REVIEW | How we managed to cover more than 1 100km in Volvo's XC60 T8 Recharge

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The Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge is powered by a petrol engine and an electric battery.

Though Volvo claims a theoretic return of 1.6-litres/100km, real-world conditions will take it up to just over 6.0-litres/100km.

The XC60 T8 Recharge line-up is priced from R1.2 million.

The topic of which type of vehicle suits South Africa best is still not done. Is our future electric? Maybe, but it's not now. Is it diesel? It could be, but with Europe doing away with fossil fuels, our country might have to adapt sooner rather than later.

Hybrid? Surely, this is the answer? Yes and no, because even this is still not entirely certain.

However, while all forms of future mobile propulsion are still up for discussion in the South African context, there might be another form of mobility that could work for us: plug-in hybrids. These types of vehicles work on the same premise as a hybrid vehicle, but with the advantage of running on electric power for extended periods.

One such example is Volvo's XC60 T8 Recharge. Having spent a considerable amount of time with the Swedish SUV, it's clear that its biggest strength lies in its ability to avoid refuelling.

Volvo XC60
2022 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge

Solid 'return on investment'

The XC60 T8 Recharge is powered by a petrol engine and an electric battery. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder internal combustion engine is both turbo- and supercharged and linked with an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels. Working with the electric battery, the total system output for this SUV is 340kW and 709Nm.

Expectedly, performance is impressive, and this 2 150kg XC60 can clear 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds. For efficiency purposes, the top speed is limited to 180km/h.

DRIVEN | Volvo's XC60 T8 and XC90 T8 - now recharged with new triple layer EV battery

The mentioned numbers may sound heavy and overwhelming, suggesting an increased fuel economy, but this could not be more removed from the truth.

Upon arrival, the SUV's 70 litre fuel tank was filled to the brim. Within seven days, we only refuelled with R600 of petrol (pre-June 2022 fuel increases), about 28 litres of 95 Unleaded at the Coast. We also recharged the electric battery using a standard wall socket on three occasions. After seven days, we had covered more than 1 100km, driving on both pure electric energy and a combination of petrol and electric power, giving rise to the hybrid system shining with aplomb.

Our driving experiences took place in peak traffic, on the open road, and at various speeds. By the end, the onboard computer gave a reading of just over 6.0-litres/100km, which contributed to the expansive driving range; albeit with a 28-litre fuel boost.

Volvo XC60
2022 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge

In summary

Though Volvo claims an all-electric range of 46-56km when the battery is fully charged, the real strengths come when the battery and petrol engine work together. And when it does, it enhances the SUV's driving range exponentially.

While other hybrids like the Toyota Corolla Cross have made this technology more accessible, it does not work too great when the battery is depleted. With the Volvo, you can engage battery recharging at the press of a button when driving - all the while using as little fuel as possible. However, the Cross has one significant advantage: it's not as expensive as the Volvo.

The XC60 T8 Recharge line-up comprises two models, with the only differences being trim levels. And those by means to fork out R1.2 million are unlikely to regret their purchasing decision. Plug-in hybrid technology is still too expensive for most South Africans, but they are a perfect fit for a market like ours, where the transition will take a tad longer.


• XC60 T8 Recharge AWD R-Design: R1 278 900

• XC60 T8 Recharge AWD R-Design Inscription: R1 282 400

All Volvos are sold with a five-year or 100 000km maintenance plan and warranty.

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