2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 inscription | WUWM 89.7 FM

A few years ago, I tested Volvo’s small mid-size crossover, the XC60, and it was cleaned out of the cross-trainer.

At the time, most crossovers were great spectators and practitioners, but today the market is moving, as it always seems, toward performance, yet smaller carbon footprints. Well, the 2021 XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription (a very nice crossover they called it two, or three times) is all over the place, and it’s actually been among the leaders.

Read: 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC Review

That’s because this crossover is both looks and performance, while also being luxurious. Now, the recharging model is adding a hybrid system to reduce emissions transmission.

How is that? Well, Volvo first created an amazing 2.0 liter turbocharged and supercharged engine that I used all the time. It’s more fuel efficient and generates a massive amount of power and torque (turbines, superchargers, torque monsters).

That translates to 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque on the XC60 T6 R-Design or 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque in the T5 Momentum model with a turbo-only version of the engine.

But on the tested recharge, which adds an electric motor to power the rear wheels while a gas motor powers the fronts, horsepower increases to 400 and torque is 472 pound-feet. Suffice it to say there’s plenty of turn, making the Recharge a hot rod when going up the highway or escaping congestion at a traffic light.

Recharge 2.0-liter supercharged I4 turbocharged engine producing 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque on the XC60 T6 R-Design or 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque in the T5 Momentum model

Now know that there are a variety of driving modes that are controlled via a rotary dial on the console. Hybrid allows the batteries to power the rear wheels and seamlessly integrates with the gas engine to help with gas consumption. There’s also a power mode that puts all the spinning pressure on the gas engine, or off-road modes or fixed all-wheel drive to give the wheels more traction.

This is the thing though. I had this through several snow dumps in February, and while the traction was good, there was always some wheel spin, especially under acceleration. My slalom test also allowed the crossover to slip and ski a little, even in a fixed all-wheel drive system. I would caution not to be overconfident when crossing several inches of snow. Again, driving on normal snow in a straight line and cornering at a moderate speed was a good thing.

In terms of praise, the SC60’s ride is stellar, smooth and well cushioned. It hit my favorite country road, and other than slowing down to not flatten a tire into a pot pit, the ride was a comfortable luxury sedan. This model added a $1,800 four-corner air suspension that helps with this ride.

Likewise, the maneuvering is light, easy and sporty. Cornering is precise, creating an entertaining driving experience on the back roads.

Back to the XC60 hybridization. Most hybrids get an increase in fuel mileage from regenerative braking that charges the batteries to help the car at startup and lower speeds, thus extending gas mileage. That’s part of the party here, but there’s also an auxiliary system for fully charging the batteries to provide roughly 20 miles of electric-only power.

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Overnight charging gives the recharge a full 20 miles or so on a standard 110-volt home line.

I’ll only admit to charging through this system once, for five hours and getting 12 miles of range. That’s not bad and for sure an overnight charge would give 20 miles or so on a standard 110V home line. Volvo says that using the 240V line will fully recharge in 2.5 hours.

So if you’re still commuting to an office for work, you can probably get there and probably on your way home on a night of charging, and then the gas engine starts up and the EPA says it averages out at 27 mpg with the mix, or the equivalent 57 mpge only on electricity. It only got 18.4 mpg in a combination of city and highway, but on just one short charge. My bad is that I blame the snow and the very cold weather. Also, the 12-mile charge ran about 8 miles, again as it was about zero outside during this part of the test. Also note that Volvo prefers 91 octane gas.

As with most luxury crossovers, the XC60, especially in this near-top model, is loaded with safety equipment, including City Safety, which provides high and low speed collision avoidance and helps monitor pedestrians, animals and cyclists. Likewise, there’s blind spot warning, steering assist, cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, driver alert system, lane departure and off-road systems, as well as park assist.

Unlike many brands that charge extra for a couple of these systems, they’re all standard here. The only add-on was a smart cruise control system that was part of a $1,900 high-end package that also included a 360-degree camera, front-screen display, and wireless phone charging.

Although the XC60 recharge subscription starts at $61,990 including delivery, there were a few other add-ons, but not for the sake of safety.

The Climate package costs $750 and includes heated wiper blades, booster cushions integrated into the second-row bench seat and a heated steering wheel. Most impressive, in terms of cost and performance, was the $3,200 Bowers & Wilkins Audio System with 15 speakers. Wow, it shook enough that even passengers commented on the quality of its sound.

While the XC60 looks sharp with smoother lines and a lower hood angle than most crossovers, it also has a handsome grille and nose, as well as taillights that wrap around the rear hatch window for a unique look.

