THERE were some who disagreed with the XC60 winning last year’s Wheels Car of the Year. But then there are some who believe the earth is flat, that you can buy Ray Bans for $15 by sharing a Facebook ad and that vaccines rather than dud genes are responsible for their dullard kids. The most awarded car in the history of ever is at its most imperious in range-topping T8 plug-in hybrid guise. Fitted with the obligatory optional air suspension, it’s a car with plenty of strings to its bow.
Were we nitpicking, we’d probably like a little more pure EV range than the 35km maximum that the onboard computer shows which, like all batteries, gets better in warm weather. When the battery is depleted, you’re basically left with an XC60 T6 carrying 200kg of dead weight. Switching the XC60 into charge mode while you’re on the move will recharge the relatively small 10.4kWh lithium-ion battery in about an hour of suburban driving, but it does so at some cost, fuel consumption climbing to around 16L/100km in the process. In order to get anywhere near Volvo’s 2.1L/100km claim, you need to cover relatively short commutes and not tax the 2.0-litre four-pot too severely.
Fuel consumption is also dented on longer drives in Hybrid mode, where the battery depletes fairly quickly and the engine is left to pick up a proportionally higher percentage of the burden. We averaged around 8.5L/100km on longer drives, although editor Inwood’s six-month tenure with a T8 saw him average just under 5.0L/100km with diligent charging, a measured right boot and a commute that leaned more on volts than 98RON.
A full charge for the battery takes three hours when using a 16-amp mains electricity supply, four hours with a 10-amp supply or seven hours if using the standard six-amp plug. The battery is neatly housed in what would ordinarily be the transmission tunnel. Locating the battery along the centre line of the car and not under the floor means that neither ground clearance nor boot space are compromised. The fuel tank is a measly 50 litres, though.
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Priced at just $14K more than the conventionally powered XC60 T6, the T8 will appeal to those who enjoy the idea of never seeing a servo during the week. It also offers a notable performance uptick, the T6’s outputs of 235kW/400Nm being trounced by the T8’s 300kW/640Nm. That in itself will be enough for some. The XC60 was always a class act, and the T8 adds a glittering array of intriguing facets yet brandishes its PHEV ability lightly.