2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge long-term introduction: Posh with a plug
Meet Roadshow's latest addition to its long-term fleet, a T8 Recharge that'll burn gasoline or electrons.
Tim StevensFormer editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
In 2019, we had a chance to run a crimson XC40 through the long-term gauntlet and this year we're taking things up to the next level. Meet Roadshow's latest long-term tester, a 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8.
Don't get fooled by that Recharge moniker. Unlike the XC40 Recharge, the XC60 Recharge is not a full EV. This is what Volvo calls its T8 powertrain, a plug-in hybrid with an 11.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack offering an EPA-rated 19 miles of electric range before switching over to the 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged engine. As a straight hybrid, the combined system is officially rated for 27 miles per gallon combined per the EPA. But, take advantage of the plug-in nature of the car and the EPA says 57 miles per gallon equivalent is possible. For a luxury-minded SUV like this, that's quite good indeed.
Roadshow's long-term 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 electrifies with City Weave
As ever with PHEVs, it's all about how you use them and we're looking forward to seeing just how long we can go on a single tank of gas. And, for those times when we're not so concerned about economy and more interested in moving quickly, we're also quite keen to put the T8's 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque to the test.
However, I'm most interested in testing out how the T8 powertrain handles a harsh winter. The XC60 has an all-wheel drive platform but the rear axle is only powered by the electric motors, leaving just 87 hp at its disposal. No differentials should make for instant power back there when the situation demands, but will it be enough oomph to push through a blizzard?
One thing's for sure: The XC60 offers plenty of style. The refreshed 2021 model looks clean and sophisticated inside and out. I'm a big fan of the Denim Blue Metallic that our example wears and an even bigger fan of the City Weave interior. I'm curious to see how it holds up to a year of use and abuse at the hands of our staffers -- and their pets.
In terms of options, we have the $1,700 Premium Package, which gives us power-folding headrests, HomeLink and a few other niceties. The $750 Climate Package brings heated wipers and rear seats, but really all we want is the heated steering wheel. $2,100 adds the Advanced Package, including Volvo's comprehensive Pilot Assist active safety suite, plus 360-degree cameras, a wireless charging pad and a head-up display. That paint costs an extra $645, there's $800 for the Harman Kardon sound system, $1,000 for 20-inch wheels and $1,600 for the trailer hitch, a high price offset by the clever way that hitch tucks away behind the bumper. (More on that in a subsequent update.)
Add all that plus a $995 destination charge and you're looking at $63,090 for the car you see here. Cheap? Definitely not, but this thing looks and feels every bit the premium product and I'm looking forward to whether it can keep that up for a full year. Stay tuned.