Electrification is rapidly becoming a production inevitability with more automakers pledging to have all-electric lineups in the next few years. However, it’s also well known that not everyone is willing to embrace the cord just yet. As such a middle ground is needed, and Volvo thinks its Recharge lineup of plug-in hybrid models strike the perfect balance, but does it really serve as the perfect entry point for green customers? We went for a spin in the 2022 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge to see if it succeeds in doing just that.
XC60 Recharge Strives To Create Perfect Balance
When you look at the Volvo XC60, it’s obvious that Volvo is trying to create an offering that doesn’t stray too far from some of the core essentials that have made the brand a good value play for luxury buyers. Unlike many pure EVs, the PHEV version of the XC60 takes full advantage of its plug-in hybrid nature, and the styling here reflects this, with the front fascia featuring a simple-looking chrome front grille that compliments the sleek headlights and the traditionally styled lower bumper.
The side profile is typical SUV, with the XC60’s boxy shape playing nicely with Volvo’s traditional design cues. T8 models get stylish 21-inch wheels and the rear gets adorned with spiffy T8 badging. While the overall presentation is not as wild as the C40 BEV we recently tested, Volvo is not out to push boundaries with the XC60 Recharge. Instead, it wants to give customers a familiar canvas and introduce them to electrification gradually. This also follows in lockstep with a few of its other plug-in rivals that are adding green technology to their offerings but are going by the same playbook to entice customers in.
Simple Interior Delivers The Goods On Luxury, Infotainment Still Buggy
Volvo interiors are always known for walking a fine line between simplicity and world-class elegance, and from some angles, it would seem that XC60s, like our tester, are doing a good job of imitating their bigger corporate cousin, the XC90. The space is quiet and comfortable, with both rows of seats offering plenty of room for adult-sized passengers. The warm wood trim mixes with elegant leather and high-quality materials to create a space that you would expect from a proper Volvo offering.
With the interior doing its best to wow the audience with its features (the sunroof is a very expansive piece), it’s a pity that it’s once again let down by the Volvo Sensus infotainment system. Like before, the screen is crisp, and the graphics shine in impressive HD quality, but that’s before you rip off the mask and expose the rotten software underneath. It’s still slow and constricted by some of Volvo’s odd programming choices. We experienced considerable amounts of lag when navigating around, and accessing the home menu is like going through a virtual maze; that’s in stark contrast to some of its other rivals, where menus and sub-categories are neatly organized, and accessing them doesn’t make you feel like you’re embarking on a Dungeons and Dragons adventure with a Dungeon Master who’s only been on the job for one day.
Folding down the rear seats allowed our tester to swallow an impressive amount of cargo, but there’s a small number of cubbies onboard, and as a result, storage space is extremely limited beyond the confines of the rear cargo area.
Potent Performance Lurks Under The Hood
A key change for 2023 is that the XC60 is limited to three engines, but they are all potent engines, especially if you’re willing to climb up the trim ladder. The base model is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged hybrid four-cylinder (dubbed B5), while mid-range models get a beefier B6 engine that uses twin-charging. Move up to a T8 Recharge like our example, and you’ll get the same B6, but it’s paired with a pair of electric motors that help boost power to 455 hp.
This is an impressive amount of power, but while it doesn’t inspire track day ambitions like the Porsche Macan, the engine setup allows the Recharge to have confident driving manners when out in the city or on the freeway. The suspension in our tester can absorb a wide range of road imperfections, but there were occasions when the suspension felt too harsh, especially when our tester was placed into sport mode. Braking in our tester was composed, but buyers looking for more assertiveness should go into the more performance-oriented Polestar model.
Recharge models also come with a pure EV mode, but while Volvo bumped the range up to 36 miles versus the year before, this is still a mode that’s meant for urban commuting, and the system will deliver sluggish acceleration when asked to do any form of freeway commuting. Thankfully, the cord here is much longer than the C40’s, and that extra length was a welcome convivence, especially at our office, where we were able to easily reach both of the plugs we use for charging EVs. The combined powerplant is also capable of achieving an EPA estimated 63 MPGe but during our time with it, we came up a bit short and only ended up getting 54 MPGe on average.
the @volvocarusa #xc60recharge has made itself at home here at the #office and we’re glad the cord is long enough for our setup Oh and for those #curious why I don’t have a #chargingstation installed here at the #office this #vid answers that too. #fyp #ev #suvsoftiktok #suvs #volvo #phev #greenmachine
Pricing for the 2023 Volvo XC60 Recharge starts at $58,495, which gets you a base Core model, while the mid-range Plus model adds $4,250 to that total. Move up to the Ultimate model, and you get to tack on $9,750 which causes the base price to go up to $68,245. This pricing is cheaper than some of its plug-in rivals, but it also highlights a unique problem that the XC60 Recharge has. For roughly the same amount of money, you can get rivals that have better infotainment technology and also more luxury features than what the Volvo has to offer.
That said, few of these plug-in rivals offer the unique level of usability that the Volvo XC60 Recharge brings to the table. The over 30 miles of pure EV range allows the XC60 (and other Recharge models) to stretch their driving range and is enough for a typical day of commuting. In addition, these models also serve as welcome gateways into electrification and allow buyers to learn the basics before they switch to a pure BEV model.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.