CAR REVIEW: Volvo XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid
The Volvo XC60 is crammed full of the latest tech - boasting intelligent design at every turn.
This mid-size SUV has upped its game and is now an even more well-rounded package than before.
Central to the changes is an improved plug-in hybrid powertrain that includes a new battery, with capacity boosted from 11.6kWh to 18.8kWh and a more powerful rear electric motor.
That makes for a total output of 350hp in the T6 Recharge version, tested here, with the sprint to 62mph taking less than six seconds.
The electric-only range has also increased, from 33 miles to 49 miles, while one-pedal driving has also been introduced.
The switch from electric to petrol power is smooth and almost goes unnoticed.
With its sprightly turn of pace and superb economy figures, the T6 strikes a nice balance between refinement and performance.
When it comes to drive modes, there are no fewer than five options from which to choose - with the car starting on ‘hybrid’ as its default setting to optimise driving dynamics, fuel consumption and efficiency in all types of daily driving.
Through the central nine-inch touchscreen, you can select ‘power’, which enhances steering and suspension feedback to provide a sportier drive.
Opting for ‘pure’ mode will give you a stint of all-electric driving, so long as the vehicle is sufficiently charged.
If the going gets tough, then ‘off-road’ mode is available, reducing steering effort and activating hill descent control for driving over rough terrain at low speed.
During the recent heavy snow, I made regular use of the ‘Constant AWD’ mode, with continuous power distribution to all four wheels. This gave the car superb traction and allowed me to stay mobile when other vehicles were struggling in the slippery conditions.
Inevitably, selecting permanent all-wheel drive increases energy consumption.
The driver can also manage use of the battery through three options - auto, hold and charge.
Comfort levels are high, with features such as the heated seats and heated steering wheel proving useful during the recent wintry conditions. Even the backseat passengers benefit from heated seats.
The cabin has a beautiful uniformity, with subtle silver stitching on the door inlays, seats, central armrest offering a coordinated look.
A strip of eye-catching silver detailing sweeps across the lower dash, swerving below the central console, which is seamlessly integrated.
The seats are both comfortable and supportive, with oceans of space for front and rear occupants to spread out. Both front seats are electronically adjustable, eight ways.
Volvo’s tie-up with Google means Google Maps is accessible directly on the touchscreen, also working with voice control.
The central screen allows access to a wide array of features, including Bluetooth Media Player, Google Play Books, Radioplayer, Blootooth phone connectivity, AppleCarPlay, Google Assistant and Play Store.
You can even bring up a digital version of the owner’s manual on the central screen, which is interactive and allows you to click on the various interior features for a full explanation of what they do.
There’s also a button that allows you to see the air quality in the area where you’re driving. The app sends the current car location to Volvo Cars cloud, which returns pollen and pollutant data for the surrounding area.
There’s no shortage of decent storage space for oddments, with deep pockets in the inside of the front doors, a central space for two cups, a large lid which forms the central armrest but has a storage area beneath it, and a generously sized glove box.
All things considered, it’s a tremendous all-round package to suit eco-minded customers who also enjoy an element of luxury.
XC60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD Plus
ENGINE: 2-0-litre turbo petrol plus electric – 350hp
ECONOMY: 217.0-282.1mpg and 23-30g/km
ELECTRIC RANGE: Up to 49 miles on WLTP 0-62mph - 5.7sec
TRANSMISSION: Automatic and selectable
AWD PRICE: £60,550 on the road