VOLVO XC60 RECHARGE: putting the P in Premium

THERE’S a widely-held view (in our household, anyway) that says you’re safer in a modern day Volvo than going for a walk with the Green Cross Code man.

This is a car that has to rank among the most family-friendly and superbly finished of vehicles, and a shoe in for anyone who wants to buy into Volvo’s enviable safety reputation but doesn’t feel the need to go full out with its bigger XC90 stablemate.

In fact, the overall quality is probably the most noticeable feature as you slip inside.

There is just nothing at all shoddy about the way a modern day Volvo is put together. Everything shuts with a reassuring clunk and the dash area, seat covering and plastics used all exude one thing – quality. A buffed and polished Premium feel.

When it comes to comfort, it has few peers, and that comfort extends not just from the supportive seats but to the amount of space that each of the five passengers has to themselves.

It’s based on the same underpinnings as the car maker’s XC90 flagship SUV. The XC60 is shorter, several thousand pounds cheaper, and comes with only five seats instead of seven.

There are two plug in hybrids that fall under the ‘Recharge’ banner. T6 sampled here has a very respectable 345bhp, a claimed electric only range of around 48 miles, and a sub-six second 0-62mph time.

The electric motor has enough grunt to get you up to motorway speeds without calling on the engine. Plus there’s regenerative braking on the plug-in hybrids. That makes the car slow down from the moment you take your foot off the accelerator.

You’re vaguely aware of a faint rumble from the hugely impressive powertrain with its petrol/electric mix in this T6 AWD version, but it is well suppressed. The only noise you might encounter is the wind over the door mirrors at cruising speed.

Sitting proudly in the middle of the dash is Volvo’s big nine inch infotainment screen, in portrait rather than landscape form, housing all your necessary information at the touch of the screen.

The standard digital instruments are clear and dashboard buttons are kept to a minimum, but the only problem minimalism brings to the game is that most of the functions are within the touchscreen, so you have to take your eyes off the road to hit its small icons.

Every XC60 comes equipped with front and rear parking sensors, and a rear-view camera, making it easier to manoeuvre the car’s considerable bulk into tight parking spaces. Models in Plus trim and above also get a 360-degree bird’s eye view camera so you shouldn’t hit a thing…

Volvo’s erstwhile reputation as the manufacturer of spacious vehicles with the aerodynamic qualities of a breeze block took a severe dent when the stylists woke up some years back.

The XC60 makes sure that reputation has been banished forever – premium pricetag, yes, but very much the epitome of the premium car..


Volvo XC60 Recharge T6 AWD plug in hybrid

Price: £60,550 (£63,235 as tested)
Engine: 2.0 litre, four cylinder, petrol with 18.8kWh battery
Power: 350bhp
Torque: 258lb/ft
Transmission: automatic
Top speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
Economy: 282.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 30g/km

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