V60 Plug-in Hybrid D6 AWD Geartronic SE Lux
claims a headline-
grabbing 155.2mpg! Audacious that
may be, but its
because in addition to a five-cylinder
turbodiesel under the bonnet,
also got an electric motor in
COURTESY OF THIS DIESEL-ELECTRIC PAIRING, running in the default hybrid mode
the V60 Plug-in delivers satisfyingly 'green' emissions of just 48g/km
which also makes it exempt from the London Congestion Charge as well as road
tax-free. As Tesco rightly says: Every little helps…
Recharging, using a bog-standard domestic power socket, is simplicity itself
plug your V60 in and three-and-a-half hours later you'll have
a battery pack brimmed with electrical brio that's good for up to 31 miles in
pure electric mode. And the cost? Just £1.30!
The electric motor earns its keep in more ways than one as it also provides
the drive to the rear wheels (the turbodiesel under the bonnet drives the front
pair) when in the on-demand all-wheel drive mode. Its 69bhp and 147lb ft also
contributes a very useful boost to the Plug-in's full arsenal of 281bhp and
471lb ft of torque.
we're talking oomph we should really mention the performance figures
top speed is 143mph and on the way there in Power mode this V60 can sprint to
62mph in a rather startling (for other road users) 6.1 seconds.
your V60 into a
standard domestic power
socket and three-and-a-
half hours later
youll have enough
electrical brio to drive
up to 31 miles in pure
The cost? Just £1.30!
The V60 Plug-in has the ability to be all things to all drivers… well, at least
three different things, thanks to a trio of driving personalities that can be
engaged at any time using buttons close to the Geartronic selector lever.
The default Hybrid mode gets you under way, initially using silent-running battery
power. In this drive setting the electric motor and turbodiesel act like a polished
tag-team sometimes individually, sometimes in parallel
to provide the best mix of economy and driveability. Not that you'll notice
these computer orchestrated power switches when they occur.
If you're in a 'green' mood, then the Pure mode will waft you from A to B using
only zero-emission electric power while respecting the air on this third rock
from the sun. More good news: apart from the near-silence, you can drive in
the all-electric hydrocarbon-free mode in exactly the same manner as in a conventional
motor without the turbodiesel kicking in so long as there's charge left in the
battery pack (helpfully indicated in the dash readout). And when the battery
needs charging, the diesel automatically takes over.
Actually, there is a 'Save for Later' button that ring-fences adequate battery
capacity for some pure electric driving later in a trip, for instance, in an
urban green zone or in the heart of a city. If the battery is already depleted
when you press Save, the engine will then charge the battery in order to ensure
approximately 12.5 miles of pure electric driving power is held in reserve.
The Plug-in also comes with a practical feature called Preconditioning. This
pre-heats/cools the cabin to optimise the electric drive system ahead of a departure,
and can be easily set either in the cabin or using the remote control key or
the Volvo On Call mobile app. Thought of everything, haven't they.... And if
at any point running in Pure mode you need a real shove in the back, simply
press down hard on the accelerator and the conventional side of the hybrid will
punch in a 212bhp boost.
Select the Power mode and you'll get something else altogether
a gratifying five-pot burble from the twin tailpipes that's in keeping with
its full-house 281bhp (in the Power setting the diesel's 212bhp and electric
motor's 69bhp work in unison to deliver faster acceleration and sportier behaviour).
best use of Power mode and you'll find the Plug-in to be quicker off the mark
than many a hot hatch. However, let yourself be seduced by the lure of Power
(with its near-instant throttle response and smoothly slurred upshifts from
the six-speed autobox) and you certainly won't be seeing three-figure economy
but something more like our 39.6mpg overall test average!
Select Power mode
and youll hear
a gratifying five-pot
burble from the twin
tailpipes thats in
its full-house 281bhp
in 6.1 seconds...
