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

3.0 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 powerful T8 version seems somewhat unnecessary.

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 authority 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 5.7 seconds. Opt for the standard T8 and power increases to just over 400bhp, with 0-62mph taking 4.9 seconds. This is 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, aided by semi-autonomous systems such as adaptive cruise control (which will follow the car in front) and Steer Assist that are intuitive to use. This last item will automatically keep you in lane and even steer around corners when certain criteria are met – you need to keep at least on hand on the wheel for instance.

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