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In-depth reviews

Volvo XC60 Recharge hybrid review

Recent updates to the XC60's infotainment, interior, electric range and charging have seen it keep pace in the premium plug-in hybrid SUV class

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Google-based infotainment
  • Affordable running costs
  • Brilliant performance

Cons

  • Pricey to buy
  • Poor economy if not charged
  • Starting to show its age in places
ModelElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
T648-49 miles283mpg23g/km
T847 miles257mpg25g/km

The Volvo XC60 Recharge is an excellent plug-in hybrid SUV, and slightly more left-field choice over plug-in versions of its rivals; the BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5. Updates throughout its lifecycle have helped keep the XC60 up-to-date, though there’s no ignoring the fact it is starting to show its age in some areas.

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There are two plug-in powertrain options called T6 and T8, both of which use a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine paired with an electric motor. Both send power to all four wheels, with the T6 producing 345bhp, and the T8 powertrain delivering 448bhp. A high-performance flagship badged ‘Polestar Engineered’ was offered previously but has since been dropped.

Thanks to the electric motor, the XC60 delivers its power in a smooth, electrically assisted surge, so there’s always plenty of performance for making effortless progress. Of course, a plug-in hybrid has to be efficient, too, and according to Volvo, the updated XC60 Recharge can deliver up to 283mpg. Low CO2 emissions also mean the SUV attracts a lower Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax rate than a similarly priced diesel-powered rival.

In electric mode, the XC60 is also incredibly quiet. There’s barely any noise from the motor and wind and tyre roar are well suppressed. However, this changes when the petrol engine kicks in, as it’s vocal when revved. Although, with electric driving range now up to 49 miles thanks to the 18.8kWh lithium-ion battery introduced in late 2021, it should be possible to complete most commutes without using the engine at all.

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The XC60 Recharge is also comfortable, especially on air suspension. The ride is absorbent, and you feel the fluidity that the sophisticated setup gives. But even the entry-level trim rides on fairly big wheels, so cracked tarmac and violent bumps do upset the body, but most of the time the XC60 is serene.

Plug-in hybrid powertrains often have one drawback: reduced practicality – and the XC60 is no exception to this rule. There's a little less space on offer than in the regular petrol or diesel-engined XC60s due to the presence of the battery and electric motor, but a 468-litre boot with the rear seats in place is still decent. Plus, Volvo has managed to keep interior space for passengers identical to the regular XC60.

Plus, Volvo has fully embraced the Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto) operating system, with the updated XC60 featuring a complete Google-powered infotainment suite. Volvo’s in-house infotainment system was already one of better systems on the market, but now routine functions like the heated seats, navigation and radio controls can now be programmed using “Hey Google” voice commands. The brand's old navigation has also been replaced directly with Google Maps, and the 12.3-inch digital driver’s display benefits from improved graphics.

The XC60 Recharge also now comes as standard with a seven-metre Type 2 charging cable, which will allow you to top up the battery from a home wallbox or most public charging points. The on-board charger has been boosted to 6.4kW, improving charge times in line with many of the car’s hybrid rivals. A full charge is possible in around three hours.

The XC60 Recharge trim levels now comprise Core, Plus and Ultimate, rather than the luxury-focused Inscription and sporty R-Design specifications. All models are well equipped, with leather seats, a leather steering wheel, cruise control, hill-start assistance, keyless start, LED headlights, powered and heated door mirrors, a powered tailgate, automatic wipers, a rear-view camera, parking assistance, alloy wheels, two-zone climate control, heated front seats, a 60:40 split-folding rear seat, digital radio, Bluetooth and Google-powered sat nav as standard.

The updates Volvo has made to the XC60 Recharge, from the revised styling and bigger battery to the new Google-powered infotainment setup have made an already excellent car better: it's one of the best plug-in hybrids SUVs out there. For a more detailed look at the Volvo XC60 Recharge, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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