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Scoring a recharged XC60 starts at $61,990 including delivery, but with add-ons, the price can go up to $71,340.

However, this look was upgraded with a Denim Blue Metallic paint job for $645 and black 20-inch 8-spoke alloy wheels for another $800. Your call, but both sound sharp.

Happy news though, and the interior is really quiet on the luxury level and offers understated Scandinavian design. This one was oatmeal leather for the seats and door trim, as well as a black panel with gray wood trim that extends to the doors and a bit on the console, all of which are chrome trim.

The Bowers & Wilkins speakers have stylish chrome covers and there is a metal knob on the console to start the crossover. Most cars use a push button, but Volvo, now owned by a Chinese company, continues its tradition of a somewhat different ignition in the control unit. Oh, and the change knob appears to be cubic zirconia, too.

Volvo continues to offer an iPad-like 9″ vertical touch screen. It’s easy to see and use on the home screen, but once you’ve entered a category, you have to swipe it to the left to find all the hidden treasures below. This is when it becomes less user friendly. There are so many options and it’s hard to remember where everything is, plus it gets distracting when you use it while you’re driving. It is best to make any serious adjustments before operating the vehicle.

Seating is great with electrically heated and cooled front seats with two memory buttons for the driver’s seat. In addition, the power settings allow the driver to adjust the fixed side bolsters or extend the lower seat cushion, which is useful for tall drivers. Volvo’s seats are among the best on the market in terms of comfort and support, plus being highly adjustable is a huge plus.

There’s also a heated wheel, with three temperature settings, a large panoramic sunroof, overhead shade and heated rear seats.

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The interior of the Recharge is luxurious and quiet and offers minimalist Scandinavian design. The test car featured oatmeal leatherette trim for the seats and door trim, as well as a black upper panel with gray wood trim that extends into the doors and a bit on the console, all of which are chrome trim.

Luggage room is 22.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and grows to 63.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are manually lowered. Good space for a family of four and their luggage. Plus, if you need to tow something, the XC60 is rated to tow about 5,300 pounds.

The test crossover ended up being a hefty $71,340 that rivals the likes of the Audi Q5 or BMW X3, but few competitors are a bit less expensive, consider the Acura RDX for example.

But you don’t need to pay that $70,000 price tag because the well-equipped Momentum is $42,000 and you can add AWD to any model for $2,300. The base XC60 Momentum includes leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, power tailgate, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, 10-way power front seats, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

For the record, Apple CarPlay / Android Auto is standard, as is a 10-speaker / 330-watt audio system, so you don’t have to stomp towards the B&W beast. The hybrid version of Momentum starts around $55,000 and note that there is a $5,000 federal tax credit available.

Or you can switch to the front-wheel drive T6 R-Design model and get a 316-horsepower engine for $48,500. Need more power than this recharge pattern? Volvo’s top line is called the Polestar and in the XC60 it punches 415 horsepower, starting at $70,000.

All are elegant, fast and fun to drive, with more than enough luxury to make everyone inside feel special.

Overview: 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 inscription recharged

Hits: Good looks, excellent power, ride and control. Large sunroof, heated wheel, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, comfortable seats with adjustable side bolsters, large touch screen, great stereo, luxurious and elegant interior, plus a full suite of safety equipment.

make mistake: There is still some skidding on snowy streets despite the AWD, the extra charging takes time and drains quickly in the cold, plus using the touchscreen (outside the main screen) is distracting from use while driving.

Made in: Gothenburg, Sweden

engine: 2.0L Supercharged / Turbo Hybrid I4, 400 HP

Transmission: 8 speed automatic

Weight: 4,691 lbs.

wheelbase: 112.8 inches

Length: 184.9 in.

Shipping: 63.3 cubic feet

pulls up: 5291 lbs.

mpg: 57 gas/electric, 27 gas only, 18.4 (tested)

base price: $61,995 (including delivery)

invoice: $58.008

The main options: Climate package (heated wiper blades, heated steering wheel, and booster cushions integrated into second-row seats), $750

Advanced package (head-up display, driver assistance system, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera, wireless phone charging), $1,900

Metallic paint $645

Bowers & Wilkins Premium Audio, $3,200

4-corner air suspension, $1800

20″ 8-spoke Black Alloy Wheels, $800

Air Quality with Advanced Air Cleaner $250

car test: $71,340

sources: Volvo, Kelly Blue Book

Editor’s note: Mark Savage’s auto review column, Savage on wheelslooks at a new car every week and tells consumers what’s good, what isn’t, and how the car fits into the market.

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