Driven: Volvo V60 D6 PHEV Review
After one week testing out Volvo’s premium Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) here is what we think of the economical businessman-come-family car.
What is the Volvo V60 D6 PHEV all about?
The model that we have on test is the V60 D6 AWD Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav, which is a bit of a mouthful. To break it down, V60 is the car model, D6 is the engine type, AWD states that the car has all-wheel drive, R-Design indicates that the car has Volvo’s additional styling pack and Lux Nav is the trim level that the car has. Easy when you know.
The car has both a 2.4-litre diesel engine and an electric motor to power the car. The diesel engine produces 215bhp and the electric motor generates an additional 70bhp, which can be used either together or separately. Together, creating 285bhp of hybrid power, which will get the car from 0-60 mph in 7.9 seconds and will do a top speed of 143mph. The car uses a six speed automatic gearbox, and has a four-wheel-drive system, which uses the electric motor to power the rear wheels and the diesel engine to power the front wheels.
One of the great things about the V60 PHEV is that although it is an electric vehicle, it doesn’t shout about it too much, it still looks like a normal car and isn’t covered in green energy badging etc. From a distance it looks like the standard V60, which, in my opinion, will help with the uptake of hybrid vehicles.
How does it drive?
Driving the V60 hybrid takes the Volvo experience to a whole new level. You get three different modes when driving the car; Pure, Hybrid and Power. These are quite self-explanatory, but just to be sure we are all on the same page, Pure is pure electric, Hybrid is a mix of electric and diesel, and Power is both at the same time. As default the car will start in Hybrid mode. The car can travel up to 31 miles using solely electric power, and has the ability to recharge via regenerative braking.
Using the Volvo V60 in Hybrid mode means that, at any given point, the car automatically detects the best power source to move the car along. As long as the battery is charged the car often favours the electric mode to keep the MPG up. It feels great driving the car in electric mode; a very quiet and refined ride. You feel as though the car is gliding along, which just isn’t possible with a combustion engine.
The car only has 70bhp in electric mode, but this is fine for town driving; it is a nice feeling knowing that you are moving around without putting out any CO2 into the environment, and saving pennies on fuel at the same time too.
When you are in Power mode and trying to get the best performance out of the car using that 285bhp, this is where you start to notice the additional weight of the car. Being a plug-in hybrid the car has to carry both a diesel engine and an electric motor, plus all the lithium-ion batteries. This puts the weight of the car up by around 500Kg from the standard model to 2,058Kg, and in doing so it does take away slightly from the performance. Don’t get me wrong, you can have fun in the car, but the additional weight does slow the car down a little when accelerating, and it is felt most under braking.
There are a wealth of driving aids and safety features to enhance the driving experience of the V60; Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert, Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Keeping Aid, Driver Alert Control with Active High Beam and Blind Spot Information System, to name just a few. Each of these features gives an immense amount of value to the driver and makes the Volvo very advanced in comparison to other brands, just knowing these systems are enabled make you feel instantly safer in the car.
What is it like inside?
Inside the V60 is a very nice place to be. In fact, as I have said before, Volvo make some of the most comfortable seats of any car manufacturer. Looking at the dashboard as a whole, you will notice there are lots of buttons, but the layout is actually really simple to use, and a lot faster than joy stick operated systems.
The infotainment system is very well designed and comes with DAB digital radio, CD, DVD, MP3, Bluetooth, Sat Nav, and a wide array of information menus explaining how the systems on the car work and giving you the miles per gallon metrics. The V60 has an additional hybrid functionality built into the infotainment system which gives you information on battery levels, estimated range, watts used per mile and charge time information.
The driver instruments are one of my favourite features of the interior, they are completely digital and you can swap between the 3 modes; Elegance, Economy, and Performance. When switching between modes it is not only the colours but also how the information is presented that changes, which gives the driver a bit of variety and assists with matching the display to however you are feeling.
Every now and then you come across ingenious features on cars; testing out the Volvo was the first time I’ve ever seen integrated booster seats in the rear passenger seats of the car. With the press of a button you can convert a normal seat to a toddler seat and back again in no time, now I don’t have kids myself but I can imagine this is a fairly useful feature which will not only save a bit of money but also be really useful.
The Volvo V60 was an incredible car to start with, and now packing the hybrid technology inside the car gives even more to the V60 ownership experience. The safety, technology and practicalities of the car are phenomenal, and adding hybrid in the mix, at only a small cost of the additional weight, really gives the V60 owner something else to be proud of.
I think Volvo have got the setup bang on; being able to drive your car to work and back every day without using a drop of fuel, but still having the security of taking a long distance trip at the drop of a hat is what a lot of owners are looking for.
The Volvo V60 PHEV feels like you are driving the next generation of motor car, and compared to other cars in the market, Volvo are leaps and bounds ahead.
Somehow it seems that Volvo have managed to squeeze in a taste of everything into the V60. It has extremely high MPG figures, good performance, great looks, a zero CO2 footprint when you need it, and industry-leading safety features. All of these rolled into one package creates an exceptional car that is both practical and fun to live with, but it does come at a price with the PHEV coming in about 1/3 more expensive than the standard V60 model.
Volvo V60 D6 PHEV
- Price: £ 54,075
- Engine: 2.4-Litre Diesel turbo charged, plus an electric motor
- Power: 215bhp (+ 70bhp electric)
- Torque: 440Nm (+ 200Nm electric)
- Transmission: 6 Speed Auto
- 0-62mph: 7.9 Seconds
- Top speed: 143mph
- Weight: 2,058kg
- Economy combined: 155mpg
- CO2: 48 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley