What happened to Volvo? The practical, safety first family transportation company is growing a pair. Sure, they’ve had Polestars over the years, but even they’re getting hardcore. Have you seen the Polestar 1?
Meet the XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV. The turbocharged and supercharged engine, paired with a rear-mounted electric motor, gets you 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. It can be plugged in for a range of about 25 miles.
It also has the most beautiful gear selector available on any production car, including players like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Exquisite, that’s the only way to describe our test car’s Inscription trim level interior. The leather was very, very soft. Driftwood trimmed the cabin. An iPad sized infotainment screen adorned the center stack. A TFT display peered from behind the wheel. The Bowers & Wilkins top-of-the-range audio system, normally found in McLarens and Maseratis, made the commute a symphony. Even the key was beautiful. It looked like a piece of art, with all the buttons hidden on the side
Yes, Volvo is a true luxury player now.
Twisting a “Bentley-quality” knob started the vehicle. The next action was to pull on the Crystal gearshift, and then look around for something to see what gear you were in. The readout was not readily apparent. There were also several drive modes. We started in Power mode because 400 horsepower begged to be tested.
Power came on in two steps. It was kind of an odd sensation. You felt the electric power, then the supercharger & turbo engaged. There wasn’t as much kick in the pants off the line as you’d expect from something with 400 hp, but there was still plenty of power to push you back into those magnificent leather seats. The vehicle leaned a bit in corners, but hey, it’s an SUV. Delivery was tuned to be smooth and luxurious, not “hooligan.” Gearshifts were imperceptible. Brakes had a soft feeling, but they gripped strongly when necessary.
Pure (battery mode) and Hybrid modes felt almost exactly the same. The TFT added a display to show how much you’re killing the battery. Aside from Tesla, Pure mode was actually the best battery mode I’ve driven in a car. It didn’t feel weird and “regenerative” like many plug-in hybrids do. It felt pretty normal. Actually, it was the most luxurious driving mode.
So what’s the takeaway on the XC60 T8? We were not as impressed with this car as we were the S90. It was incredibly nice, but didn’t quite have an over-the-top fit and finish befitting the $70k price tag in our test car. That said, an XC60 T8 can be had, nicely equipped, in the mid to upper 50s. At that price, the XC60 T8 is a luxury bargain, and absolutely worth a test drive.