Thankfully the serene motoring served up in the all-electric mode doesn't mean
just mooching along 60mph is available for approximately 30 miles
Particularly enjoyable in Pure mode is the Plug-in's ability to rocket forward
in near-silence, courtesy of the instant torque on tap from the electric motor
(unlike a conventional powerplant, there's no waiting for the revs to build).
It's also a cost-effective way of conserving the diesel fuel in your tank in
heavy-going, stop-start traffic.
One of the most frequently voiced concerns of motorists considering a hybrid
is: What happens when you've used up all the electric power? No problem; the
Plug-in automatically switches to diesel power. Another understandable worry
is range but even if all your Plug-in's juice is gone, the diesel
alone will still take you a further 500+ miles.
Technophobes, never fear all the Plug-in's state-of-the-art high-tech
electronics and software is firewalled out of sight but still easily accessed
and monitored via conventional-looking controls and switchgear.
To all intents and purposes the V60 Plug-in is a perfectly normal family estate
car; one that can be on your drive for £44K (that's after taking advantage of
the Government's Plug-In Car Grant, which knocks £5K off the £48,775 on-the-road
price). Externally, the only give-away that the Plug-in is not an everyday V60
is the additional 'fuel' flap on the nearside front wing (where you plug in
the charging lead).
Physically, the hunkered-down Plug-in is a rival for the Audi A4 Avant and BMW
3 Series Touring, although neither of them offers a multi-mode hybrid set-up.
In the metal, the V60 has strong kerb appeal and with its premium
cabin, it's a worthy contender against even the Audi and BMW.
Inside, it's all pure Volvo; Scandinavian style enhanced by high-end trim materials
and large, fabulously cosseting sports-style seats. A long-time Volvo strength,
they guarantee you'll be as fresh when you reach your destination as when you
first set out irrespective of the distances driven.
cabin life, in spite of the mass of high-tech gadgetry on offer, is uncomplicated
by design. The infotainment system, for instance, seamlessly combines navigation,
audio, mobile phone and other functions via a 7-inch colour screen set in the
upper part of the centre console for easy viewing and minimal distraction; to
this end all functions can also be controlled from the steering wheel, or by
controls sited directly below the screen. DAB is standard, as too is the hands-free
To all intents and
purposes the V60 Plug-in
is a perfectly normal
family estate car
the only give-away is the
additional fuel flap
on the nearside front
wing where you plug in
the charging lead...
Another classy touch is the customisable crystal-clear TFT digital 'dash' display
directly ahead of the driver. This offers drivers a choice of four themes, including
Eco with green background illumination. Our favourite, the red-coloured Performance,
replaces the central speedometer of the Elegance and Eco versions with a rev-counter.
In Performance, road speed is displayed in large figures in the centre of the
rev-counter, as are speed limit road signs and the currently selected gear.
Essential and brilliant. Other themes are the self-explanatory Elegance and
a blue-illuminated Hybrid display that shows key Plug-in information.
Volvo's trademark 'floating' centre console, with four rotary controls flanking
the central keypad, is still an eye-catcher and underscores the sophisticated
cabin ambience and you don't need to touch any of the trim to
know that it's all made from high-grade materials. Fit and finish is first-rate.
Settle behind the wheel the driving position is first class, as
is the thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel
and you'll soon find that this estate is not just about letting you be Mr (or
Mrs) Clean, Mr Muscle or Mr Versatile (depending on which driving mode you've
engaged), but is in itself a thoroughly decent drive.
The chassis is the same Dynamic item fitted to its conventionally-powered V60
stablemates, with fully independent suspension, Dynamic Stability and Traction
Control (to help stop skids and slides) and Corner Traction Control which sharpens
handling by using torque vectoring to improve turn-in when taking
a curve, the inner driven wheel is braked at the same time that extra power
is fed to the outer driven wheel.
