By Bill McCarthy
ONE of the mainstays of the excellent Volvo range is the XC60, which sits right at the heart of the firm’s electrification strategy and is good enough to challenge anything in its segment of the market.
Revamped last year, it now features three plug-in hybrid and four mild-hybrid powertrain options, with front and, in this case, all-wheel drive options. Safety features have also been upgraded to include rear auto brake to help avoid reversing scrapes and updated Pilot Assist, now with emergency stop assist function.
Although classed as a mid-sized SUV, it is a big car in size, in terms of technological innovation and yes, it has a pretty big price tag as well. But you get what you pay for and with this Volvo you get plenty.
The revamp saw tweaks to the front and rear design of the car together with new alloy wheel designs. Changes include new front grille, new lower front bumper and air intakes, and a refresh of the lower rear bumper. A familiar feature remains and that is the signature ‘Thor’s hammer’ light design, the LEDs built into the front light clusters in the shape of the Norse god’s hammer.
What previously would be a key design feature, exhaust pipes, have now been hidden, in a nod to the firm’s journey to full electrification.
The interior quality is exceptional with soft-touch materials throughout, powered and heated leather seats which are firm and supportive and a large glass areas. There is good leg and headroom all round.
Features include two-zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors, electric windows and door mirrors, parking camera, head-up display in the windscreen and heated steering wheel.
The controls are dominated by the now-familiar tablet-style nine-inch screen which controls major functions like the Android-powered infotainment system, which provides built-in Google apps and services and features include navigation with Google Maps, voice recognition with Google Assistant and access to the Google Play Store for in-car apps. Like a tablet you can pinch and swipe to select various controls and apps.
This plug-in hybrid Recharge version has recently been upgraded and offers blistering pace, but also with the combination of a 254bhp petrol engine and 87bhp electric motor delivering, literally, electric performance.
It powers to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. But the revised hybrid combination now extends electric range while lowering CO2 emissions, with a projected electric range of 55 miles.
To achieve anywhere near this takes careful driving, but Volvo says that with the average premium car owner travelling less than 30 miles each weekday, most drivers with home charging will be able do their daily motoring on pure electric power.
It is an engaging drive, Even at high speed, engine and road noise is muted, with just a hint of wind noise on the large, folding door mirrors, while the firmish suspension means tight, twisty lanes are dismissed with ease.
There is negligible body roll and the on-demand all-wheel drive is perfect for rougher terrain or inclement weather condition.
As an SUV it has to be practical and boot space is decent with 468 litres, while the 60/40 split folding rear seats open up to 1,395 litres. It also features power-operated tailgate with a kick action facility.
Like all Volvos it is packed with safety kit including a full complement of airbags and stability and traction controls and a host of other, driver and pedestrian safety technology.
Volvo XC60 Inscription T6 Recharge
Mechanical: 350bhp via 1,969cc four-cylinder petrol engine and 65kw electric motor driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 5.6 seconds
Insurance group: 42
Combined mpg: 100-113
CO2 emissions: 55-64g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles