Volvo XC60 Hybrid Review
Volvo XC60 PHEV feels extremely safe and luxurious, but you’ll need to charge it up a lot if you’re to enjoy cheap running costs.
What's not so good
Volvo XC60 Hybrid: what would you like to read next?
Modern SUVs such as the Volvo XC60 Recharge are a bit like an automotive Leatherman with a torch; they need to adapt to everything, and they also offer a bit of electrical trickery.
Business trip, a school run, a shopping jaunt to the centre of town. Tick. Want to feel relaxed and just a little bit cool? Tick. Taking stuff to the tip? Tick. Probably best to head for your nearest Volvo showroom then, especially since the XC60 Recharge also comes with running costs that could end up being lower than many rivals’
Unlike the predictable-looking Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC, the XC60 Recharge cuts a real dash with its Thor’s hammer-style headlights (yes, that’s really what Volvo calls them), a swept-back windscreen and distinctive hook-shaped rear lights.
Inside, you’ll find a comfortable, stylish and understated interior. It’s all very minimalist – a bit like Swedish furniture – so there aren’t any unsightly buttons cluttering up the place. Instead, you control most of the XC60 Recharge’s features through its central touchscreen.
Unfortunately, while this display might look like something you’d use to order a G&T in a swanky cocktail bar, it isn’t quite as easy to use as the BMW X3’s more intuitive system with its old-fashioned rotary dial.
Getting comfortable in the driving seat, meanwhile, is a simple affair. More expensive versions of the XC60 Recharge get exceedingly comfortable memory electric seats, so you only have to set it up once. Things are very comfy in the back seats as well – there’s enough space for three adults to sit side-by-side with a decent amount of shoulder room to go round.
Looks pretty cool, both on the outside and in the interior, but you'll need to shell out quite a bit for this plug-in model.
The boot’s pretty roomy, too, with enough space for a family’s luggage or a large bike if you flip the back seats down. However, if you’re after outright capacity, the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC can both hold more than the XC60 Recharge.
ATthe XC60 Recharge is powered by a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine backed up by an electric motor driving all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There’s a T6 version that produces 340hp, and a T8 model that generates 390hp. Both can hit 62mph comfortably less than six seconds after setting off, and both are limited to 112mph, so they’re quick.
Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid range and charging
They’re also economical — you’ll be able to drive up to 32 miles on electricity alone, with CO2 emissions as low as 55g/km when the engine is in use. They’ll also do a claimed 113mpg, but if you’re to get anywhere near this figure you’ll have to make sure you plug in your XC60 Recharge every time you park it. When you do charge it, expect to take between three to eight hours to get to a full charge. The time varies depending on the charger you use and how much power is left in the batteries when you start to charge up.
Driving the XC60 Recharge is relaxing above all else. Sure, it isn’t as entertaining down a twisty road as some sportier alternatives and it’s a little bumpy in town (especially with larger alloy wheels fitted) but, at motorway speed, the XC60 Recharge’s is simply so cosseting that you tend to feel less tired at the end of your journey. It’s even better with optional air suspension fitted.
It’s good news when it comes to equipment, too – all XC60 Recharges get a plethora of safety systems and while some, such as the emergency auto braking, are pretty common these days, others (such as seat bases specifically designed to take a vertical impact should you veer off the road) show how much Volvo thinks about safety.
If all this sounds like your sort of SUV, see how much you could save by checking out our Volvo XC60 Recharge deals.
There’s loads of leg and head room for everyone, but centre rear passenger gets the short straw.
The Volvo XC60 Recharge’s seats are some of the most comfortable and supportive in the business. Those in the front come with heating and four-way lumbar support as standard – to help prevent backache on long journeys – and there’s more than enough adjustment to get comfortable if you’re over six-foot tall.
Regularly lend your car to someone else? You might want to consider the optional memory function for the driver’s seat (standard on all Pro models). It’ll automatically return the seat and door mirrors to your preferred positions at the press of a button.
The back seats are nearly as comfortable as those in the front and there’s loads of headroom to go round – even with the optional panoramic glass sunroof fitted. Rear knee room is just as generous and the XC60 Recharge’s light-coloured interior and large side windows make it feel impressively airy in the back.
The wide cabin means there’s slightly more shoulder room than you’ll find in an Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC but the rather tall lump in the rear floor limits foot space if you carry three abreast. The central rear perch is harder and higher than the outer two seats, too, but has enough cushioning to make it fairly comfortable – even on long journeys.
The Volvo XC60 Recharge isn’t offered with sliding and reclining rear seats or a third row in the boot like a Land Rover Discovery Sport, but its rear door openings and clearly marked Isofix mounts make it easy to slide in a child seat. That said, there aren’t any anchor points on the central rear seat or the front passenger seat.
