In-depth Reviews

Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine hybrid - Engines, drive & performance

The Volvo XC60 T8 hybrid’s handling doesn’t make the most of its impressive speed

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

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Owners Rating

2.0 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Driving the Volvo XC60 T8 hybrid quickly is like trying to dance to Beethoven – it’s possible, but it doesn’t feel natural.

While some SUVs, like the BMW X3 and Jaguar F-Pace, are designed to offer a sharp, car-like driving experience, the XC60 does things differently. It’s a comfortable SUV with supportive seats, light steering and soft suspension, designed to deliver you to your destination feeling rested and relaxed. To configure such a car so it produces 401bhp seems – and is – incongruous.

The XC60 isn’t bad to drive by any stretch of the imagination, but make use of all that power on winding roads and you’ll wish the steering would provide more feedback and that the body wouldn’t wobble about so much. At least the brakes have no issue slowing the XC60 T8: they can be a little grabby at low speed, but when pushing on they’re most effective, stopping the XC60 with greater efficacy than its two-tonne weight would suggest they should.

Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine hybrid engine

The T8 hybrid’s 2.0-litre petrol engine uses a supercharger and turbocharger to produce its 315bhp, and that power is sent to the front wheels. Driving the rears (and providing the second portion of the ‘Twin Engine’ element) is an 86bhp electric motor, powered by a 10.4kWh lithium battery.

Zero to 62mph officially takes 5.3 seconds, and while the lack of a V6 rasp or V8 grumble means the T8 doesn’t feel as quick as it actually is, the power definitely makes itself felt when joining motorways and overtaking. There’s even a Polestar performance package, which pushes power up to 415bhp.

The XC60 T8 makes some interesting noises, too: there’s not much of an engine note to speak of, but drive it hard and the supercharger, turbocharger and electric motor make all sorts of curious whistles, whirrs and zings, giving the car a distinctive and hi-tech aural character.

Once up to speed, the XC60 T8 is an accomplished, quiet and relaxed cruiser, made all the more so if you choose the £1,500 Intellisafe Pro package, which brings some semi-autonomous systems such as adaptive cruise control (which will follow the car in front) and Steer Assist. This last item will automatically keep you in lane and steer around corners when certain criteria are met.

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