Volvo’s XC60 is one of those cars that was a revelation.
The first generation of Volvo’s mid-sized SUV was pretty good –handsome lines, plenty of space and very comfortable.
The all-new model, launched in 2017, took all the strong points of the first car and elevated them into the stratosphere.
It went from good looking to great looking. Ride quality went from smooth to sublime. And it has the best interior in its class. It really is one of the motoring world’s best kept secrets.
So it was with some anticipation that I received the keys to the Recharge model of the car.
This plug-in hybrid version combines a 2.0 litre, 253hp petrol engine with a 11.6kWh, 87hp battery and electric motor.
It’s fast. Very fast – 0-60mph comes up in 5.6 seconds. Official economy is more than 100mpg but that depends on how you use it. Volvo claims the car can do 33 miles on battery power alone. In a cold Scottish winter I found 20-25 miles was more realistic, but that was still plenty to get me from Dundee to Cupar and back for a work appointment.
You can charge it using a public fast charger or a three-pin socket at home. I did the latter and it took around six hours to go from empty to full again.
If you do mainly short journeys and keep plugging it in you can go weeks or months without using a drop of fuel. There’s a clever charge mode that uses the engine to charge the battery. On a long journey when you’d be using petrol anyway this lets you do the last few miles on battery power, reducing harmful emissions if you’re in a town or city.
The XC60 start at £40,460 and recharge models cost from £54,520 – you do pay a bit of a surcharge for the hybrid technology.
For my money it’s the most refined SUV in its class. It was whisper quiet at 70mph on the A92 to Arbroath, and the horrendous potholes on the track to Morton Lochs in Tentsmuir barely put it off its stride. The four-wheel drive system handled snow and ice nicely too. Its leather and wood interior, with huge central touchscreen, is a wonder of understated Swedish design.
There’s loads of room front and back and a very spacious boot.
If you can afford the price tag it’s a car you’ll be utterly delighted with.