Volvo has managed to sneak in a few handy cubby holes in places you might not expect. There’s a small pigeonhole under the rear seats that’s big enough for a large purse or a small bag, and the central storage bin under the front armrest is large enough to store numerous valuables safely out of sight.
The front door bins in the Volvo XC60 Recharge are large enough to hold two one-litre bottles each and there’s a handy tray beside the gear lever with a pair of concealed cupholders. The rather shallow slot ahead of the gear lever is big enough to hold a large smartphone but not deep enough to stop it sliding out if you take a roundabout a little too quickly.
Flip down the rear armrest and there’s a handy storage tray and two fold-out cupholders. The rear door bins are pretty spacious, too – if not quite as roomy as those in the front.
The Volvo XC60 Recharge has 468 litres of boot space – that’s about the same as the 465-litre boot in the Audi Q5 TFSI e.
If you need more space, the XC60 Recharge’s rear seats fold in a 60:40 split as standard but there’s no option to upgrade to a three-way 40:20:40 split. All models do come with a handy ski hatch behind the rear armrest that’ll let you carry long items and two rear passengers at the same time, however.
Volvo offers a Convenience pack that comes with a set of buttons in the boot that’ll automatically fold down the rear seats for you. This package also adds a handy 12V socket in the boot, a cargo net to stop things rolling around in the back and a 230V three-pin socket in the centre console.
The Volvo XC60 Recharge’s boot grows to 1,410 litres with the rear seats folded flat – again that’s about the same as the 1,405-litre Q5. The Volvo’s boot floor is, however, completely flat and there’s no annoying boot lip to lift heavy luggage over – as a result, sliding bulky items on board is a breeze.
There’s even a handy plastic sheet that folds out from under the boot carpet to help protect the rear bumper from scratches and scrapes as you lug stuff into the boot. A powered bootlid is standard on all models, and if you go for the optional adaptive air suspension you’ll get a button in the boot that’ll lower the rear suspension by 20mm to help you load heavy boxes.
Combination of petrol and electric power gives the XC60 real pace, but make sure you remember to plug it in.
The sportier end of the Volvo XC60 Recharge range is covered by the plug-in hybrid T6 and T8.
The T6 has a 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor combination that generates 340hp, and can cover the 0-62mph dash in 5.6 seconds.
As for the T8, the 390hp produced by its 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor means it can rocket from 0-62mph in just 5.2 seconds. That’s serious sports car territory in a comfortable and stylish SUV.
For even more go (and more cash) there’s a Polestar Engineered version of the XC60 Recharge. This uses the same engine configuration as the T8 plug-in hybrid but gets beefier looks and tweaks to make it feel more agile on twisty roads.
Matching the T8’s claimed 113mpg economy figure will be nearly impossible, even with a light right foot. What’s more achievable, however, is its 32-mile electric range – if you live just a short distance from work you can commute using electric power alone, that is. This model is exempt from the London Congestion Charge, too, making it an attractive proposition if you regularly commute into the capital.
The Volvo XC60 Recharge doesn’t have quite the same raised driving position as the larger XC90 but it’s 30cm shorter and slightly easier to drive around town. The fairly slim door pillars don’t produce large blind spots at junctions and the large side windows make it easy to glance over your shoulder to check for overtaking traffic on the motorway.
A 360-degree camera is available as an option that’ll help make navigating through tight city streets a little less stressful while the park assist feature – which can steer you into parallel and bay parking spaces – is worth having if you do lots of city driving.
Speaking of which, the Volvo XC60 Recharge isn’t quite as comfortable as the Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC over potholed roads – especially with the larger 21-inch wheels fitted – but you can pay extra to get adaptive air suspension to help smooth out bigger bumps. This feature will set you back quite a bit on all but R Design Pro and Inscription Pro models (where it’s fitted as standard) but it makes the XC60 Recharge very nearly as relaxing to drive as the silky smooth Q5.
The upgraded suspension comes with the option to raise the XC60 Recharge’s ride height by 40mm if you decide to head off the beaten track. A Land Rover Discovery Sport will leave the stylish Volvo for dead on any particularly challenging terrain, however.
Keep your activities on the road, however, and the XC60 Recharge’s nicer to drive than the softly sprung Discovery Sport. It doesn’t lean excessively in tight corners and has plenty of grip. Even so, and Audi Q5 ultimately feels more agile again.
The Volvo XC60 Recharge can even drive itself on motorways for brief periods when fitted with the optional Pilot Assist – providing you keep your hands resting on the wheel – and can automatically adjust its speed to match other vehicles. It also comes with a vast array of advanced active safety features that’ll guide you around obstacles and brake for you to help avoid a collision.
Look modern and cool, and is full of neat tech, but the infotainment can be a bit clunky.