Volvo XC60 T6

Recharge R-Design

Volvo XC60 Recharge, 2021, side
Volvo XC60 Recharge, 2021, front
Volvo XC60 Recharge, 2021, interior
Volvo XC60 Recharge, 2021, engine
Volvo XC60 Recharge, 2021, boot
Volvo XC60 Recharge, 2021, badge

THE majority of buyers are choosing a car with electric assistance for its economy - both to reduce tax and cut running costs.

But a some drivers put performance as their main priority. For those, the new Volvo T6 Recharge could hold a particular appeal.

The plug-in hybrid has the sort of punch that wouldn't shame a Porsche or turbocharged Merc. Sure, like all new Volvos it has an electronically restricted maximum of 112mph, but that doesn't take away from its ability to dash to 62mph in less than six seconds.

And with emissions pegged at just 55g/km tax is minimal and fuel consumption is modest.

So, it's a win-win situation then. Well, partly yes, but there's a price to pay for having your cake and sixpence. And in the case of the T6 Recharge, it wears a pretty hefty price tag of £50k-plus.

Yet, despite the blistering power it never quite feels as fast as it actually is. This is partly because of the lack of mechanical commotion.

Obviously it runs silently at first on electric power from the 87bhp motor, and even when the four cylinder, 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine kicks in, the noise it emits less of a sporty snarl and more of a polite whimper.

This together with its ultra-stylish cabin which is easy on the eye and supremely comfortable help to make it a competent and relaxing mile-eater with a go-anywhere capability.

Like most prestige SUVs, the T60 recharge is driven by all four wheels, allowing it gentle off-road excursions. The petrol engine powers the front wheels while the rear ones rely on electric. Complex stuff, but it works well in practice.

On electricity alone, it will run for between 25 and 33 miles and there's a B mode on the eight-speed automatic gearbox that allows greater regenerative braking when you slacken off the accelerator. Surprisingly for a car with such sporty performance, it does not come fitted with steering wheel paddle change.

Our average fuel consumption worked out at 43mpg over period that included a mix of fast cross-country travel and leisurely touring.

Handling and roadholding are benign and grippy but the rather uncommunicative steering doesn't encourage you to explore the car's outer limits. Ignore this disincentive and you'll find the Volvo to well behaved and predictable. Cornering roll is nicely controlled with only minimal lean.

Volvo has managed to carve out quite a reputation in cabin design, in fact its version of Scandi-chic wins sneaking admiration from other luxury car designers. Not only does the fascia look good, but it's logically laid out, uncluttered and easy to get used to.

There are plenty of cubbies, lockers and door pockets for storage and sufficient flat surfaces to allow family picnics. Rear seats fold down at an easy flick of a button to expand luggage space to massive proportions from the standard 505litres with rear seats in place. The rear bench splits 60-40 for added versatility.

There's no shortage of home comforts with heated seats, heated steering wheel, electric tailgate lift, sat nav and high grade audio system all being included in the price. Strangely, although the door mirrors automatically fold when the car is locked, we could find no way of drawing them in independently.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC60 T6 Recharge R-Design

Price: £52,570

Mechanical: 2.0-litre, 4 cyl, 340bhp petrol-electric engine driving 4wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 5.9sec

Combined MPG: 64mpg

Insurance Group: 41

C02 emissions: 54g/km

Bik rating: 13%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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