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2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge long-term update: 3,250 miles in a week

Our plug-in hybrid SUV served as a One Lap of America crew rig with aplomb.

2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge long-termer
Sun's out, plug's out.
Chris Paukert/Roadshow

It's been a while since we last checked in on our long-term 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge and our plug-in hybrid SUV has stayed busy. Chiefly, it safely and comfortably shepherded me and my crewmates around much of the country during May's One Lap Of America, a national road rally that roams from racetrack to racetrack for a series of closed-course timed events. This year's route took racers from Tire Rack's headquarters in South Bend, Indiana, all the way down to NOLA Motorsports Park outside of New Orleans, with stops in Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, and others along the way. As a transporter for one of two timing and scoring crews, our Volvo wasn't required to make it to every circuit, as we needed to get ahead of the racers, but we still logged about 3,250 miles in a week.

As you can imagine, with the need to cover that much ground in such a limited number of days, we didn't exactly have the time to charge our Denim Blue XC60's 11.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack frequently, especially as we were staying primarily at discount chain hotels without chargers. We managed to grab some juice courtesy of the Tire Rack's free chargers at the start of the event and that was all she wrote for added electrons. The good news is, we still got solid fuel economy figures and the T8's gas-only drive characteristics are still enjoyable. The best news? Those stylish Swedish seats proved awfully comfortable over the long haul.

The EPA's Recharge fuel economy estimates call for 57 mpge combined, but without the supplementary battery range, the government's guidance calls for 27 mpg combined. Despite nearly all-highway cruising much of it in the flat, temperate Midwest, we didn't quite manage that figure, hitting 26.1 mpg for the trip on Volvo's specified premium fuel. I'd blame my compatriots' heavy right feet, but it's likewise important to note that total also includes many hours of dwell time, when the vehicle was an invaluable asset parked trackside, turned on to help power our scoring computer setup and keep us cool and dry.

My (fully vaccinated) One Lap crew, which included a professional high-performance driving instructor and a couple of amateur racers found little to grumble about with our Volvo, especially with the T8's generous 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. That said, our XC60's Sensus infotainment system didn't draw many flattering comments for its ease of use or load times (Volvo's new Android Automotive-based hardware arrives in this model for the 2022 model year). As our crew of four was split between two vehicles to allow for space for timing and scoring gear and luggage, we primarily used the XC60 as a two-seat vehicle, folding down the rear seats to max out the available 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space.

Interestingly, one of the One Lap competitors tracked us down trying to see if he could purchase our Volvo-owned vehicle -- his wife had recently been in an accident in her own brand-new XC60, emerging unscathed from her totaled vehicle. The hunt had been on for a T8 replacement specifically with our model's rare City Weave plaid textile fabric, but apparently his dealer was unable or unwilling to find or order one for them in the configuration they wanted. 

Overall, after logging well over 3,000 miles in a week in our long-termer, I can't say I blame the man for wanting to track down another XC60 for his family, as it's a very versatile and likable package.

Even when we weren't chasing racers across the country, we appreciated the XC60's generous cargo hold.

Chris Paukert/Roadshow

Check in with Roadshow's other long-term testers: