In-depth reviews

Volvo XC60 Recharge hybrid - Engines, drive and performance

The handling doesn’t make the most of the powerful engines

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating

2.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

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

While some plug-in hybrid SUVs, like the BMW X3 xDrive 30e and Jaguar F-Pace P400e, 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. This actually means that the 405bhp of the Polestar Engineered models seems – and is – a little 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 Recharge: they can be a little grabby at low speed, but when driving quickly they’re most effective, stopping the XC60 with greater efficacy than its two-tonne weight would suggest they should.

Volvo XC60 Recharge hybrid engine

Both versions of the XC60 Recharge are powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a supercharger and turbocharger that sends power to the front wheels. Both also get an electric motor driving the rear wheels, powered by an 11.6kWh lithium battery.

In T6 guise, the petrol/electric powertrain produces 340bhp and manages 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds. Opt for the standard T8 and power increases to 390bhp, with 0-62mph taking 5.5 seconds. The flagship 405bhp T8 Polestar Engineered is the most powerful. It’s also the quickest in the range, managing 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds - a time that makes it quicker than hot hatchbacks like the Honda Civic Type R and Renault Megane RS

On the road, the four-cylinder engine naturally lacks a V6 rasp or V8 grumble, meaning it doesn’t feel as quick as it actually is, but the power definitely makes itself felt when joining motorways and overtaking.

The XC60 Recharge 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 Recharge 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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