The steering is accurate, enhancing the feeling of predictable agility, and
there's as much grip as you need thanks to the on-demand all-wheel drive. For
the record, the electrical four-wheel drive is activated by pressing the AWD
button on the centre stack.
brakes are fine no drama however you stop; whether it's a planned
slowdown, or an out-of-the-blue panic stop. The suspension set-up, while sporty
enough for press-on types, does clearly favour ride comfort no
bad thing given the UK's 'war-zone' roads. In fact, the majority of the V60's
damper tuning was carried out in the UK. Handling is competent and bends can
be tackled with some brio; it's also deceptively easy to get a real move on.
The suspension set-up,
while sporty enough
for press-on types,
does clearly favour ride
comfort no bad thing
given the UKs
In fact, the majority of
the V60s damper tuning
was carried out
in the UK...
Plug-in's pairing of luxury with an unruffled driving experience is best appreciated
cruising motorways, where its reassuring deportment and high-speed stability
(and quiet power delivery, particularly in the near-silent electric mode) lets
you appreciate the amazing 'chill-out' chairs. Put legs on them and they'd be
perfect indoors, although you'd run the risk of never wanting to get out again…
All those travelling in the Plug-in enjoy decent headroom, generous personal
space and fine leather seats. Those up front get three-stage heated seats and
comfy outer armrests to accompany the equally comfy centre armrest. The handbrake
is electric, so there's more space for cupholders and storage.
Making life smoother for the driver are expected luxuries such as powerfold
electric door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking and leaving),
auto-dim rearview mirror, power adjustable seat with three memory settings,
front and rear parking sensors, rear parking camera, fascia-mounted electric
parking brake, one-shot power windows, etc.
You rear passengers will be more than happy thanks to the relaxing backrest
angle, civilised headroom and legroom, generous space for their feet, dedicated
A/C vents, a wide rear folding armrest with flip-up cupholders and built-in
spill tray in case the chauffeur is enjoying himself too much. Even a third
in the middle will travel well, and young passengers can use the pop-up 'boosters'
incorporated into both outer rear seats.
When it comes to bodies versus baggage, the Plug-in offers plenty of options
thanks to its versatile 40:20:40-split rear seat layout. Yet another very handy
feature, for those tricksy extra-long items, is the fold-flat front passenger
seat. A large central load-thru hatch adds to your load 'n' carry options.
Lift the easy-rising tailgate and you'll find less room than in an 'ordinary'
V60 because the Plug-in's battery pack (that, by the way, comes with an 8-year/100,000
mile warranty) has to go somewhere; and that somewhere just happens to be under
the loadbay floor. But there's still 445 litres (laden to the roof; or 305 to
the window line) with passengers in the back, or 1,126 litres with the rear
the family pooch has been taken into account there's an easily
removable built-in dog guard and, should you need to, the Plug-in can tow a
hefty braked 1,800kg. If you do, there's Trailer Stability Assist to counter
any dangerous 'snaking'.
When it comes to
baggage, the Plug-in
offers plenty of practical
features including a
fold-flat front passenger
seat and a large central
to your peace of mind, there's no denying that whatever road you find yourself
travelling down you'll be in a car with impeccable safety protection
the Plug-in is jam-packed with both active and passive safety assist systems
headed-up by its City Safety low-speed (up to 31mph) collision prevention system.
There's a host of safety devices and driver aids, both standard and optional,
including Collision Warning with automatic braking (like City Safety but designed
for higher speeds and motorways), Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection (also with
full auto brake), Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Information, Cross Traffic
Alert (warns of traffic crossing from the sides when reversing out of a parking
space), and Active High Beam (lets you use main beam without dazzling oncoming
Volvo's most technologically advanced model, the V60 Plug-in is far more than
just a very convincing member of the 'green' party it's safe,
fast, comfortable and very refined, and an adaptable load-lugger than can satisfy
three very different types of users: those with a 'green' conscience; drivers
with a penchant for some 'muscle'; and those practical but discerning motorists
with a need for a socially-acceptable load-lugger.
V60 Plug-in Hybrid D6 AWD Geartronic SE Lux | £48,774
Maximum speed: 143mph | 0-62mph: 6.1 seconds | Test Average: 39.6mpg
Power: 281bhp | Torque: 471lb ft | CO2 48g/km