Volvo XC60 – See the light

Ian Lamming plugs in to the merits of the new Volvo XC60 Recharge.

OK I get it. The penny has finally dropped. Why buy a plug-in hybrid? Because it helps your tax and gives you access to incredible levels of power.

So here we have a great example – the latest Volvo XC60 Recharge. It’s the 60, which places itself right bang in the middle of the 40 and the 90 in Volvo’s excellent XC range.

And the ‘Recharge’, well that makes it a 2.0 litre petrol four cylinder with a plug-in rechargeable electric motor. The best bit of all? You never need plug it in. Instead, swipe the dash mounted, iPad-esque, touch screen to the left and you will find at the top-right a charge button. Press that and the engine charges the electric motor while you are on the hoof filling it up to capacity in surprisingly short order. It becomes an obsession with me and I leave the charging cables in the bag and ensure it is always full.

That means if I want to go all electric vehicle I have a range of around 30 miles before the XC60 needs to burn petro-carbons again. Neat.

Like me you could also go mix and match letting this darn clever Volvo work out for itself when to use petrol and when to switch to electric. All I care about is getting decent miles per gallon and avoiding having to visit the fuel station, which I do, ta Recharge.

It does all this clever stuff in fine fashion too, gliding along all posh and prestigious, cosseting driver and passengers alike in supreme comfort, surrounded by the very best technology. I simply love this car, which is just as well as I spend most of the week inside its stupendous cabin either driving or working on my laptop.

No matter how long the day or the drive this Volvo just protects you from the elements and allows you to stay as fresh at the end as you are at the beginning, and that is no small feat.

I never get sick of being in the XC60 which allows me to mix in any company, head held high, thanks to the prestigious sheen, contemporary lines and plush interior. It glides along with aplomb supporting you with incredibly high levels of comfort and sophistication. The infotainment is intuitive and exceptional, as is the in-car hi-fi. The trim is opulent, the space and degree of airiness combining to form the perfect ambience. It’s a pleasure to be in, it really is.

But when you are in the mood, XC60 Recharge is a driver’s car with stunning performance thanks to the combination of a powerful petrol engine and torquey electric motor. Add their outputs together and you get 340hp which is a lot by any standard and enough to propel a large car to the benchmark 62mph in just 5.5 seconds. That’s quick. It’s the same in the mid-range for overtaking making the Volvo a very swift and safe companion cross country.

So, I’ve seen the light and not just because light needs electricity to work at all. Plug-ins are about tax, plug-ins are about power and, with all the extra panache the XC60 Recharge provides on top of these two fundamentals, plug-ins are for me.

Volvo XC60 Recharge T6 Inscription

Engine: 2.0 four-cylinder, petrol/electric plug-in hybrid

Power: 340hp

0-62mph: 5.9secs

Top speed: 112mph

Combined: 113 miles per gallon:

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

CO2: 55g/km:

Price: £63,750.000 (including options)