to your ever so powerful disc brakes, to the little details like the Swedish flag subtly imprinted on the seats, there are so many nice touches it’s hard to know where to start.

The fit and finish inside the cabin is top-notch, Volvo can certainly count itself among the best in the business here and the reason this is so impressive is that it’s as elegant as the bigger and more expensive XC90. There are some really well thought out details throughout the cabin, from the metal trim, the quality of materials on the dashboard and throughout the cabin. The XC60 has that tall commanding driving position that SUVs are known for, there is plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and in the seat to fine-tune your driving position to get comfortable. All seats have electric height adjustment but on lesser optioned cars, you’ll have to manually move them forwards and change the angle of the backrest as well.

Visibility is excellent, the thin pillars on each side don’t get in the way at junctions, big windows, big door mirrors and massive side windows all go towards being able to keep an eye on things. You get front and rear parking sensors as standard but you can also get a reversing camera and a brilliant 360 degree bird’s-eye view camera which shows you the car & it’s surroundings from above. 

You can also get Pilot Assist parking which is Volvo’s semi autonomous system which can help steer you into tight supermarket spaces or parallel park the car for you. Also available, the on board tech includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pilot Assist and Distance Alert, IntelliSafe Assist which allows smooth driving from standstill up to motorway speeds. Adaptive Cruise Control automatically helps you keep a set speed and distance to the vehicle in front, while Pilot Assist adds gentle steering support to help keep the car centred in its lane. If you’ve disengaged Adaptive Cruise Control, Distance Alert helps you keep a proper distance to vehicles in front and alerts with a warning light in the optional head-up display if you come too close.

There are modern digital dials as standard which are minimalist and slick, compared to Audi’s which has a higher level of customization and a bit more flexibility. In the Volvo there are lots of features hidden within the infotainment system.  At first glance Volvo’s sensor system has the appearance of a sharp-looking tablet style 9” touchscreen with swipeable menus like an iPad. In practice it takes a little time to react to commands. This is compounded with numerous menu layers and small icons which can be distracting to use on the move. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are an extra even though it does have voice control, Audi’s MMI system and BMWs iDrive are a little easier to use due to the rotary dial control.

As for the space up front, you have an abundance, the storage on offer is very good with large cubby holes, compartments which are nicely hidden, the usual cup holders and a spot for the key and it’s a nice touch that you have the option to cover them up which lends a sleek and elegant air to the overall interior.

The back is just as impressive as up front. With the optional panoramic sunroof providing a light and airy cabin, with lots of head and leg room. Your passengers can stretch out pretty comfortably and there’s loads of space for your feet under the drivers seat too. It’s a wide car that three adults can sit in side by side. If you get stung with the middle seat you’ve got to share space with the transmission tunnel. Overall very spacious and comfortable in the back for your passengers.

The rear seats split 60/40 and they can be dropped at the touch of a button if you fork out for the optional convenience pack which saves you the job of pulling the manual levers but it’s a shame the seat backs aren’t split in a 40/20/40 layout similar to that on a Q5 and Discovery Sport. There’s also around 10% less space on offer in the back and the twin engine does lose out on a bit of boot space to those batteries over standard XC60 models.

The T8 plug-in hybrid has the lowest Co2 emissions in the lineup which results in lower tax which will save you money in fuel when you make the effort and use its electric range.  Once the battery is empty, it’s less efficient.

On large premium SUV rivals you can find some of the most advanced safety features in the class and in the XC60 safety experts gave it the full 5 NCAP stars, with a brilliant 98% for adult occupant safety. Automatic emergency braking is standard on all trims and it can even help you swerve around obstacles and back onto the correct side of the road. Blind spot monitoring is as part of the pack that includes adaptive cruise control. 

If you’re looking for something that’s extremely stylish, economic to move around the city in and travel the motorway with, then the XC60 is perfect. It’s classy,  roomy and well equipped, and compared to its rivals, it’s a strong stand out choice. The XC60 Polestar has great presence on the road which we liked very much, but for the next revision we’d like to see rapid charging and a standard public charging cable added. Overall it is a gorgeous car and one of the best luxury plug-in hybrid SUV’s at this price.