Monday, 28 November 2022

2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge targets eco-friendly buyers  Featured

Posted On Sunday, 27 December 2020 11:06 Written by
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The 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge can go 19 miles on electric-only power before reverting to hybrid operation. The 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge can go 19 miles on electric-only power before reverting to hybrid operation. Photo by Matt Myftiu/AutoTechReviews.com

While the charge toward electrification of the vehicles we buy continues, some brands are taking the challenge more seriously than others.

Among the brands most dedicated to this incoming change, and leading the charge (no pun intended), is Volvo. The company has a lofty goal of having fully electric vehicles comprising 50 percent of its sales by 2025, and already offers all of its new models in some form of hybrid or electric model.

Volvo has the difficult task of maintaining the strong driving experience that Volvos tend to offer, while adapting to this new eco-friendly environment. I recently tested a 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge, the plug-in hybrid version of their mid-size SUV, and I’m back with a full report on whether it lives up to these expectations.


LOOKS

While some people don’t place Volvo at the level of luxury they do its competitors such as BMW, Benz and Audi, these folks are clearly mistaken. Especially in recent years, the sharp exterior designs and high-end luxury interiors of Volvo’s lineup measure up well against any competitor.

This well-designed midsize SUV features bright chrome bars in its signature Volvo front grille, chrome window trim, integrated roof rails, and a laminated panoramic moonroof with power sunshade. Metallic paint is offered to make the outside of the car look even more impressive, and you can upgrade to 20-inch 8 spoke black alloy wheels (19 inch wheels are standard).

In typical Scandanavian style, the interior of the XC60 is presented in a classy but less flashy way compared to some luxury competitors. You’ll sit comfortably in heated front seats featuring Nappa leather upholstery or tailored wool blend seating surfaces. Ventilated front seats are offered if you choose leather (but not available with the wool). You also get power front seats and front seat memory, including power lumbar, cushion extension and side support.

An optional climate package includes heated windshield wiper blades, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

There are very few plug-in hybrids currently offered in this category of SUV, with the XC60’s only challengers coming from BMW, Audi and Lincoln. One area where the XC60 does well vs. this competition is overall roominess and cargo space.

With its rear seats up, the XC60 offers 17.83 cubic feet of storage space, and with the rear seats down, you get an impressive 63.6 cubic feet of space.

The XC60 seats 5 people, all very comfortably. The rear seats, which can be cramped in some competitors, offer a decent amount of legroom in the XC60. And the head room is comfortable throughout the vehicle, even for taller folks.

My test vehicle also featured Volvo’s Inscription package, a visual upgrade which includes the chrome bars in front grille, chrome window trim, dual integrated tailpipes, two-zone automatic climate control and clean zone, Interior high level illumination, a very sharp wood deco inlay, tailored dashboard, Harman Kardon premium sound, power folding rear head restraints, a compass in the rear view mirror and more.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge is powered by a 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged engine, boasting 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. This makes for an extremely powerful driving experience in a vehicle that most people would not expect to be a plug-in hybrid. There is 313 horsepower direct-injected, plus 87 horsepower from the electric motor, to reach the total of 400 horsepower. 

The XC60 recharge features an 11.6 KWh high voltage battery, and an 8-speed automatic transmission with start-stop technology. It has electronic all-wheel drive, and adjustable Drive mode settings. Drive modes include hybrid (for everyday use), power (for more sporty driving), off road (for rougher roads) and constant all-wheel drive.

The XC60 Recharge gets you moving very quickly, and maneuvers around curves exceptionally. For a vehicle of its size, it’s quite nimble and I found it to be much more sporty than I had anticipated from a plug-in hybrid. A four-corner air suspension is offered, for an $1,800 premium, and improves the ride quality substantially. In short, those who are worried about the drive quality being sacrificed in an effort to boost fuel economy do not need to have that concern. It’s truly a blast to drive. For those looking to haul, the XC60 Recharge has a 3,500 pound towing capacity.

