2020 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered: Premium SUV Hybrid Rocks!

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered to give its full name is a premium mid-size SUV from the Scandinavian auto maker. The Polestar name and discreet badging denotes the engineering department that adds extra performance to Volvo products – Think BMW M or Mercedes -AMG in a kind of mild Scandi style! With the Polestar shot of adrenaline engineering the already well-sorted Volvo XC60 is transformed into a serious fire breather with much improved cornering, straight line performance and power delivery. However, it is also tempered with some green credentials.

First off the XC60 Polestar Engineered looks the part with a sleek, purposeful design huge 22-inch wheels with performance 265/35 tires, black chrome tailpipes, a gloss-black grille and discreet badging let people know that yes- it’s a Volvo and it’s expensive.

And of course let’s get to the heart if the matter – the engine, in this case a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine teamed with an electric motor combo with a new, bigger 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery. The gas engine produces 328 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque.   The electric motor adds 87 horsepower and 177 pound-feet; with both power sources combined, total output is a stunning 415 horsepower with 494-lb.-ft. of torque! When compared to the regular XC60 T8, that’s an extra 15 horsepower and 22-lb.-ft. of torque. The eight-speed Aisin automatic transaxle with the dual retuned hybrid power stet up can deliver a very quick zero to 100 km/h run in a scant 5.1 seconds — the electric side motor giving immediate takeoff.

The hybrid combo gives the XC60 an electric-only driving range of around 50 kilometres with a fully charged battery, which by the way takes only .25-hours to charge with a 220-volt outlet.

The XC60 cabin is Premium Volvo all the way with high quality materials, fit and finish. The interior design is neat, verging on almost sparse, but also luxurious in a way that only Volvo does. The gorgeous seats offer excellent support and adjustments. The dash is ergonomically correct as always, with a 12.3-inch display digital instrument cluster, and Volvo’s tablet -like Sensus Connect infotainment system, that is a delight to use. Accessing infotainment and navigation via the touchscreen is a   breeze. The optional Bowers & Wilkins sound system and its 1,100-watts of power is a high cost option, but worth it if you have audiophile tendencies. The rear cabin is equally well appointed, and two adults will be very comfortable with a fair amount of legroom.  There are 598 litres of cargo space with the rear seats up and 1,395 litres when folded flat. The seat belts are a bright yellow by the way – a nod to the Swedish flag perhaps, but where is the blue?

Volvo has always been the most safety conscious car maker in the world, and that is much in evidence with the XC60. There is the advanced Intellisafe City Safety includes automatic emergency braking, oncoming lane mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with steering assist, and a rear cross-traffic alert system with automatic braking.

On the road, what is apparent is the smoothness, and harmony in which the hybrid system works on the XC60. It is a serene drive with impressive acceleration, excellent highways manners and a lithe athletic feel. It takes corners like a sporty sedan. The XC60 Polestar Engineered is Volvo’s eAWD (electric all-wheelwheel drive) system drives the Volvos rear wheels via an electric motor, while the engine powers the front wheels. The Aisin eight-speed automatic with two main modes — Drive and Brake that are used in normal driving with supplementary modes: Constant AWD, Pure, Hybrid, Polestar Engineered and Off-road mode. Pure focuses on delivering an all-electric drive, with gas engine seamlessly assisting when sudden acceleration. Hybrid mode focuses on economy, while Polestar Engineered mode is for performance at high speeds with more weighted steering, uprated throttle response and remapped transmission responses. The Öhlins shock absorbers at each corner under the hood are adjustable by turning actual knobs on the front strut towers through a range of 22 clicks – from very firm for more control to soft plush depending on the ride you are after. The XC60 is very fast and the huge oversized 14.6-inch front Akebono brake package   deliver incredible stopping power with a nice direct feel, nothing like the usually spongy feel of most hybrids with regenerative braking.

To sum up the XC60 is a smart, fastidiously engineered and well-presented premium SUV. It is expensive and that’s down to the killer cabin, materials and engineering. Up there with Audi. Mercedes and BMW standards. With safety that’s incomparable, the Volvo will be a rare sight, but wonderful to drive and own.

2020 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered Priced from $89,150 plus option taxes and delivery. www.volvo.ca