By Mike Torpey on 2023-06-25 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Volvo XC60 Recharge
T6 AWD Plus
IF anything, the dilemma for environmentally aware car buyers has become even more challenging - do you opt for a self-charging hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or go the whole hog with fully electric?
Hybrid seems the logical choice for many - especially given the scarcity of rapid public chargers - and if you're a disciplined driver who is also conscious of keeping benefit-in-kind costs low - then plug-in makes sound sense.
Among the best is the Volvo XC60 Recharge, an attractive, comfortable and dynamically superior mid-size SUV with minimalist Scandinavian-style interior and strong economy.
Electrification is very much the future for Volvo with the brand on course for electric cars to make up half the company's global output by 2025, the remainder of production being hybrids.
And the UK is now one of the top four worldwide markets for Volvo, along with the USA, China and Sweden, so there's no letting up in the brand's expansion.
At the head of affairs is the XC60, one of the most important models in Volvo history and the top-seller every year since 2009.
Available as a mild hybrid or PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) the XC60 Recharge comes in a choice of three trim grades - Core, Plus and Ultimate - with prices from Â£47,465.
The advantage of the plug-in is that you get 49 miles of pure electric range - more than enough for an average daily commute - and if you have a home wallbox, which realistically is essential, then it takes five hours to fully charge.
Our model was the XC60 Recharge T6 Plus all-wheel drive model featuring a 2.0-litre petrol engine plus electric motor for a combined power delivery of 350bhp.
For a vehicle of its type, this car really shifts. It can hit 62mph from standstill in a fraction under six seconds and is also pretty swift in pure electric mode courtesy of a motor that itself produces 145bhp.
Hybrid is the default drive mode but you can alter the car's driving responses via the Power, AWD and Off-Road settings while an additional Hold setting will save the EV miles along with a Charge mode to boost the battery range.
Regards the Volvo's handling and dynamics, everything is smooth, beautifully balanced and assured as well as being agile around the country lanes we encountered during almost 300 miles of mixed town, country and motorway driving.
This is all complemented by the family friendly nature of the XC60 with its clean Scandi-style cabin and useful storage options - plenty of cubbies and a 468-litre boot which extends to 1,395 litres with the back seats folded.
Particular highlights are the handcrafted crystal gear shifter made exclusively for Volvo by Orrefors, the tailored wool blend upholstery, the driftwood effect inlay and the built-in Google apps within the vertical Sensus touchscreen control system.
Passenger space is sufficient for four to sit comfortably and accommodate five for shorter trips, the only inconvenience on that front being that because the battery is placed in the middle of the car there's a bump that impacts centre rear legroom.
Otherwise it's all good with the XC60, a car we can heartily recommend, though options included on our model like 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels at Â£750, a retractable towbar at Â£1,250 and metallic paint for Â£685 ramp up the tab.
Volvo XC60 Recharge T6 AWD Plus
Mechanical:350bhp, 1,969cc, 4-cyl petrol engine + electric motor driving four wheels via automatic transmission
0-62mph: 5.9 seconds
Combined MPG:217.0 (electric range 49 miles)
VOLVO'S plug-in hybrid XC60 T8 delivers superb performance combined with all...
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