XC60 T8 Twin Engine Inscription Pro
purchase or pass?
a Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid
talking about, then purchase
it will surely be...
AND NOT BECAUSE of its 390hp and headline-grabbing 122.8mpg. Sure, 390hp
is a powerful number although, unless you are able to commute in pure electric
mode for less than 28 miles between charging posts, you're more likely to see
30-40mpg. Not that you'll give a hoot though because it's not the T8's 140mph
top speed and 5.5-second 0-62mph sprint that will seduce you, but the way it
glides serenely along at real-world speeds.
Few cars look right from every angle the XC60 is one that does. Styling
an SUV is a tricky business; for a start it rides high and complicating matters
is the physical imperative to serve three masters one who wants friends
and family to have plenty of room; another who needs to load up with lifestyle
stuff such as trail bikes and the like; and a third who must accommodate youngsters
and all the paraphernalia that goes with them.
on the space to satisfy everyone is not so hard but making it look elegant is
the challenge. Run your eyes over the XC60 and, if you're being mindful, you'll
catch yourself nodding because its proportions are perfectly judged and enhanced
by well-considered detailing such as the beautifully fitted tailpipes, eye-catching
high-set L-shaped rear lights framing the tailgate, the sporty rake to its glasshouse
and, at the front, a prominent high-gloss black-and-chrome vertically-barred
grille flanked by 'Thor's hammer' pattern LED lights.
are complicated to build.
Thankfully the end-user
understand a bit of it.
Climb behind the wheel
and the T8 more or less
Most of the time youll
be motoring in hybrid
mode all you need to
do is brake and
accelerate and the
system blends the petrol
and electric power
as necessary to provide
whatever degree of thrust
your right foot has
Power comes in three forms D4/D5, T5, and T8 Twin Engine. All use a four-cylinder
engine with the D sipping diesel and the Ts drinking unleaded. The T8 differs
from its stablemates because running alongside its petrol engine is an electric
motor. Power outputs are: for the turbodiesel units, 190 and 235hp; the T5 petrol
offers 250hp; while the T8 has 303hp (and 295lb ft of torque) plus a further
87hp/177lb ft from its electric motor. Performance-wise the diesels will hit
the benchmark 62mph from standstill in, respectively, 8.4 and 7.2 seconds, the
T5 takes 6.8 and the T8 cuts this down to just 5.5 seconds.
While all-electric cars are comparatively straightforward to build, petrol-electric
hybrids, requiring as they do the seamless integration of an internal combustion
engine and electric motor with rechargeable battery pack technology, are complicated.
For instance, the petrol engine drives the XC60's front wheels and also acts
as a generator for the plug-in battery pack-fed electric motor powering its
rear wheels. Thankfully the end-user that's ordinary folks like you and
me doesn't need to understand a bit of it. Climb behind the wheel and
the T8 more or less runs itself.
Most of the time you'll be motoring in hybrid mode all you need to do
is brake and accelerate and the system blends the petrol and electric power
as necessary to provide whatever degree of thrust your right foot has asked
for. Pure mode, as its name suggests, will do its level best to use electric-only
Alternatively, a 'hold' mode prioritises recharging the battery pack as you
drive while ringfencing the juice so you can use it at a later point in your
journey say, for hushed city cruising. When you're low on charge the
petrol engine also performs a generator role to boost the battery pack. Regenerative
braking recovers energy from the brakes (which is why hybrids are so well suited
to city conditions) and uses it for powering auxiliary functions as well as
recharging the battery.
So far, so easy. Press the engine start button (actually you twist the very
tactile knurled Start knob to the right!), select Drive and the T8 moves off
in pure electric mode in near silence (Buck Rogers-ish at first; infinitely
satisfying every time after that). It will stay in pure-electric mode unless
the battery pack is depleted or you want more urge.
With a plug-in there is none of the range anxiety that's part and parcel of
electric-only systems where a flat battery means 'marooned' in the hybrid
T8 not only can you enjoy stress-free motoring without worrying about running
out of power but you don't have to go easy on the electrical usage, so you can
benefit from the heated seats and steering wheel, freely enjoy the powered backrest
massage functions, and Winter or Summer have the climate control maxed out.
