The 2021 Volvo XC60
Recharge T8 Inscription is a stylish, fast, roomy gas/electric SUV.
2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription
Pros-Stylish. Roomy. Fast. Smooth ride. Safety items. Al-wheel drive.
Cons-Not especially sporty. Little steering feel. Odd square starter button. Costly options.
Bottom Line-Classy compact gas/electric SUV designed more for comfort than sport.
The Volvo XC60 is a scaled-down version of the automaker's XC90. It looks sportier than the XC90, although it's designed mainly for comfort, not aggressive driving despite its rather sporty styling.
Although European, my test XC60 felt Scandinavian, not, say, German.
There are a variety of XC60 models, but I tested the $61,000 Recharge (for battery)T8 Inscription, which came with a variety of desirable options that upped its bottom-line price to $71,340, including destination. Options included $645 metallic paint and an $1,800 air suspension that provided a cloud-like ride on good pavement, although some sharp bumps could be felt.
It takes a little extra effort to climb into the plug-in all-wheel-drive XC60, which has a classy, somewhat minimalist interior with wood inlays, supremely comfortable power, heated and ventilated front seats and enough comfortable room for two (three in a pinch) adults in the rear. The large front console robs some space and has a tiny covered storage compartment. At least the front doors have large storage pockets.
The cargo area is reasonably large at 22.4 cubic feet. Flip down the rear seat backs and it enlarges to an impressive 63.3 cubic feet.
The interior has easily read digital gauges, although the touch screen for such things as climate control and radio staton selection can be a little hard to work without practice. There's 2-zone automatic climate control, a Harman Kadon premium sound system, attractive wood inlays and a panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade.
Being 10 inches shorter than the XC90, the XC60 is easier to maneuver, although it could be called a "large compact SUV." It's primarily designed for comfort, not sporty driving. For instance, the steering is quick and accurate but has little road feel, and there's noticeable body lean when driven fast through sweeping curves-although it retains its composure.
A driver can set driving modes via a console control. The modes are Hybrid, Constant AWD, Pure (economy driving) Power and off Road. I found Hybrid to be the best to use during normal driving. There was no opportunity to drive it off road.
Sometimes the brakes worked in a linear fashion, other times they bit almost too quickly.
The XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription has a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine that's started with an odd console square button. The engine works with a battery pack and a set of electric motors for a total of 400 horsepower and 472 pound/feet of torque. Although this XC60 is heavy, that setup allows really fast, strong acceleration. An eight-speed automatic transmission works efficiently.
Combined fuel economy is an estimated 27 miles per gallon and 91-octane fuel is called for. There's an 18.5-gallon fuel tank.
Many safety features are expected on a Volvo. The XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription has a blind spot information system with steer assist, cross-traffic alert with "Autobrake," collision avoidance that's designed to protect pedestrians, bicycle riders and animals, low and high speed collision mitigation, driver alert control, run off road protection, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping aid, lots of air bags, front seat whiplash protection system, front/rear park assist and even heated windshield wiper blades. Put the XC60 in park mode and the large rearview mirrors fold in toward the side windows to prevent crowded parking area damage.
I felt while driving the XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription as if I was in a well-mannered mid-size, or even large, car. One of my first cars was a well used 1956 twin carburetor four-cylinder stick shift Volvo PV444 coupe (Volvo's first car model), which seemed indestructible. I felt the same way about the XC60.