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2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge long-term update: Family life and getting to work

Our long-term Volvo is a great tool for hauling both family members and video equipment.

Right at home at... my home.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

I've been living with our long-term 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge for the last few months, and it's come in handy as both a family hauler and daily driver. But I've also pressed the XC60 into service as a video production workhorse, and turns out, it excels at that, too.

Compact crossovers like this are great as video chase cars. The cargo area has a wide aperture from which to shoot, and the XC60's flat hood and minimal body sculpting makes it easy to affix suction cups for camera rigs. It's been a great tool to have.

The XC60's 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space has no trouble handling all our gear. What I appreciate most is the carpeted interior throughout the cargo hold -- past long-term cars I've tested have had mostly plastic trim pieces, and they easily get scratched by our hard Pelican cases. The Volvo, meanwhile, looks fresh as the day it arrived.

The XC60 is a behind-the-scenes star.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

When the Volvo isn't hauling camera gear, I'm using it to move hockey bags, golf bags, fishing gear, boat accessories and other tools. The 60/40 split rear bench seat is great -- I can lay the smaller side flat to accommodate 6- or 7-foot fishing rods, as well as hockey sticks.

As for the rest of the interior, I absolutely love the City Weave seat fabric -- this material would look awesome on a suit. Everyone who pokes their head in the interior compliments the seats. Thankfully, they aren't just for show -- these seats are comfortable and perfect for family road trips.

However, the light leather makes me worry. It looks nice when it's new and clean, but I would never spec a car like this, especially with kids climbing in and out of the XC60, putting their dirty hands all over everything. I remember a similar issue with one of our long-term Chrysler Pacifica minivans: Light leather like this just looks gross over time, and common touch points like the steering wheel will tarnish quicker than others. I feel like I'm always on high alert to keep the XC60's interior clean -- though perhaps that's because it's so all-around beautiful.

The XC60's infotainment system is nice, though I wish it supported wireless Apple CarPlay. The big screen is easy to use and decently responsive, and our tester's optional Harman Kardon premium sound package ($800) is worth every penny. From rap to acoustic to rock to talk radio, everything that comes out of the speakers sounds great.

I wish CarPlay was wireless.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The driver-assistance tech here is pretty hit or miss. Pilot Assist -- which combines adaptive cruise control and lane centering -- is a boon for road trips. It keeps the car nicely centered in its lane without any bobbing around. The adaptive cruise control is smooth, too, especially in stop-and-go traffic. It definitely makes long drives easier.

On the other hand, the Volvo's forward-collision warning is sensitive. Going down curvy residential streets with vehicles parallel parked on the sides, the car will often think you're going to hit something and alert you to brake. It's really jarring and could definitely be tuned better.

As for driving, the plug-in hybrid powertrain has plenty of pep; I never feel like I need more power. I've only been able to plug the Volvo in about 50% of the time, and I love being able to pull out of my driveway and cruise down the street only using electric power. It'd be nice if the EV range was longer than 19 miles, though, which is a lot shorter than you think.

Still, that's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, and I'm enjoying life with our long-term XC60 T8. It's been a great workhorse and family schlepper, and I'll be reluctant to let this one go.