Volvo XC60 T8 hybrid review
“The Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine is plug-in hybrid SUV that proves efficient cars can also be sleek, desirable and fast – but it’s rather expensive”
- Beautiful interior
- Numb steering
- Body lean when cornering
While many hybrid cars prioritise economy above all else, the 401bhp Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is at least as much about speed as it is efficiency.
As such, it has no direct rivals, although for an extra £6,000 or so, the Audi Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid is a larger car from the class above, but has a similar turn of speed and economy.
If you’re after a fast SUV of a similar size and price, the Porsche Macan S and Jaguar F-Pace S offer comparable performance, while a top-of-the-line diesel Audi Q5 won’t match the XC60 T8’s economy on paper, but could better it in real-world driving conditions. You could also consider a Volvo XC60 with a conventional engine, which won’t be as quick, but could save you as much as £20,000.
And it’s price where the T8 Twin Engine XC60 falls down somewhat, as it’s rather expensive. This is partly due to the fact it’s only offered in two high-spec trim levels and partly due to its incredibly sophisticated engine setup. Driving the front wheels is a 315bhp 2.0-litre petrol that’s both turbo and supercharged, while the rear wheels are powered by an electric motor and battery pack.
Such a complex configuration is expensive to build and buy, but it brings three key advantages, the first of which is incredible on-paper fuel economy of 134.5mpg. This will be hard to match unless you make the most of the XC60 T8’s 28-mile battery range, but the second advantage – low company-car tax thanks to minimal CO2 emissions of 49g/km – will be more palpably felt.
Then there’s the speed: with 0-62mph taking just 5.3 seconds, the T8 is a rapid car, and one of the fastest PHEVs around. The driving experience itself is slightly at odds with this performance, though, as the steering is light and uncommunicative, while the suspension leans toward comfort and body lean rather than sharpness and level cornering. This isn’t a problem in lesser XC60s, but the T8’s power doesn’t sit well with its cosseting nature.
Inside, the XC60 T8 Twin Engine hybrid is a thing of beauty, with excellent built quality and premium materials. You can choose from two trim levels – sporty R-Design Pro and luxurious Inscription Pro – and the dashboard design is carried over from the larger XC90. That means a portrait touchscreen takes centre stage, while digital dashboard dials, leather seats and sat nav are standard.
What issues there are when it comes to practicality are relatively minor. The rear doors’ aperture isn’t as wide as one might wish, so loading child seats is a little more fiddly than is ideal, but head and legroom are generous. The boot, at 505 litres, trails the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3, although it’s big enough for families.
The XC60 should be a solid ownership prospect. It’s too new to have featured in our 2017 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but Volvo as a company came seventh out of 27 brands. Equally, while independent safety experts Euro NCAP have yet to assess the XC60, Volvo’s intention that nobody should die or sustain serious injury in one of its cars by 2020 stands it in good stead.
Find out how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric