Photography: Jeff Voth

Road Test: 2023 XC60 Recharge

Last year, I drove the gasoline only version of the popular Volvo XC60, which I enjoyed.

But the automaker found a way to make this model better with the introduction of a plug-in hybrid variant of the premium midsize crossover. I recently got behind the wheel of the 2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate to see just how well it performs.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate

Opting for the PHEV version of the XC60 comes at a steep price, however. To the tune of $91,075 for the one I tested.

That includes some extras added on, topping up the base price of $82,200. They include front seat massage ($1,300), a sweet Bowers & Wilkins sound system ($3,750), four-corner air suspension ($2,350) and $1,475 for 22-inch 5-double spoke Matt Black diamond-cut alloy wheels.

These are in addition to a very long list of standard features on the XC60, with some of the highlights being LED Headlights with Active Bending Lights, a heads-up display, Nappa leather seating and the Pilot Assist semi autonomous drive system with adaptive cruise control.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate

Powertrain: The XC60 Recharge features the best of two worlds: a 58-kilometre all-electric range and a powerful turbo engine that takes over when the 18.8 kWh battery is drained.

In EV mode, the XC60 is quiet and efficient. The electric motors deliver power smoothly and while the range is relatively short compared to full EVs, if most of your driving is to and from work during the week, chances are, you won’t be using a drop of fuel.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate-engine
2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate

For trips that exceed that range, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engines takes over and it, too, is pretty smooth at delivering power.

Combined, the two systems produce a whopping 455 horsepower and an even more impressive 523 pound-feet of torque. That is a lot of power for a vehicle this size.

The powerplants are paired with an 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system.

Exterior: The Volvo XC60 Recharge is a very stylish vehicle – elevated on our tester by those 22-inch wheels.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate

It features clean lines, the Thor’s Hammer headlight design, large vertical taillights and hidden tail pipes for a very clean look at the rear.

The tester was painted Fusion Red, with black accents, notably the exterior mirrors, to accent the look.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate

Interior: The cabin is equally as stylish, starting with the modern and clean design of the dashboard, as well as the charcoal Nappa leather seating and other materials in the cabin.

While I appreciated the ventilated front seats during a very hot week with the XC60, I found them to be extremely firm and was surprised by that. They are much less comfortable than those in some of the competition.

The crossover does have some nice interior features that make up for this, including the panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel and rear seats, the crystal gearlever knob and a very crisp 12.3-inch driver display.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate

Rear seats offer good leg and headroom, and there is a good amount of storage room behind the bench.

Infotainment: Like my previous experience with the XC60, I am still not terribly enamoured with the way the infotainment system is set up.

It just seems a little overly complicated when compared to others I have tested.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate

That said, it does have a nice tablet-style screen, and all the niceties you would expect like satellite radio and compatibility with Apple CarPlay. It offers more functionality to Android users thanks to the Digital Services Package, which works directly with Google Automotive Services and Google Play Store.

Drive: Whatever qualms I may have had with the infotainment system do nothing to take away from how enjoyable the XC60 is to drive.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate

The power delivery, as mentioned, is excellent. The transition from EV to the ICE engine, when called on for more power on the highway, for example, is seamless.

Handling is superb, especially thanks to the air suspension system, which adds extra ride height when needed. On the highway, it will also automatically lower the vehicle for better aerodynamics to improve energy efficiency. You can also manually set it to your liking in terms of ride comfort.

And the XC60 delivers a comfortable ride for its passengers, with very little in the way of jostling happening in the cabin.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed my time with the XC60 Recharge. The all-electric range was just about enough to handle my daily commutes to and from the office, meaning fuel burn during the work week was minimal.

Having a Level 2 charger at home certainly helped me recharge faster, but you can still top up the batter every day with the charge cord provided.

The vehicle looks great, has a very luxurious cabin – hard seats aside – and delivers a pleasant drive.

However, at over $90,000, you have to wonder how many people will opt for this over a regular XC60.

2023 XC60 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate
Price as tested: $91,075.00
Freight: $2,315.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder/ 8-speed Geartronic automatic
Power/torque: 455 horsepower (combined)/ 523 lb-ft of torque (combined)
Fuel (capacity): Premium (71 L)
Battery Capacity: 18.8 kWh.
Battery range: 58 kilometres (estimate)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 8.5 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 1.3 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Genesis GV70, Lexus UX 250h, Lincoln Nautilus, Mercedes-Benz GLC
Website: Volvo Canada

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