Volvo XC60 T8 – Classy SUV With Green Credentials
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The second generation of Volvo’s premium mid-size SUV was launched earlier this year to near universal acclaim.
I first saw the car at the Geneva Motor Show back in March and it attracted a huge amount of attention from a knowledgeable media audience. Set to go head to head with the new Audi Q5, would this be the new class leader?
From the outside, there is clear evidence of Volvo’s striking new design language, which we have already grown accustomed to with the latest XC90, now a familiar sight in our roads.
The clean, simple lines look great and there are some distinctive touches such as the T-shaped daytime running lights and signature L-shaped tail lights.
The ‘under-wrap’ doors overlap the sills, helping to keep them clean and also make it easier to get in and out of the car.
A wide range of attractive alloy wheels are available, ranging in size from 18” to 22”. Choose wisely as the wider offerings do harm the ride quality.
The XC60’s interior is an absolute delight and showcases the best examples of Scandinavian design. Classy soft touch materials abound and the clean elegant design is possible thanks to the Sensus touch screen control system, which allows the interior to be pleasantly free of switches and buttons.
Seats front and rear are supremely comfortable and supportive and are covered in a choice of fine leathers. There’s ample room for five adults to spread out and the capacious boot holds up to 505 litres of luggage, extendible to 1,432 litres with the back seats folded.
All models are extremely well equipped. The range opens with Momentum models, boasting two-zone climate control, Sensus satellite navigation controlled from the 9” touchscreen, power-operated tailgate and 18” alloy wheels.
Next up are the dynamic R-Design models which feature a range of sporty visual and mechanical upgrades. Sports seats covered in leather/nubuck upholstery and a perforated leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles are amongst the interior highlights, whilst sports suspension, 19” diamond-cut alloys and some sporty addenda spruce up the exterior. 30% of buyers are expected to choose this variant.
Top of the tree are Inscription models and here ultimate luxury is the aim. Soft Nappa leather covers the powered front seats and some smart drift wood inlays add a touch of class to the dashboard.
Each XC60 is powered by a Volvo-developed Drive-E powertrain. The engines are all 2.0-litre, four cylinder units. D4 and D5 diesel units are likely to be the most popular, but a T5 petrol motor is available for those preferring a petrol option.
Pick of the range, and the subject of this test, is the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid that combines a powerful petrol engine with an electric motor.
In fact the impressive figures are a good indication of the Jekyll and Hyde nature of this car. When running in full assault ‘Sport’ mode, the XC60 T8 can sprint from 0 to 62mph in a scarcely believable 5.3 seconds and will only run out of puff somewhere north of 140mph. It feels every bit as fast too.
However, when called upon for sensible family duties, there is the option to run silently in electric power mode for a limited time.
Recharging the battery can be done from a standard 13amp plug and when fully charged I was able to accomplish around 25 miles of gentle rural driving before the petrol engine fired into life.
For the low mileage city driver, with access to off-street parking for home charging, the T8 makes perfect sense.
Slightly less impressive is the T8’s fuel consumption when the battery in completely empty. A rush hour journey to Chester yielded an overall 31mpg, so if you plan to spend your life plying the UK’s motorways, then this variant is probably not for you.
The diesel engine models promise around 50mpg, though at the launch event earlier this year, late 30s was more the order of the day.
The T8 boasts a lowly 49g/km CO2 emissions reading, so company car users will feel the tax benefits.
Out on the open road it is clear that Volvo’s engineers have set the XC60 up for comfortable travel. Occupants in the hushed cabin will enjoy a generally cosseting ride. Cars shod with wider wheels are less adept with dealing with low speed bumps, so spec your car carefully. There is the option to specify electronically controlled air suspension, which sadly my test car didn’t have. It is to be recommended.
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As one has now come to expect from Volvo, all XC60s come with a raft of active and passive safety features. Of note are the standard fit City Safe with Steer Assist and Oncoming Lane Mitigation systems.
The former can detect pedestrians, cyclists and large animals and will steer and brake in the event of an emergency.
The latter can guide you back into lane if you unknowingly drift across the white lines onto the other side of the road.
Premium pricing is the order of the day and although you can buy an XC60 for £37,205, if you fancy a T8 model then expect to pay upwards of £56,000 before options.
Having driven most of the major competitors, if I was in the market for such a car, I would probably choose the XC60. It may not be the most fun to drive, but as a comfortable, refined and safe way to transport your family, it is hard to beat.
Much as I enjoyed the T8 model, especially its turn of pace, I would pick a D4 R-Design (from £39,705), add a few choice extras and be set for many miles of happy cruising.
Volvo XC60 T8 Inscription Pro
Price £57,950 before options
1,969cc petrol engine
10.4kWh lithium-ion battery
8-speed automatic gearbox
Maximum power 407PS
0 to 62mph in 5.3 seconds
Top speed 143mph
Overall economy on test 31.5mpg
Emissions – 49g/km CO2
Comprehensive safety equipment
Luxurious, bespoke interior
Attractive range of personalisation options
Volvo XC60 T8 – Classy SUV With Green Credentials, 14th November 2017, 9:39 AM