Eco-friendly Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge is a speed demon that powers above the rest

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Eco-friendly Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge is a speed demon that powers above the rest

Prashirwin Naidu

The new Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge is a quick-paced, superb, family-friendly modern SUV. 

Don't be fooled by its unassuming looks or the hefty price tag. 

This being a T model means it is blessed with extra flair. Fast and sure-footed, this is an innovative people mover. But one would never tell based on its looks.

Thanks to a 107-kilowatt electric motor kicking out 309 Neuton metres of torque, it is mighty, powered by an 18.8kWh battery placed in the central tunnel. Combined with a 2l turbo-charged-petrol unit with four cylinders, it produces up to 228kW and 400Nm of torque.

With both working like ebony and ivory in perfect harmony, power is channelled to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It gushes an incredible power output of 340kW and 709Nm of torque. As one would imagine, it's blisteringly quick. 

Volvo says the XC60 T8 sprints from 0 to 100km/h in about 4.8 seconds. That is super-fast. 

Although it incorporates a hybrid motor that works with the petrol engine, it's also eco-friendly. It has so much power, yet it maintains its green credentials. This is a car with a conscience. 

Design-wise, one could marvel at it all day, with its fine lines and curvaceously tapered silhouette. 

The front-end design makes a bold statement with its imposing Thor's hammer-style LED headlights, an official Volvo term. It also gracefully wears a swept-back windshield and uniquely designed hook-shaped rear taillights. 

The speedy demon runs on 21-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, which is an R22,500 option, and another extra is air suspension priced at R27,750. Ride comfort is on par, thanks to its springs, making it a comfy daily commute.

The boot is operated via an electronic tailgate. One can also open it with a wave of your foot as you playfully turn it towards the bottom of the rear. For some, that may be the day's only exercise. Another example is the car thinking about the well-being of its driver. 

The cargo room is decent, offering 468l with all the seats up and with them down; one has 1,410l available.

For added convenience, Volvo offers a Convenience pack that includes buttons in the boot for automatic folding of the rear seats. This package also adds a practical 12V socket in the boot, a cargo net to prevent items from shifting, and a 230V three-pin socket in the centre console. If you opt for the adaptive air suspension, you can lower the suspension by 20mm to simplify loading heavy items, as you'll find the button in the boot that you can press.

Inside the cabin, you'll find a comfortable, stylish, understated, minimalist interior upon stepping inside. 

Gone are the cluttered buttons of yesteryear, replaced by a nine-inch central touchscreen that controls most of the XC60 Recharge's features. One also has Google Assistant, Google Play, and Navigation to assist with your needs. 

The Scandinavian Minimalism theme is carried out. Our test unit had comfortable Blond Ventilated Nappa leather seats broken up by the charcoal hues on the dashboard, carpets, and steering wheel. The Driftwood décor contrasted elegantly with the sleek and stylish crème coloured theme. One also had a crystal precise gear lever, further elevating the elegant look.

Boasting the premium lounge package for R33,500, we got a panoramic sunroof and a Bowers & Wilkins audio sound system, which was pretty spectacular. 

A few more amenities included a 360-degree camera for R15,500, a head-up display for an additional R33,500, a Climate package, keyless entry, a heated steering wheel and wireless inductive centre charging. The Volvo also came with an Air Purifier function.

Volvo's attention to comfort extends to the seats, with front seats featuring heating and four-way lumbar support as standard, ensuring a pleasant ride. The optional memory function for the driver's seat (standard on all Pro models) automatically adjusts the seat and door mirrors to your preferred positions at the touch of a button.

Rear passengers benefit from ample headroom. The rear knee room is generous, and the XC60 Recharge's light-coloured interior and large side windows create an airy atmosphere in the back.

Some nifty safety features of the XC60 were an R22,500 Driver Assist Package, which adds semi-autonomous driving capabilities and blind-spot monitoring, with rear cross-traffic alert.

It also had Autobraking in reversing, Forward Collison Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking.

The blind spot information system (BLIS) is helpful as it provides active support when changing lanes; BLIS subtly adjusts your steering inputs. The XC60 T8 comes with six airbags and also has adaptive cruise control.

Behind the wheel, the XC60 Recharge offers a relaxing driving experience above all else. And it truly delivers on the power front, too. Opting for the air suspension further enhances the comfort.

The XC60 T8 electric motor gives an 84km range with a 3-hour charging time. With the battery charged, I achieved a meagre figure of 1.6l/100km.

If the power is drained from the electric motor, and you run the vehicle on the petrol motor, you can see figures around the 10l/100km mark.

Indeed, the XC60 Recharge caters to diverse needs, especially given its potential for lower running costs compared to many competing models.

Its well-heeled competitors are the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC Class, and the Porsche Macan. But the Volvo XC60 T 8 hybrid offers efficiency, luxury, safety and performance. All those elements are provided in great measure. 

This is a superb SUV with plenty going for it. 


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