No worries, either, should you run out of battery charge after about
25 miles you will anyway but then the petrol engine will automatically take
over for the rest of your trip. And when you eventually do hook up to a charging
point you don't have to wait forever two and half hours using a fast
charger or three and a half via a domestic three-pin socket.
mentioned earlier, the XC60's front wheels are driven by a 1,969cc turbocharged
and supercharged four-pot 303hp petrol engine while the rear axle receives its
drive from a 87hp electric motor. Taken together that's the level of poke you'd
expect from a muscular V8. The transmission is an eight-speed autobox and four-wheel
drive is permanently on call.
the T8 not only can
you enjoy stress-free
worrying about running
out of power but you
have to go easy on
the electrical usage,
so you can benefit from
the heated seats and
steering wheel, freely
enjoy the powered
functions, and Winter
or Summer have the
climate control maxed
Pace is impressive although most of the time you don't need to stamp the accelerator
to set the T8 surging forward; quick exits at junctions and effortless overtaking
on the motorway makes a lie of this SUV's two-tonne-plus weight because it feels
effortless to drive at any speed. It helps, too, that the eight-speed automatic
gearbox is a smooth shifter and that the switching between pure electric and
hybrid modes is decidedly laid-back.
When in Rome… During our week testing the T8 we made sure we spent time running
on pure electric power and, Yes, you can, as it says on the tin, plug-in overnight
then go to work and back and, if keeping your commute under the 28-mile threshold,
do it without using hardly a drop of unleaded. Reassuringly, the electric range
readout proved accurate (unlike some other brand plug-ins and EVs) so you can
cut it fine when maximising juice-use.
Obviously those who regularly drive short distances will reap the biggest mpg
rewards but even those who range far and wide won't miss out, as our 33.2mpg
test average confirms. Making the most of pure electric, particularly in townscapes
can also, on longer journeys, help eke out the dual-source fuel consumption
Forget about that eye-wateringly expensive spa break in Peru to restore your
inner peace; all you really need is a trip in a range-topping XC60 T8. The very
spacious (in all directions) cabin is superbly dressed and upholstered and majors
on charisma and luxury, exuding a de-stressing ambiance that's as good as anything
you'll find in a Range Rover. Underscoring its über-relaxing feel-good factor
is a marked absence of mechanical sound when running on electric power; even
when active, the petrol engine is muted.
The soft Nappa leather seats you'd take out and use indoors if only you could
they're super-comfortable and supportive everywhere they should be; they're
also every-which-way power-adjustable with adjustable backrest side bolstering
for that bespoke fit and multi-direction lumbar support (both adjustable with
a fingertip tap on the touchscreen) as well as extendable under-knee support.
Two memory recall settings ensure neither front occupant wastes any time settling
in for their next journey.
On top of that both driver and front passenger can savour three-stage seat heating
or cooling, or even a multi-pattern and multi-intensity massage. The driver
goes one better, with a three-stage heated steering wheel. He or she also benefits
from a first-class driving position with fine views of the road ahead through
the wide windscreen.
Easily assimilated, non-distracting essential information makes driving on today's
busy roads as relaxing as can be features like the digital and easily
customisable instrument panel with a live mapping background and a superb head-up
display showing your road speed, road signs, graphic navigational prompts, and
phone and driver support info. Incidentally, a large road speed readout and
posted speed limit are also shown in the digital speedo 'dial'.
marks too must go to the crisp nine-inch touchscreen tablet-style infotainment
display at the heart of the crafted dash. Switchgear is noticeable by its absence
most everything is controlled via the high-def portrait-format nine-inch
touchscreen or from the multifunction steering wheel. Touchscreen menus are
logical; the good news is that your voice can replace much of the finger-tapping
Volvo's Sensus infotainment system understands more than 300 everyday
phrases, from 'Set temperature 16 degrees' to 'Listen to Leonard Cohen'.
liberal space in
XC60 for three in the rear
impressively, with as
much comfort as is doled
out by the big-hearted
front seats; theres
decent legroom and
headroom, and even
taller passengers will
have generous space
above their hair.
panoramic roof with
a brightness that can be
appreciated all year
The inbuilt SatNav serves up pin-sharp 3D mapping with foolproof destination
inputs (voice, fingertip or via your smartphone; you can even sync to your Outlook
Calendar to get to your next destination). Guidance is timely and idiot-proof:
no U-turns will be necessary.
Music heard through the 10-speaker 330-watt audio system will be fine for most
although audiophiles could be tempted to upgrade to either the 600-watt Harman
Kardon or the 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system.
A WiFi hotspot is on hand so all of your passengers can get online; installed
web apps include Local Search, Spotify, Tunein, Weather, and Yelp. Naturally
there's DAB radio and Bluetooth (with handsfree voice control) and MP3 player
connectivity. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available for on-screen
Along with plenty of large storage spaces, the kit-list is formidable. Much
has been already mentioned in the relevant sections but there's also keyless
entry, locking and start, all-round parking sensors and a parking camera with
multi-view zoom and 360-degree coverage, dual-zone climate control with air-quality
system and pollen filtering, electric park brake with auto hold, tinted and
privacy glass, laminated side windows, multi-colour theatre cabin lighting,
one-shot windows, heated and auto-dimming powerfolding door mirrors, frameless
auto-dimmig rearview mirror, etc.
