Test drive: Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

Test drive: Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

The well-crafted diesel cruiser now comes with an electric motor in a bid to reduce emissions and greatly improve fuel consumption figures. It looks just like a regular Volvo from the outside but have the changes underneath affected the drive? AOL Cars finds out...

What is it?

Hippys rejoice. There's now a Volvo which is both an estate car and one that can make trees smile. The Swedish firm has taken one of its V60s and shoved a plug-in hybrid system into it. It means that for a smidge under £44k (after the £5k government subsidy), customers can have a V60 that can get to 60mph in six seconds and reach 143mph, yet returns 155mpg, and emits just 48g/km of nasty CO2. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?>What's under the bonnet?

Well under the bonnet lies one of Volvo's thoroughly good 213bhp 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel engines. But the V60 Plug-in Hybrid also sports an electric motor which powers the rear wheels. The 68bhp electric motor is mated to an 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed under the boot floor, meaning the V60 Plug-in Hybrid has a total power output of around 281bhp. The car can be plugged into charging points dotted around the UK or at home and can give 31 miles of pure electric driving. Three buttons are mounted on the dash – pure, hybrid and power – but even more noteworthy is the 'Save for Later' button that ensures the driver has adequate battery capacity to drive in pure electric mode later on their journey.

What's the spec like?

It is based on the V60 SE Lux so it sports luxuries such as leather and sat nav. V60 Plug-in Hybrids cost £48,775 but they do qualify for the £5k Government subsidy which takes the price down to £43,775. Our test car retailed at £50,625.

What's it like to drive?

The car's major triumph is that the transition between pure electric and diesel motoring is almost impossible to notice. To drive it's better than any other V60 thanks to the different weight distribution (55/45 front/rear). But because of the stiffer handling and weight (thanks to the batteries and motor) the car does ride a little too harshly for our liking.

Test drive: Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

Any rivals?

There aren't many in the plug-in diesel market so customers wanting an electric motor and an engine will have to head to a Vauxhall dealer and test drive an Ampera or if they're not too fussed about space, the Toyota Prius. There's also a Mercedes-Benz E-Class E300 BlueTEC hybrid for those wanting a premium feel to their plant-saving motor. The Peugeot 508 Hybrid4 and BMW ActiveHybrid 5 could also be considered.

The AOL Cars verdict

We're big fans of this car. It's really exciting to see Volvo branching out into world-first technology, and the V60 Plug-in is a very impressive proposition. It is pricy though, and it's hard to get away from the steep asking price. But the car could make a lot of sense for drivers, especially for those who don't do high mileages (otherwise a V60 D5 is a better bet) and we think Volvo will have no problems shifting the 150 units coming.

The knowledge

Model: Volvo V60 D6 AWD Plug-in Hybrid
Price: £50,625 (as tested)
Engine: 2.4-litre diesel & 50kWh electric motor
Power: 280bhp (comb'd), 640Nm
Max speed: 143mph
0-60mph: 5.8s
MPG (comb'd): 155.2
Emissions: 48g/km

Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid
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Test drive: Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid
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