Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Sublime V60’s sweet and lowdown

OF all the plug-in hybrids that have come to market, the Volvo V60 has to be one of the most accomplished. No wonder then that it has become a best-seller in Europe.

OF all the plug-in hybrids that have come to market, the Volvo V60 has to be one of the most accomplished. No wonder then that it has become a best-seller in Europe.

The Volvo D6 AWD Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav test car not only looked the business — its cracking red livery aptly named Passion Red was a standout part of its overall impact — but it also proved a top performer in the plug-in hybrid stakes.

This is what I have come to expect from Volvo, a car maker that strikes me always as striving to deliver the best to those people that buy its products.

The test car, the Volvo D6 AWD Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav, was a study in sublime achievement. My only reservation was its low profile inside the cabin that may have been as a result of the tapering roofline.



But overall the inside of this car was sumptuous and would have sat easily in a car costing a lot more.

Thoroughness is another trait of Volvo in all of its models. (It was first to come up with the diesel-fuelled plug-in hybrid and must be given credit for that.) To give you an idea of how thorough, the electronic version of the “quick” guide to the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is some 20 pages long.

But then if you bought a V60 Plug-in Hybrid with the same spec as the test car you would pay just over £54,000. For that money you get a lot of car, so it would be worth spending some time learning about it to get the best out of it during your years as an owner.

There was a time when Volvo owners were proud of how their last model topped 200,000 miles and was still going strong. Though the tendency in the modern age is for owners to change their cars more often, you could still look at longevity of ownership of a Volvo, because the build quality is simply so good.

And on the Volvo D6 AWD Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav test car, this would be no exaggeration. For in that overall cost there comes various equipment “packs” that make for an even better car.

For example, the Driver Support Pack costs an extra £1,900 and includes goodies essential for the modern driver. Motorists today need all the help they can get on the road and Volvo delivers this in spades.

It may be that certain drivers are still reluctant to go down the plug-in road. Yet you would not have to be a genius to realize that the “green” cars of today are the tip of the iceberg.

This is only the beginning of new technology in cars — as indeed it is in everything from a mobile to a tablet and beyond. As with computers, I think that with cars the possibilities are infinite.

It may be that drivers feel they cannot cope with the practicalities of running hybrid or even all-electric cars — but once you adapt, surely it will be worthwhile.

The economics of it for a start make sense: fuel prices may have dipped sharply, yet they are rising and will always be an issue for motorists.

So owning a car like the V60 Plug-in Hybrid makes sense. In day to day terms of running one, you would soon get into the swing of it. It’s rather like owning the smartest of smartphones — they all have to be cared for and charged up to function.

With the V60 Plug-in Hybrid, the technology brings together a rear axle-mounted 69bhp electric motor with a robust 212bhp 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel engine.

The range for the battery-driven electric engine is just over 30 miles, and because it emits zero emissions in this mode the car qualifies for a £5,000 government grant towards its initial purchase.

Fuel figures claimed this full diesel-electric hybrid come in at 155mpg and average emissions of 48g/km carbon dioxide. When in all-wheel drive sports estate mode the V60 is capable of very robust power, delivering 0 to 62mph in 6.2 seconds.

This particular Volvo hybrid is the big daddy of them all at present: a best-seller in Europe and worth seriously considering if you want to take the hybrid route.

Test car: Volvo D6 AWD Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav

Model as tested: price £54,075

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid can be recharged from a power outlet at home or in a car park. A full charge can take from 3.5 hours to 7.5 hours depending on amperage.

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid R-Design features a number of unique interior and exterior features that create a sporty  presence.



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