Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld
Volvo XC60 Recharge
Updated: Feb 13
This week we are reviewing the Volvo XC60 Recharge. Our vehicle was assembled at the Chengdu plant in China with an MSRP of CAD $89,575.00.
Fun Factor: 8
The updated XC60 comes with a few upgrades; some are under the hood, and others enhance the performance of the electric motor, resulting in better electric range. Acceleration is smoother and optimized to work with the electric engine. In the past, everything felt a little wonky when the electric motor pushed forward; the supercharger started to work before power was transferred to the turbocharger. We had seen Volvo start working on a smoother transition when we tested the Volvo S90 Recharge.
The total output has increased to 455hp and a staggering 523 lb-ft of torque; this allows the vehicle to accelerate to 4.5 seconds from the 6.25 it had when we tested the XC60 Polestar engineered. The main improvement comes from the electric engine that sits on the rear axle. While the previous 89hp electric engine was sufficient, the updated 143 hp gets the car moving without effort. The number might not sound like much, but the magic number here is the electric engine's 228 lb-ft of instant torque, which makes this painless for the XC60.
Besides the performance, the ride was exemplary, thanks to the optional 4-corner air suspension that changes the handling characteristics over bumps. It also provides a tighter and more reassuring ride than other luxury plugin hybrids. Something that made us uncomfortable when testing the BMW X5 45e. Where the balance was easily upset around corners, this isn't the case with the XC60; it helps that the battery packs are not all shuffled in one spot. Volvo has maximized the space dedicated to the transmission; to place the battery. Volvo may have beaten BMW at its own game regarding driving enjoyment too. The XC60 is oriented toward the enthusiast since the vehicle is rear-wheel driven.
Can it Family: 10
Seating is excellent; Volvo is renowned for its comfortable and well-bolstered seats. In this case, it doesn't translate into a sofa-like experience; Volvo found the middle ground where you can have hugging seats that will follow you in all driving environments. The rear seats were comfortable for our children; only the central tunnel took away some of the middle passenger's legroom. However, less since the rear bench is positioned higher than in the V60. The rear seats fold in a 40/20/40 fashion, giving flexibility on the number of passengers and cargo space required. The trunk is quite massive, and we were able to fit a Thule chariot to continue the Swedish heritage within the vehicle.
The average fuel economy was 3.3L/100km, with temperatures oscillating between -10c and +10c during our test. The maximum electric range was 63km. Volvo announced 58km, which we only saw when temperatures dipped below 0c. Once the battery ran out of juice, we observed 8.5L/100km fuel economy, which aligns with what Volvo announced.
The XC60 is fantastic on the HWY, starting with the adaptive cruise control that nicely hugs the road; it also decelerates well and softly when traffic slows down. We never felt the vehicle needed to be more attentive to the traffic around us. In EV mode, the cabin is quiet and relaxing, shielding us from exterior noises even when stuck in traffic. The now heated front emblem hides all the security features packed inside this XC60 T8 making these features more usable during the winter, avoiding false alarms or the system malfunctioning during lousy weather.
The Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System is our favourite sound system in the industry. While this system is optional on different Volvo products, it comes standard in the XC60 Polestar Engineered variant. As we have pointed out before, the sound is so crisp; it would fulfill any audiophile's dreams. It has 15 high-end speakers with a total output of 1100W. The XC60 now uses Google for its infotainment; strangely, we also tested the Volvo S60 the following week, which had the Sensus infotainment. In comparison, certain features of the Google system give it an effortless flow with common apps. Such as Google maps, available directly in the cluster freeing up the screen for apps such as your music. On the flip side, adjusting the head-up display, which took two steps, now takes 4, hidden in a sub-menu and making it impossible to change while driving. One of the improvements we hoped for became a reality; wireless charging. We would still like to see; Apple Car Play and Android Auto connected remotely without a USB cable.
Installation of car seats is effortless as the ISOFIX ports hide behind a latch door that parents can operate by lifting. The ISOFIX ports are accessible, and attaching the car seat is straightforward. The only hiccup we saw was that connecting the child seat using the anchor hook needs to go over the headrest as the space under the headrest is too small. As for smaller kids getting into the back seats, they will not have any issues opening the door handle.
City Cruising: 9
Finally, the XC60 shines in the city with its dual motors; the hybrid system will be the most efficient. Especially while driving in stop-and-go traffic, it can recuperate most of the lost energy back into the battery. While shifting your gear lever from D to B gear, it harnesses the electric engine braking power. Parking was quite simple as steering became light at slow speeds additionally. The 360-degree camera effectively makes sure you see everything around the vehicle. If you need a helping hand, the XC60 will do the parking for you, even in the tightest parking spots.
Why would we buy the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge, or what we liked about it?
As a package, this has been one of our favourite vehicles as it mixes luxury and sportiness, offers alternative propulsion, and helps reduce overall operating costs. The clean lines of the interior design; the relaxing driving experience. The 58km announced range is attainable. The additional power provided makes driving in electric a joy, primarily since it drives the rear wheels.
Why would we not buy the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge, or what did we not like about it?
The heating wasn't functional when driving on pure electric power; the ventilation worked, but the air was not warm. Luckily the heated seats and steering wheel kept us warm. The vehicle still doesn't have wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, which Volvo announced will come to Volvo vehicles. The question is how long it will take before they implement it.
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