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

With Volvo being a longtime industry pioneer for safety features, the list of systems on the XC60 to keep driver and passengers safe is quite long. Front and rear park assist are included. You also get LED headlights, a blind spot information system with steer assist, and cross traffic with auto brake.

Its collision avoidance system includes low and high speed collision mitigation that detects vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, a more thorough system than you’ll find on competitors.

Other safety features include: Run off road protection and mitigation, lane departure warning and lane keeping aid, front side and curtain airbags with driver side knee airbag, whiplash protection system in front seats, and power child locks on rear doors.

Opting for the “Advanced Package” will get you a graphical head-up display to help keep your eyes on the road, Pilot Assist driver assistance system with adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree surround view camera, and inductive smartphone charging.

Audio and technology features inside the XC60 include a 12.3-inch digital driver display, 9-inch integrated Sensus Connect touchscreen featuring smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), and Sensus Navigation Pro.

My only major tech concern in the XC60 is the overall Sensus system, which remains a trouble spot for the Volvo lineup. In the grand scheme of infotainment systems in today’s luxury vehicles, I found the Sensus system to be bloated and overly complicated compared to other luxury infotainment offerings, and it’s also less responsive to touch commands than the competition. I like the large screen, but it needs to be simplified in the future to truly shine.

Thankfully, voice commands worked well and I was able to control audio, phone and navigation commands vocally.

The XC60 Recharge also features keyless entry, a hands-free power tailgate, and Volvo On Call with 4 year complimentary subscription — which allows you to use a mobile app for remote start and other features. A Wi-Fi hotspot in the vehicle is also offered, and you’ll get Bluetooth connectivity for audio and phone streaming. There are 2 front and 2 rear USB ports and SiriusXM satellite radio is included for a free trial period.

Those who want an even better audio experience can upgrade to a top-notch Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system for an extra $3,200.

FUEL ECONOMY

The official fuel mileage numbers on the 2021 XC60 Recharge are 57 MPGe, or 27 mpg when running on gasoline only. It has a 19-mile battery-only range, and can go a grand total of 520 miles between fill-ups. These are strong numbers.

The XC60 recharge is capable of those 19 miles of pure electric driving, before switching over the regular hybrid operation. The charge time for this vehicle is 3 hours at 220V, or 6 hours at 110V, meaning worst case you can charge it overnight. It would have been nice if the electric-only range was longer, but this is a good start.

To put this in perspective, if you have a short commute daily (10 miles or less each direction), it’s possible to use strictly electric power each day, meaning little to no need for fuel fill-ups. 

PRICE

Here’s the tricky part. All the great features offered on the XC60 recharge come at a price. My decked-out test vehicle was priced at over $71,000. Base price on the most affordable XC60 Recharge, without all the bells and whistles, starts out at $53,500. So there is a wide pricing range depending how you trim it out.

This is a pricey option for sure, but to put it in perspective so are all the other alternatives in this category. (And many folks driving luxury rides will opt for leasing over buying, so they can stay in the newest models).

What the XC60 Recharge does is deliver a truly satisfying driving experience along with comfort and fuel savings. So there’s a lot of reason to consider it despite the price.

Warranties include:
— 48 month/50,000 mile limited warranty coverage
— 144 month corrosion protection unlimited mileage
— Volvo on call roadside assistance
— Complimentary factory scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles

BOTTOM LINE

The 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge drives brilliantly, looks sharp inside and out, is tremendously safe, and is eco-friendly. The future is now with the Volvo lineup, in terms of embracing the electric future. This XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid is a strong overall option for luxury buyers who can afford it.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook pageMatt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge
  • Price as tested: $71,340 (starts at $53,500)
  • Best feature: Fuel savings, luxury design, powerful ride, safety features 
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury buyers who want to be eco-friendly and also enjoy their time behind the wheel
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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