2020 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar rating: Excellent, but exorbitant – road show

2020 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Polestar

2020 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Polestar

These 22-inch wheels surround massive Akebono brakes.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Volvo is on the move. The Chinese-owned Swedish automaker currently offers a compelling range of vehicles, from compact to reasonable premium vehicles XC40 crossover to the luxurious S90 sedan for fun and functional V60 wagon. The products are high quality, well designed and, as always, incredibly safe.

To like

  • Powerful and efficient hybrid drive
  • Beautifully finished inside and out
  • A lot of driver assistance technology
  • Comfortable accommodations

I do not like it

  • Automatic high beam could be improved
  • Some confusing secondary controls
  • Unruly shifter
  • $ 73,490

The heart of this series is the XC60 commercial vehicle. This multi-purpose product is the best-selling Volvo model worldwide. The reasons for this great showroom success are obvious once you open a door and get behind the wheel.

The XC60 is luxurious and well made, with a spacious cargo space and more than 60 cubic meters with the backrest folded down. Get this machine moving and it has a commanding flair, especially the T8 E-AWD Polestar, which offers a lot of performance and a rigorous driving experience. It may look friendly from the inside as well as from the outside, but this crossover is nevertheless all business.

Turbo, super and electrically charged

Like other modern Volvos, this Polestar-modified XC60 is mainly powered by a creamy, soft 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. By itself, this gasoline incinerator is incredibly quiet and isolated. In fact, it is shielded so well that hardly any noise or vibrations get into the passenger compartment of the XC60. This thing makes such a great impression of a six-cylinder engine, and a good one, most drivers would never know that only four pots drive their upscale Scandinavian crossover.

A sophisticated intake system helps this tiny guy pull vigorously in all driving situations. A compressor increases performance at low speeds and delivers good torque, but as soon as the speed increases and the exhaust gases emerge from the cylinders in sufficient volume and speed, a turbocharger provides even more thrust. If you put the gasoline direct injection into the mixture, this engine should make 328 hp on its own.

But internal combustion isn't the only motivation for this version of the XC60, oh no. This powertrain is also hybridized, with an electric motor transmitting an additional 87 ponies and 177 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. All in all, the Volvo engineers have equipped this commercial vehicle with 415 system horses and astounding 494 twist units.

That's enough bacon and eggs to get the XC60 T8 E-AWD Polestar up to 100 km / h in just 4.9 seconds. The top speed is limited to 140 mph, although the top speed will drop to 78 mph if you only drive with electrons. So if you're in a hurry, make sure the gas tank is full.

When it comes to fuel, around 40 km / h can be expected in city traffic, 28 km / h on the motorway and 27 MPG with the combustion engine. With all this electronics, the XC60 T8 achieves a total of 57 MPG, which is miles per gallon equivalent.

The juicing of his on-board motor is a battery pack with a claimed useful output of 9.1 kilowatt hours. This is enough to offer an advertised pure electric range of 29 km.

Connect this Volvo to a 230 volt outlet. The battery should be fully charged within 8 hours after juicing at 6 amps. Find a 10 amp socket and this time will be cut in half. If a 30 amp socket is convenient, the XC60 can be charged in just three hours.

It is surely sharp, this XC60.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

A dynamic drive

As you would expect from the number of emissions, this Volvo scooters. The drivetrain is muscular and has no problems spinning the front tires in wet or other adverse conditions. The Kilimanjaro of torque ensures that the tires strive for traction.

Unlike some other hybrid vehicles, the XC60 T8's powertrain is absolutely seamless. There is no jerking or jerking as there is a switch from combustion to electrical energy or vice versa. The battery and motor work together to accelerate and help recover energy when it's time to slow down. The whole arrangement is completely smooth.

When its electron reservoir is exhausted, the gasoline engine is strong and incredibly polished. Handling and steering feel are fine. In this department, the XC60 is neither bad nor commendable.

The ride quality with the optional 22-inch wheels, which were specially developed for the Polestar, is reliable, but fortunately not excessively punishable. In any case, you will notice surface defects that will not damage your prostheses.

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This Polestar model is also equipped with unusual Ohlins dampers. These shock absorbers are adjustable, but not in the expected way. Most driver-selectable suspension systems are controlled via a simple switch in the vehicle, but not via this. There is a rotary knob with 22 different settings on each damper. The closer you set it to zero, the stiffer the ride. Conveniently, you need a jack to adjust the rear buttons, at least according to the user guide. Yes, I don't see many Volvo drivers climbing under their XC60 to screw on the dampers.