The XC60, not surprisingly, majors on safety kit intended to prevent or avoid
an accident in the first place, such as autonomous emergency braking (including
at junctions) that detects hazardous pedestrians, cyclists and even large animals;
a system to reduce the chances of inadvertently being in the wrong place at
the wrong time that can intervene and control steering and speed to guide the
XC60 out of possible danger for instance, drifting into the path of oncoming
traffic or starting to change lanes when another vehicle is coming up fast in
your blind spot.
Drivers who hate the boredom of long motorway runs will find a new best friend
in Volvo's Pilot Assist not quite a fully fledged autopilot, it combines
adaptive cruise control with active steering to reduce motorway driver fatigue.
Other practical safety items include things like a full suite or airbags (including
driver's knee), a heated windscreen and heated wipers, active 'bending' LED
headlights, and tyre pressure monitoring.
There's liberal space in the 4.7-metre-long XC60 for three in the rear cabin
combined, impressively, with as much comfort as is doled out by the big-hearted
front seats; there's decent legroom and headroom so even taller passengers will
have generous space above their hair. The powered panoramic roof with tilt-and-slide
lets in a brightness that can be appreciated all year round. Nice touches include
air vents in the B-pillar, usable door bins, and a shallow tray with shake-proof
siamesed cupholders built into the wide drop-down centre armrest.
in 5.2 seconds (0-62mph in 5.5) is not hanging about; not in anybody's book.
But while the acceleration is surprisingly quick (the surprise will be on the
faces of other drivers), given the T8's 2,660kg weight the battery pack
accounts for 200+kg it feels nicely 'planted' and handles far better
than you might assume courtesy of its four-wheel drive, adaptive dampers and
of our regular road-
testers suffers from a bad
back but it does give
her a keener appreciation
of a cars
a comfortable ride even
over patched and
and not even a twinge of
Further contributing to
oriented ride are the
fabulous seats that are,
without a doubt, some of
the very best you can
get in any car at
Above all, the T8 is oh-so-relaxing to drive; parking is hassle free thanks
to sensors and a camera showing 360-degree views as well as an automated 'parking
jockey' to carry out both parallel and 90-degree parking for you. Another much
appreciated feature that you'll find yourself using all the time is the auto-switching
LED headlights whose main beams light up so much more of the road at night without
dazzling other road users a real boon on unfamiliar roads.
However, if you're thinking of playing tag with more intensely sports-oriented
but harder-riding SUVs then you're missing the point of what this hybrid XC60
is all about a silky stress-free driving experience. It's no shrinking
violet, though: it's not scared of getting its feet wet, and can wade through
400mm deep water; plus its 216mm of ground clearance lets it tackle rougher
terrain, where its all-wheel drive and Hill Descent Control systems will be
One of our regular road-testers suffers from a bad back but it does give her
a keener appreciation of a car's ride quality. The T8's 'soft' air suspension
delivers a comfortable ride even over patched and potholed blacktop and
not even a twinge of back pain! Contributing further to the XC60's comfort-oriented
ride are the fabulous seats that are, without a doubt, some of the very best
you can get in any car at any price.
All hybrids enforce a compromise on you; a trade-off for housing their battery
pack. And it's the boot that usually takes the hit. Happily the XC60 retains
its load-lugging SUV versatility and practicality with a 468-litre boot (load
to the roof and you'll squeeze in 598 litres). A dedicated underfloor cubby
keeps the charging cables safe as well as providing useful overspill storage.
Accessing the boot couldn't be easier thanks to a fast-action powered tailgate
that opens and closes handsfree. Should you need to carry some cargo, just pull
the in-boot levers to power-drop the rear seatbacks they fold perfectly
flat to create a seamless and level-floored 1,395-litre loadbay. For more serious
load-lugging the T8 will tow a braked 1,200kg.
For us the most honest recommendation of a test car is our reluctance to give
it back. In the case of the XC60 T8, as we handed over the keys we were 'missing
it already'. And why wouldn't we? This 'green' SUV is a most appealing all-rounder
and a convincing example of how good plug-in hybrids can be. One day all cars
will be as good as this. So why wait? ~ MotorBar
Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine Inscription Pro
Maximum speed: 140mph | 0-62mph: 5.5 seconds | Test Average: 33.2mpg
Power: 303hp+87hp | Torque: 295+177lb ft | CO2: 52g/km