Express & Star

Volvo plug-in hybrid still a sensible choice

Volvo is on a charge, and that is not just a reference to their EVs.

Volvo XC60

The charge is in sales, with Volvo Cars reporting sales of 78,970 cars in March, an increase of 25 per cent compared with the same month last year, and an all-time high for global sales during a single month. The new fully electric small SUV, the EX30, contributed to the sales growth, as well as a strong sales performance in Europe and the US.

The firm has confirmed it will be an electric-only car manufacturer by 2030 and will roll out several additional electric models in the coming years.

Still, full EVs are not for everyone and the plug in hybrid (PHEV) remains a stylish and still economical and sensible option.This particular model has a nominal mpg of between 100 and 113mpg, something which is unlikely to be achieved in the real world.

But it can run on battery only for around 50 miles. So keep topping up the battery and excellent mpg is achievable – even for a four wheel drive vehicle.

There  is no mistaking it’s a Volvo – with its smart light clusters to front and rear and a choice of striking alloy wheels.

The latest models have a sleeker look, despite its high off the ground stance and the front lights feature the now familiar ‘Thor’s Hammer’ design. It also sports a discrete rear spoiler.

Inside it has a real high-end feel with powered and heated leather style seats, soft touch finish and a minimalist approach to buttons and dials, but adds stylish features like the smart gear selector on the central console.

The powered seats are firm, but comfortable with good leg and headroom and the cabin benefits with light from a large glass area

The interior is real premium quality and dominated by the nine-inch tablet-style touchscreen and a 12-inch TFT driver info display behind the smart multi-function steering wheel. The central screen controls smartphone connectivity, navigation and 10-speaker sound system and also adds Google Maps, Google Assistant voice control, access to apps via the Google Play Store and four years’ data allowance.

The  Volvo Cars app – available for smartphone, smartwatch or tablet – enables control of various car functions remotely, and also acts as an emergency.

It is an engaging drive, even at high speed, engine and road noise is muted, with just a hint of wind noise on the large, folding door mirrors, Excellent soundproofing means with NVH (noise, harness, vibration) is all but eliminated and the interior cossets occupants, particularly on motorways where the vehicle just whispers along.

It is rapid, the combined 340bhp engine and motor combo powering it to 60mph in just under six seconds. It clearly is not a sports model, but there is negligible body roll, (the centrally placed battery giving more stability) while the firmish suspension means tight, twisty lanes are comfortably navigated.

The on-demand all-wheel drive is perfect for rougher terrain or inclement weather conditions.  The ride can be a little bumpy around town, especially with the larger wheels. But the premium quality shines through.

Despite being an SUV, it sits fairly low to the ground and feels stable, cornering well and good feedback from the well weighted steering. Boot space, accessed via the powered tailgate, is good  with 468 litres, while the 60/40 split folding rear seats open up to 1,395 litres. The boot can also be accessed via a kick action. Stowage is supplemented by various storage bins and cubbyholes.

Safety kit is comprehensive, with City Safety which includes pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, and front collision warning with fully automatic emergency braking, including at junctions.

There is also a host of other technologies, like autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian, animal and cyclist detection and front collision warning are included on this model.Also standard are a full set of airbags and lane mitigation, which steers you back into the correct lane if drifting.


  • Volvo XC60 Recharge Plus, T6 AWD plug-in hybrid

  • Price: £54,975

  • Mechanical: Combined 340bhp, via 1969 petrol engine and electric motor driving all wheels via automatic gearbox

  • Max speed: 112mph0-62mph: 5.6 seconds

  • MPG : 100-113 miles

  • CO2 emissions: 55-64g/km

  • BiK rating: 16-17%

  • Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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