These massive wheels not only look stunning, but are also a great picture frame for the Akebono brakes on this model, which are almost weird in size. At the front you will find six-piston brake calipers, which are spanned on rotors with a wingspan of 14.6 inches. I fully understand how important it is to have enough braking power, but to be honest, nobody drives their XC60 on weekends. So if you have Nordschleife-rated binders, this is a real overkill and probably a lot of effort, both in advance and at the moment, time for a braking job. But I think if you ride fancy adjustable dampers, you could have huge brakes too.

Scandinavian elegance

If you've tried a Volvo that has been built in the past five years, for example, the cabin of the XC60 is no surprise. The interior is familiar with first-class materials such as nappa leather and aluminum mesh inlays, excellent workmanship and many helpful functions.

The entire dashboard design is mostly horizontal, but the center stack and striking 9-inch infotainment display it contains are slightly tilted for easy access to the driver.

A large center console runs between the two front seats. It is home to a number of key vehicle controls, including the ignition switch and gear switch. During my week with this Swedish crossover, when it was time to start the engine, I always banged my right index finger on the dashboard, leaned over the steering wheel rim and remembered that the switch was actually on the console. Each. Single. Time. There is nothing wrong with the placement of the ignition, it is difficult for me to overwrite the muscle memory.

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The incarnate elegance.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The shift lever is near this switch and it is also unusual. Apparently, Volvo is also not immune to the fad of the electronic gear switch that has dominated the automotive industry since it was installed in the car XC60. For example, in order to drive or drive in reverse, you have to operate the lever twice unobtrusively. That's two clicks forward for backward and one double click back for the journey. What, am I running a motor vehicle or opening a folder on my computer?

Of course, the power adjustable front seats of this Volvo are as comfortable as the back seat. It's reasonably spacious in all major dimensions, although a bit more leg room would be nice for larger passengers, but this is a minor complaint. Gold-colored seat belts enliven an otherwise austere interior, which is kept in black, anthracite, light gray and silver.

Features galore

I've never been a big fan of Volvo's Sensus infotainment system, but it grows on me like barnacles on the hull. At first, I found this multimedia solution daunting, with seemingly crazy menus, an overly complicated user interface, and often sluggish performance. As my familiarity with Sensus grew, I learned to actually like it. This system only has a learning curve that is steeper than the walls of El Capitan.

Of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are baked in a muffin just like chocolate chips. The navigation is also integrated in the infotainment system of the Polestar-modified XC60.

A digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster is also included. It's wide and bright, but some of the controls it contains are confusing. The operation of the adaptive cruise control is initially a challenge, as are some other menus for the on-board computer.

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Gold-colored seat belts enliven an otherwise dark cabin.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Since it is a Volvo, it is of course safe and equipped with numerous safety-enhancing functions. My tester is equipped with low and high speed collision mitigation technology, a road deviation prevention system, blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alarm, a parking aid, and more.

Adaptive LED headlights light the way, while other extras such as an electric tailgate, a head-up display, WiFi in the vehicle, heated washer nozzles and sprayers for the headlights and automatic high beams are included. Computer-controlled headlights are always very practical and offer additional visibility at night without dazzling other drivers. However, Volvo's implementation of this technology does not respond as quickly as systems from other automakers such as Honda, Nissan, or Ford. In my tests, it seems slower and generally less able to detect oncoming traffic, which was a little disappointing.

On a positive note, the Volvo Bowers & Wilkins sound system with 1,100 watts of tympanic membrane power through 15 speakers is surprisingly good. This arrangement can even make highly compressed satellite radio sound acceptable, and that is an achievement.

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The XC60 is just as pretty from behind as it is from any other angle.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

I hope you sit down …

As with almost every premium product, the Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Polestar is not cheap. The device tested here costs $ 73,490. This Porsche-competing sum is replenished by just two options: metallic paint for $ 645 and the above wheels, which are priced at an apparently reasonable price of $ 800. A target fee of USD 995 rounds this amount off.

The XC60 is certainly a beautiful piece of automobile construction, with a lot of style, technology and functionality as well as enough good taste to compensate for any defects. But is it worth almost 75 giants? I can't help but feel that it's not.

Fortunately, you don't have to spend so much to enjoy one of these Volvos. A base momentum model pays less than $ 42,000. Grab a well-equipped version of Inscription with all-wheel drive, a more powerful engine, and a handful of helpful options, and you'll spend less than 60 big hairs – a price that seems much more reasonable.