Volvo’s Stunning New XC60 T8 Hybrid SUV

 

Volvo’s very first production car rolled off their Gothenburg assembly line in 1927 and in the 91 years since, Volvo has gone on to become one of the most well-known and respected car companies in the world. Volvo have produced some incredible cars over the last 9 decades, but no more so than in the last few years.

The Volvo XC60 T8 Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid, or as Volvo calls it, a “Twin Engine” SUV. This isn’t Volvo’s first plug-in hybrid as in the past there was the V60 D5 and D6 estates and, more recently, the XC90 T8. The new XC60’s underpinnings and powertrain set-up are near enough identical to its big brother, the XC90. The XC60 offers 5 seats as opposed to the XC90’s 7-seat layout.

To me the attraction of a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) is the ability to experience full electric motoring without having to worry about range anxiety, thanks to the presence of a conventional internal combustion engine.

The new Volvo XC60 T8 Hybrid has a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine (that’s both supercharged and turbocharged) which drives the front wheels and produces 314bhp. An 86bhp electric motor then drives the rear wheels for a total combined tally of 400bhp (407PS), while a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox changes gear ratios seamlessly and serenely. The XC60 T8 Hybrid’s motor gets its power from a 9.2kWh Lithium-Ion Battery and can travel up to 45km on pure electric alone. Once connected to a fast charger the XC60 T8 Hybrid can be recharged in approximately 3 hours. The ESB can install a regular 3kw/h e-car home charger to a domestic dwelling and, depending on your electricity supplier, the cost can range from 13 cent to 17 cent per kw/h.

The new XC60’s head-turning styling comes courtesy of its long bonnet, muscular wheel arches and short overhangs which create a sense of refined strength. T-shaped (Thor’s Hammer) LED headlights define the new XC60 and give it a strong identity, while the interior fit and finish is second to none. Interacting with the cars infotainment system is a simple exercise, as the centre display with touch-screen has been designed to be intuitive and natural to use. Navigation and entertainment systems are all just a touch – or voice command – away.

My test car was a new Volvo XC60 T8 Hybrid Inscription model finished in Denim Blue metallic paint. Thanks to the 400bhp on offer, the obligatory 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in just 5.2 seconds. Volvo claim that fuel consumption as low as 2.1L/100km (up to 134.5MPG) is possible when the twin engines of the XC60 T8 Hybrid are used in the way they were designed to work. Thanks to emissions of just 49g/km, annual road tax is just €170.

Volvo’s corporate and brand strategy “Designed Around You” puts the Volvo driver and passengers at the core and is a foundation for the business, the products and the corporate culture. I was extremely impressed by how much the new XC60 has to offer its occupants in terms of safety, comfort, practicality, security, technology and engineering prowess – leading me to believe fully in Volvo’s brand strategy.

The cabin of the new XC60 is a glorious place to spend time. The seats are a work of art, hugging the body nicely and providing sufficient support for longer journeys. There are plenty of storage areas while a centre rear armrest folds down to offer dual cup-holders and storage for loose items. It also reveals a ski port through to the 505-litre cargo area. Second row leg and headroom is surprisingly good. I found that with the driver or front passenger seat in its furthest setting there was plenty of room to climb in and get comfortable.

Like all plug-in hybrids, the XC60 T8 has different driving modes to choose from. The two most frequently used are sure to be ‘Hybrid’, which is the auto mode where you drive as you please and the car provides the power source to match, and ‘Pure’, which favours electric-only as much as possible. Other options include ‘Power’ (for an immediate combination of petrol and electric power), Off Road and AWD (All Wheel Drive). When you first drive off in the XC60 T8, the car defaults to hybrid mode for maximum efficiency.

As with all Volvo cars and SUV’s, safety comes as standard. The XC60 comes with one of the most comprehensive standard safety specifications available in the segment, including Collision Mitigation Support, which offers a range of collision avoidance and mitigation functionalities including pedestrian and cyclist detection. Steer Assist has been added to Volvo’s ground-breaking City Safety System. A new system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation uses Steer Assist to help mitigate head-on collisions, while Volvo’s Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS) now uses Steer Assist functionality to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions.

Last year, Volvo launched the new XC60 premium SUV to widespread acclaim, and regular readers will know how impressed I was by the new XC60 (diesel powered) Inscription and R-Design models I reviewed at the time. Every area of the new XC60 impressed me very much – from its handsome styling, spaciousness, potent engines, excellent cabin design, superior build quality and huge standard specification to its extreme comfort and confidence-inspiring safety features. The new XC60 T8 Hybrid now raises the bar even further.

Three trim levels are available in the new XC60 T8 Hybrid – Momentum, R-Design and Inscription. Standard specification is spectacular no matter which model you choose. Prices start at €69,950 for the Momentum specification, €73,450 for the sporty R-Design and €75,750 in Inscription guise. However, if you buy a new XC60 T8 Hybrid you will receive a VRT rebate of €2,500 on top of a SEAI grant of €5,000 for private customers or €3,800 for business users. This makes a considerable difference to the list prices quoted above and makes the XC60 T8 Hybrid a tempting proposition indeed. The new Volvo XC60 range is available from just €51,950 (ex-works).