Sunday Drive: Volvo XC60 is now available with an all-electric mode
It is always fantastic to get a week with a plug-in hybrid vehicle, if for nothing else than just to see and feel the difference in the way they drive. We have found the best way to really give them a test is to drive as we normally would, doing all the same things we would do with a non-hybrid vehicle.
Volvo has committed to be a totally electric car company by the year 2030 — but at this point it offers only one all-electric ride in the XC40. The XC60 Recharge is a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PEHV) that will run on electricity, gas or a combination of both.
When the XC60 is fully charged, the EPA estimates the SUV will get only 19 miles of electric-only power, which it will also get running on battery at freeway speeds. This didn’t seem like a whole lot of range, and it probably wouldn’t get most folks to and from work or around town running their daily errands.
It seems to us that a better amount may be in the 30-mile range on a single charge. This would allow us to the test the vehicle while getting the normal range we drive in a day.
There is one other difference in the XC60: The 2.0-liter engine is turbocharged and has a super charger included, making it produce an extremely respectable 313 horsepower. Add to that an 87-horsepower electric motor, and the T8 hits 400 horsepower.
This setup gets the SUV to 60 mph in a very short 5.2 seconds. In our opinion, this was not the normal PEHV kind of design. It not only had great looks, but it had an energetic ride and driving experience. This may be an expectation of Volvo, but it was not what we expected.
For 425 miles, we did all the things we would normally do during the week, driving to work and the store. We even took a 175-mile drive on Saturday up through the Kamas area, cutting over Wolf Creek Pass, down into Duchesne, then up over Indian Canyon and back down through Spanish Fork Canyon to Springville.
After all that driving and charging to a full charge each night, we only used 9.6 gallons of fuel during the week and still had half a tank in the XC60. Charging each night took about 10.3 to 10.5 kilowatts of electricity, and with our cost right about 9 cents per kilowatt hour, that would be $5.61 total for the week.
The premium fuel that was required in the supercharged Volvo cost us $4.28 per gallon during the week of our test drive, for a total cost of $41.20. Add on the $5.61 for electricity, and the total cost of driving during the week was $46.81. This averages out to 11 cents per mile.
Looking at a luxury SUV that takes premium and gets, say, 25 mpg, the cost per mile would be 17.1 cents per mile. So, having the PEHV Volvo did save us money during our week, and it would extend every tank of gas as long as it was plugged in each night.
After spending some time with a straight electric vehicle out on the road, it was great and fun to have all that power. However, the charging times were much longer than we had anticipated when we needed fuel. With a PEHV vehicle, there is the option to run on straight gasoline and not have to plan stops to recharge, thus cutting down on time to travel longer distances.
In the case of the Volvo XC60, we would not be giving up much on the power side with a total of 400 horsepower under the hood, as some of the PEHV’s we have driven to date were not that exciting to run around in.
On the luxury side, of course, the Volvo was loaded; we would have expected nothing less. It had cream-colored Nappa leather seats that were both heated and cooled as a standard feature. With the addition of the Climate Package ($750), the steering wheel and wiper blades became heated, and a unique pop-up child booster seat was added to both rear seats.
We loved the child seat addition as it allowed us to pick up our oldest grandson and, instead of having to transfer his booster seat from his parents’ car and install it in ours, we just snapped up the booster seat in the back of the XC60 and he was ready to go. Volvo is thinking ahead regarding who its market is — just like us with our grandchildren!
The entire inside of the Volvo was more like a work of art than an SUV with wood accents and stitched leather. It lacked many of the high-gloss black surfaces that have become popular as of late in many other vehicles. This set the Volvo off in a way we really liked, and with the seats adjustable in many ways, one would be pressed not to enjoy the ride.
The driver’s view is enhanced with an all-digital 12.3-inch display that is configurable to their needs. We loved having the navigation maps run in the middle, showing us where we were at all times. This also allowed us to use the large 9-inch infotainment screen for other things.
With the addition of the Advanced Package ($1,900), a full-color heads-up display was added along with adaptive cruise and driver assist functions. These are always great additions for touring vehicles as they keep all those inside much safer. There were a few times when the assist functions nudged us back into the center of the lane of travel when we wandered a little on our long drive.
Safety? Of course! Volvo is a leader in that department and has been for years. The XC60 came with blind spot monitor, run off road detection and mitigation, forward collision warning and mitigation, and a great rear cross path detection. Craig learned that the last item works well when he was backing out of a stall on Provo’s Center Street and the SUV came to a complete stop instead of allowing him to continue and possibly hit another vehicle.
The new Volvo XC60 Recharge is unique, fun and entertaining. What a great week we had with this fine player in the Luxury Hybrid SUV world.
Base Price: $61,000
Price as Driven: $71,340