Volvo S60 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid Review
Generally Electric

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
11 Jan 2021
 

We like Volvo’s attention to fit and finish in its dash, where in minimalist-style, a mix of good quality plastics, leather and metal combines for one of the better-built interiors in its class.

With full-on electrification just around the bend, most automotive manufacturers have in some way or another fielded a hybrid, EV, or even a Plug-In Hybrid here.

Volvo’s parent, Geely already has plans to merge their engine production operations in-order to reduce production and development costs, since they are placing a heavier focus on electrification.

The Volvo S60 is the latest in their range here to be offered as a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) - think of it as a bridging product, ideal for our current era, where charging infrastructure is not entirely suitable for a nation’s full electrification.

With the T8 PHEV, Volvo completes its S60 range here, with the S60 T5 and S60 T4 compact executive sedans sitting below this range-topping car.

The S60 is a handsomely-styled sedan. The front features the brand’s signature ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlight design, while the rear has its tail lights pushed further out to provide a sense of girth. In order to achieve its desired door curvature, designers have even gone as far as to nudge the lower door mounts further down.

Inside

We like Volvo’s attention to fit and finish in its dash, where in minimalist-style, a mix of good quality plastics, leather and metal combines for one of the better-built interiors in its class. The portrait-style infotainment however, is not as intuitive as we would like it to be, with some functions, buried within the interface. The T8 also receives a premium Harman Kardon audio system that works well with the car’s well-insulated interior.

While rear passengers have ample legroom, the battery which is located within the transmission tunnel, would mean that there is also an awkward service hatch that sits right on-top of it. However the placement of the battery within the transmission tunnel does free up space, meaning that the 392 litre boot remains the same. The space where the spare wheel resides though has been sacrificed, to make way for the car’s power electronics; rather similar to their XC60 T8 SUV.

The Drive

The S60 PHEV gets its power from a 2.0 turbocharged engine, the same one that powers both the T4 and T5 variants, in the case of the T8, is essentially a T6 engine, which gets extra shove from a supercharger, producing 315hp and 400Nm driving the front wheels, via an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The hybrid drive architecture drives the rear wheels, via an 87hp electric motor, that takes power from its 9.1kWh lithium ion battery. The total system output of 408hp and 640Nm, might be an astounding set of numbers, but you are after all, lugging almost 2,000kg of American-built Swedish metal. The battery according to Volvo, is able to deliver a range of between 25 to 45km, and helps the car to attain its combined lab-tested consumption of 50km/l… provided you have your battery charged.

I particularly like how the S60 holds its own around the bends. While it is no BMW 3 Series, it is still quite planted. With huge torque from the front wheels alone, you can expect that the S60 will chirp its front wheels if you do give it too much right foot.

While the compact executive PHEV does clock 100km/h in a brisk 4.4 seconds, beating most traffic to the next traffic light, the Volvo sedan does its best work when you choose to relax to savour the car’s wide band of torque... be it cruising down the highway, or simply meshing with city traffic… And simply let it decide on where best to draw from its battery or to light up a little more distilled dinosaur. 

Our Thoughts

While the PHEV S60 variant does deliver better fuel efficiency, and a more spirited drive, it does cost a tidy sum more than the mid-range T5, and the fuel savings which will not translate to any monetary savings overall. And not forgetting, you will also need to have that space available for a charging point.

The most expensive S60 also costs top of the line S90 T6 money, and then some (or almost the price of another entry level car).

In Summary

We Like

Beautifully designed. Drives well. Clever packaging of the battery. Quality interior.

We Don't

Infotainment is not the easiest to use. The PHEV S60 is very pricey for fuel savings, and improved performance.

Verdict

Volvo’s attempt at a PHEV is a good one… but also an expensive one. 

Car Loan Calculator - Volvo S60 Recharge Plug-In

SGD 265,000 (9 Jul 2020)

This car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1969cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 315bhp @ 5700rpm
Torque 400Nm @ 2200rpm
Power to Weight 158.4 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 4.4s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 50.0 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Electric All-Wheel Drive (eAWD) via Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD)
Drive Type FR
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4761 x 1850 x 1431) mm
Wheelbase 2872 mm
Turning Circle 11.4 metres
Kerb Weight 1989 kg
Boot Capacity 392 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs