Having once had a reputation for practicality, safety and well, slowness, Volvo has undergone a metamorphosis in recent years to now offer aesthetically pleasing designs, functionality and performance. The 2023 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge PHEV is no exception.
A premium midsize SUV, it’s an oft forgotten offering among rivals like the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC. The irony is, it’s the best of the bunch. From its Thor’s hammer inspired matrix LED headlights to its contemporary looks, it’s a pretty thing too.
To add a bit of sporting flair, external trim elements, such as the grille, mirrors and roof rails, are now painted in gloss black, except for the Volvo logo itself. It provides for an aggressive yet elegant style, that looks extra good on our Crystal White test vehicle.
Available in one spec – Ultimate – and nine exterior colours (including Black Stone, Onyx Black, Denim Blue, Fusion Red, Thunder Grey, Platinum Grey, Silver Dawn and Bright Dusk), the XC60 features 21-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. These too have hints of black.
At the rear are a set of trademark Volvo LED taillights and thankfully no fake exhaust. Inside, the latest generation of the XC60 sports an interior that is not only functional, but is aesthetically pleasing.
A 9.0-inch vertical display controls all your functions, from climate control to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Volvo has partnered with Google to deliver the guts of their technology platform, including the tech brand’s Maps, Assistant and Play Store.
It makes it all feel somewhat familiar even the first time you use it. Below the screen is a physical volume knob, a rarity in modern cars but one that we love. It makes for a sophisticated look, as does the classy looking dash speaker with an aluminium surround.
The latter is part of the Bowers and Wilkins sound system that’s included at this specification level, along with a panoramic roof. Across the dashboard are soft touch materials and a leatherette finish with some contrasting stitching.
A physical gear shifter sits in the middle of the centre console, and there are roller shutter style covers for the two decent-sized cup holders and other storage areas. These help keep the interior looking sleek and minimalistic.
Instead of a traditional push button start, you have knob which you turn, instead. Behind the ergonomically designed and distinctly Volvo steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital cluster, which offers plenty of information.
The graphics are a little on the darker side though, which can make it hard to read. Once you’ve parked yourself in the heated and vented Nappa leather seats though, you’ll be blown away by the sheer levels of comfort and nothing else will matter.
When you finally look around after slipping into a relaxed catatonic state, you’ll also notice that the door bins are big enough for large water bottles, that there’s a wireless phone charger, and that the front seats have memory functions.
Your passengers in the second row will relish the good amount of head and leg room on offer, as well as the two USB-C charging ports, centre arm rest with pop-out cup holders and the coolest thing in the whole car – the built-in booster seats.
There’s 468-litres of boot space too, and that’s with the seats up. You can even lower the car’s ride height from back there with the push of a button, thanks to its air suspension. The Volvo XC60 Recharge is legitimately the most family friendly thing we’ve ever driven.
On a side note, there are just two optional add-ons for the XC60 Recharge, a climate pack that adds heated headlight cleaning, and a front seat massager. You don’t buy a Volvo just for the luxury though, as their reputation for safety is second to none.
There’s a tonne of it too, including autonomous emergency breaking with pedestrian detection, a 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, radar cruise control and pilot assist.
The latter is almost semi-autonomous driving but is more like wrestling a bear thanks to the fact it seemed to always be trying to decide if it was in the wrong lane or not.
But it’s the unbelievable performance and range that makes Volvo’s XC60 Recharge Ultimate T8 one of the best hybrid’s on the market. It combines the right amount of sportiness, without compromising range, comfort and practicality.
That’s thanks to its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine, which is paired with an electric motor, to produce a combined output of 340kW of power and 709Nm of torque.
All that goodness is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed torque converter automatic, allowing the XC60 T8 Recharge Ultimate T8 to sprint from to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds. Not bad for a car that tips the scales at around 2,100kg.
The Volvo offers multiple driving modes, including Hybrid, Power, Pure and Off Road, and will coast in EV mode for up to 77km. If that’s not enough, there are also three different options for how you’d like the car to regenerate power for the battery.
On the road, the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge PHEV does not disappoint, it is incredibly quiet and comfortable. Gear changes are smooth and seamless. The air suspension makes it feel like you’re floating on air too. If you feel the need for speed, that’s on tap too.
Just switch the car to Power mode and it stiffens up the suspension and steering to allow for more direct driving. Fuel consumption is a claimed 1.6-litres/100km but real world testing across multiple driving scenarios delivered 6.5-litres/100km.
You can expect a real world driving range of around 950km from a single tank, while the 18.8kwh battery should charge in around six hours. If you need to tow, it can do that too, with a 2,250kg braked capacity.
All-in-all, the 2023 Volvo XC60 Recharge Ultimate T8 Plug-in Hybrid is an incredibly well-balanced SUV. Not only does it tick the boxes on looks and styling, but it also excels in performance, comfort, practicality and most importantly, fuel economy.
It should set you back around $113,400 drive away, depending on your paint colour choice (that’s without the optional extras). You can build your own on the Volvo Cars Australia website. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Volvo Cars Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Volvo XC60 Recharge Ultimate T8 Plug-in Hybrid, contact your local Volvo dealer.