Volvo V60 T8 Twin Engine hybrid review
|Car type||Electric range||MPG||CO2|
|Plug-in hybrid||27-37 miles||105-166mpg||39-48g/km|
The Volvo V60 T8 Twin Engine is part of Volvo's extensive plug-in hybrid (PHEV) line-up, which also includes the Volvo XC60 T8 and Volvo XC90 T8 SUVs, as well as the Volvo S90 T8 saloon, Volvo V90 T8 estate, plus the Volvo S60 T8 saloon sister model to this V60 estate. A plug-in hybrid XC40 T5 SUV is also on the way.
The V60 T8 has the potential to be one of the biggest-selling of the lot. As a fairly large and relatively expensive plug-in hybrid, one of its key target markets will be the company-car sector, where rivals like the Kia Optima PHEV, Ford Mondeo Hybrid, new Volkswagen Passat GTE, new BMW 3 Series hybrid and Mercedes C-Class hybrid are all poised to battle for customers.
Sporting the regular V60's sophisticated styling, along with a near-400bhp four-wheel-drive petrol-electric drivetrain and the latest in-car technology, the T8 plug-in hybrid is a very appealing prospect on paper. Yes, it's quite expensive, with a list price north of £50,000, but ultra-low company-car running costs courtesy of low CO2 emissions should mean it makes financial sense for many.
The T8 pairs a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine making 299bhp with an 86bhp electric motor, for a total output of 385bhp. The petrol engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor works on the rears. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard.
Battery capacity is 11.6kWh, and the customary set of plug-in hybrid driving modes is offered, letting you choose between using solely battery power, conserving the battery and prioritising the engine, or combining the two in either the most efficient or most powerful way. The latter will see the car accelerate from 0-62mph in a tenth less than five seconds, while gentler driving could see you cover over 30 miles in zero-emissions, fully electric mode.
Making full use of that electric mode will get you close to the claimed 166mpg fuel-economy figure, but the more you use the petrol engine, the more it'll drop. However you drive the T8, though, its CO2 emissions of 39-48g/km (depending on the exact specification) keep company-car costs to a minimum and ensure exemption from the London Congestion Charge zone until October 2021.
From behind the wheel, the V60 doesn't feel quite as fast as its on-paper figures suggest, and it's also not as involving as a BMW 3 Series, feeling a bit out of sorts when driven aggressively. Its strengths lie in other areas, though; like its bigger brother the V90, it's a supremely quiet and comfortable motorway cruiser.
Volvo offers the V60 T8 in just two trim levels: R-Design Plus and Polestar Engineered – with the latter getting a small power boost compared to the regular car, as well as some extra kit. Standard equipment includes 18-inch diamond-cut alloys, part-leather sports seats, lowered suspension and gearshift paddles. There's even a crystal gearshifter, which may be a bit ostentatious for some tastes. If you want either the cheaper Momentum or plusher Inscription trim level, you have to go back to a petrol or diesel V60, however.
Whichever trim level you choose, you're unlikely to be disappointed with the V60's interior, which boasts classy Scandinavian design throughout, along with typically comfortable Volvo seats. The T8's luggage capacity is the same as the regular V60's, too, thanks to the battery pack being located in the centre of the car rather than under the boot floor.
Overall, the V60 T8 is another impressive addition to Volvo's strong line-up of 'Twin Engine' plug-in hybrid models. The standard version is the one to go for, with the Polestar Engineered not really worth the extra cash, as this car isn't capable of BMW-like driving thrills even with extra horsepower. But the T8 is likely to appeal strongly to many buyers nonetheless.
For a more detailed look at the Volvo V60 T8 Twin Engine, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.