Plug-in Hybrids, regular readers will know, are something we like here. They're a logical bridge between gasoline or diesel-powered cars and pure EVs for people who don't feel quite prepared to go all-in on electricity, for whatever reason.
Basically,a PHEV is a fuel-saving gasoline/electric hybrid, but one that also has a certain limited range of pure electric mobility. Volvo's been rolling PHEVs out for the past few years, and we loved the 2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 Inscription, despite its fairly slight 18 miles of pure electric driving per charge.
Under the hood of the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription Extended Range is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine with 312 horsepower. Nothing to sneeze at. But it's paired with a 143 horsepower electric motor. Total system output: 455 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and has electronic all-wheel drive. If that sounds like a recipe for performance, it is. Zero to 60 happens in 4.5 seconds. That's muscle car territory. Best of all, another layer of batteries in this year's XC60 Recharge adds range---doubles it, in fact---to 36 miles on a single charge. The EPA gives it a 63 MPGe rating, and says if you don't charge it for the pure EV, the hybrid operation alone will return 28 miles per gallon combined city/highway.
I have a 40-mile roundtrip commute Monday through Friday. During the week I had the XC60, all but four of the miles I drove were on the pure electric charge. I charged it on household current in my driveway at night and had a full charge by the time I needed to leave the next morning.
That means, in the 200 miles I drove, 180 were without using a drop of gasoline or putting a particle of pollution in the air, and 20 needed gasoline to happen. But---that also means that in a week's worth of commuting, I used less than a gallon of gasoline. And the XC60 has an 18.8 gallon fuel tank. So---if I drove it only to commute---it would take 26.32 weeks----six months---half a year---to drain the fuel tank to empty. Even using my rule that the fuel level never dips below a quarter of a tank...that's 19.74 weeks or five months between fill-ups. Road trips? Remember to plug it in the night before and the first 36 miles are gasoline-free. From that point on, using the EPA estimate for the hybrid, your range is 526.4 miles. From a car that hits 60 from a standing start in 4.5 seconds.
And there are few more comfortable cabins for roadtrips than the XC60. Base price of the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription Extended Range is $62,500 and it carries a lot of standard equipment, including 19-inch wheels, a Harman-Kardon premium sound system, a full suite of active safety features, a panoramic moonroof, and dual-zone climate control.
Our test vehicle did have extra-cost options. The Climate Package (headlamp cleaners, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel) cost $750. The Advanced Package (graphical head-up display, driver assistance system with adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree surround-view camera and an advanced air cleaner for the cabin) added $2,050.
Then there was $695 for the metallic paint, $200 for a power-operated tailgate, $3,200 for a tremendous Bowers & Wilkins audio system, $1,800 for air suspension and $800 for an upgrade to 20-inch diamond cut alloy wheels. With $1,095 destination charge, the as-tested price for the 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription is $72,840.
And---great news---the long-promised over-the-air software upgrade enabling Volvo's new Android-based infotainment system to run Apple CarPlay is finally available (downloaded it myself while I had the XC60).
Yes, a sticker above $70,000 is an eye-opener for a mid-size crossover SUV. But let's look at the particulars---it's a premium brand (Volvo), it's very powerful (0-60 in 4.5) and it offers crazy range and the opportunity to bypass gas stations in city driving for weeks on end. That's a pretty strong combination.