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First Drive

First Drive: Volvo XC60 PHEV

The story:
Volvo has increased the range on its XC60 plug-in hybrid as part of a model-year change
Category:Premium SUV
Key rival:Audi Q5
Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine R-Design Pro
MPG:122.8 mpg
On sale:Now

Plug-in hybrid SUVs from premium brands are growing in number, with Audi’s Q5 getting a PHEV variant last year, the BMW X3 imminent and Mercedes also not far off adding a PHEV GLC, but the Volvo XC60 was first to market by some distance.

So far in fact that it recently improved the range of its T8 powertrain, switching the previous 10.4kWh battery for a 11.6kWh version, taking the official range figures on battery alone from up to 23.0 miles to 27.3-33.0 miles, depending on model specification and wheel size.

Emissions run from 47g/km for the R-Design, Inscription and Inscription Pro trim levels to 52g/km for R Design Pro. From next month, that means a three-band company car BiK difference; the range of over 30 miles on cars with smaller wheels puts them into the 12% BiK band, rather than the 15% of the R-Design Pro, if they stay under 50g/km with WLTP figures.

First Drive- 11th May 2020- Volve XC60- Image 2The benefits of plug-in hybrid systems are two-fold, with the efficient battery generally mated to a powerful petrol motor. The XC60 develops a combined 390hp from the two, enough to get the car from rest to 60mph in just 5.5 seconds.

The downside is the cost. Although this is the range-topper at almost £60,000, the plug-in hybrid starts from just under £55,000 in R-Design form, which is a lot of money, if in line with Audi and BMW pricing. It’s more than £12,000 up on the 197hp diesel, but that money can be made back in BiK and on fuel (if the car is and charged diligently), although run it without charging and it’ll return low-30s mpg.

paul barker

The verdict

It’s expensive, but the BiK benefits and efficiency if used correctly help well and truly claw that back.