Car Reviews

Review: 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Plug-in Hybrid

Volvo looks to the future with its XC60 T8 Plug-in

By Lorne Drury Wheels.ca

Jul 23, 2018 5 min. read

Article was updated 5 years ago

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The XC60 mid-size crossover has become Volvo’s sales leader worldwide since its debut in 2008

So when it came time for an update in the 2018 model year the stakes were high.

Well the engineers, designers and all involved need not have worried as the all-new XC60 has been an even bigger hit than its predecessor.

The XC60 not only walked off with the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award for 2018, but also the World Car of the Year award.

That’s quite a haul for a crossover that has steadily helped Volvo grow its business in Canada with month-over-month sales increases for nearly than three years running.

Thanks in part to all these awards and the publicity that comes with them, the new XC60 has grown sales even further in 2018 with just over 1,600 units heading out the doors of Volvo dealerships in Canada as of the end of June. That’s an increase of 132 per cent over the previous year.

Review 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Plug-in Hybrid

As part of its vow to have electric and hybrid models throughout its lineup as of 2019, Volvo has the ball rolling already with its XC60 T8 eAWD plug-in hybrid model, the subject of this review.

The T8 is the most expensive model in the XC60 lineup, coming to us in Inscription trim with a starting price of $71,850.

All in with a number of option boxes checked off, the as-tested price came to $85,020.

That’s quite a chunk of change for this mid-size crossover when you consider that the entry level XC60 starts at $46,350, but with the XC60 T8 eAWD plug-in hybrid, you’re getting quite a car.

It’s a premium offering with an unexpected amount of power— the same as its big brother XC90, but with much less weight to lug around.

The 400 total hp and 472 lb/ft of torque in the XC60 T8 come from a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine (313 hp) and an 87 hp electric motor. This is combined with a 10.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Review 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Plug-in Hybrid

This high-tech, complex powertrain is the same as the one in the big-brother XC90 T8 and on the S90 so it’s tried and tested.

For those of us who remember the Volvos of yesteryear that were long on safety and durability and short on styling, the new XC60 is quite a change.

This is one sexy vehicle — as Volvo puts it, “the evolution of the dynamic Swedish SUV”.

Although under Geely Holdings Chinese ownership now, Volvo is pumping out beautiful vehicles with exciting designs both inside and out.

The popularity of this second-generation XC60 might be partly because it is “right-sized”, 90 mm longer than its predecessor with more interior room.

It has the distinctive Thor’s Hammer LED running lights/headlights found on all Volvos these days.

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Our Inscription-trim T8 is also a thing of beauty inside with the modern, minimalist Scandinavian look.

With lots of soft touch materials, ‘Drift Wood’ inlays, brushed metal accents and a unique Orrefors crystal gearshift knob, this XC60 lives up to Volvo’s reputation as having one of the finest interiors in the business.

The optional Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system, a $3,250 option, offers exceptional sound quality.

The XC60’s Sensus infotainment system is in one word— brilliant. Controls for audio, navigation, media, phone and climate can be accessed via a nine-inch touchscreen that is so easy to use even a non-techie like myself is able to figure it out in short order.

Much like your tablet, it works on a touch and swipe system with a home button at the bottom that returns you to the main screen if you find yourself off-course.

Our tester came loaded to the gills with a number of optional features including four-corner air suspension ($2,350), charcoal headliner ($250) and Pine Grey metallic paint ($900).

Review 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Plug-in Hybrid

The Convenience Package ($2,220) added the Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system with adaptive cruise control, Homelink integrated garage door opener, a compass on the rear view mirror, electric folding rear seats with power release.

The Climate Package features head-up display ($2,400) also includes heated wipers, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel.

The Vision Package ($1,800) added blind spot information and cross traffic alert, retractable outside mirrors, park assist, 360-degree surround camera and automatic dimming mirrors.

Many other of Volvo’s safety features are standard fare here including City Safety with low and high speed collision mitigation and pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection.

On the road, the XC60 T8 is quick with a 0-100 km/h time of about 5.3 seconds. Handling is more than decent but perhaps not up in Jaguar F-Pace territory. The cabin is quiet, particularly in Pure (EV) mode, which Volvo says has a range of 27 km.

A flip of a toggle switch on the centre console allows the driver to choose one of several drive modes — Hybrid, Pure, Power, Off-Road and AWD that can adjust throttle, suspension and steering response in a variety of ways.

Review 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Plug-in Hybrid

All in all, the XC60 T8 is a look at what will be the future for Volvo with electrification a big part of the equation.

After a week with the plug-in hybrid variant of the XC60, I came away impressed.

However, in Ontario now, the T8 and will be a much more difficult sell as the newly elected Premier Doug Ford has cancelled all electric vehicle rebates.

With a price differential of more than $14k over the T6 AWD gasoline Inscription model and no rebates to soften the blow, only time will tell if buyers will ante up the extra money for this exciting hybrid technology that Volvo sees as the way of the future.

Review 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Plug-in Hybrid

2018 Volvo XC60 T8 eAWD PHEV

BODY STYLE: Mid-size luxury crossover.
ENGINE: 2.0-litre supercharged and turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine and an 87-hp electric motor (total output 400 hp, 472 lb/ft of torque) with an eight–speed Geartronic automatic transmission.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 10.1/8.5/9.4 L/100 km city/highway/combined.
CARGO CAPACITY: 731 litres
PRICE: $71,850, as tested $85,020 plus $2,015 freight and PDI.
WEB SITE: Volvocars.com

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