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Volvo XC60 2020 review: T8 Polestar Engineered


To quote Ben Stiller in Zoolander, this car is really, really good looking.

This is the first Volvo I’ve test driven and I was pleasantly surprised by all it had to offer. I was in the Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar which is at the top of the range with a hybrid engine, so it immediately feels modern and ahead of the competition which doesn't offer electric/hybrid models. 

It costs $99,990 before extras and on road costs and competes with cars like the Audi SQ5 and BMW X3. Here’s how it did with my family for this week’s family review. 

The Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar is at the top of the range with a hybrid engine. The Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar is at the top of the range with a hybrid engine.

How does it look?

Very slick, very sophisticated, the Volvo XC60 is the Gwyneth Paltrow of SUVs. Just a little more elegant than those around her with a hint of smugness, it’s very expensive looking but also understated. Never bolshy or overdone. This car is a lesson in the art of refinement. 

Inside doesn’t disappoint. Immediately eye-catching are the bright yellow seat belts which add an original edge to the design and match the brake calipers behind the wheels outside the car (first thing my six-year old daughter noticed, the wheels are almost at her eyeline).

The interior of the XC60 does not disappoint. The interior of the XC60 does not disappoint.

External white stitching on the black nappa leather seats and a smooth leather steering wheel make you feel good inside the car. The heated front seats also have a massaging feature and there is a huge panoramic sunroof which extends to the back seat.

Everything from the vertical air conditioning vents, large portrait shaped screen and metallic mesh accents throughout the interior, as well as the cool metallic speakers give an original twist to the design and is definitively stylish luxury. Not just luxury.

There is a huge panoramic sunroof which extends to the back seat. There is a huge panoramic sunroof which extends to the back seat.

How does it drive?

The engine is very smooth and quiet, it felt great to drive this week. The official term is a plug-in-hybrid, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine with electric motor.

Which basically means it runs on the electric motor until it runs out of battery charge, and then it switches to the petrol engine. It does this seamlessly, there is no difference in the way it feels on the road between the two.

The electric range is only 40km so when it’s looking low, plug the car into a regular electricity socket and it will take about 2.5 hours to charge. If you do this every night you’ll save on fuel because without the electric motor in play, it chugs petrol. 

The XC60 is very smooth and quiet. The XC60 is very smooth and quiet.

When I ran out of charge the fuel consumption increased to 10.4L/100km, but with charge it went down to 6.0L/100km. Over time that’s a big difference. Plugging in to charge is very easy to use so there’s no reason not to do it. 

The XC60 has a lot of power to get up hills quickly and it’s a dream to drive along highways. The steering turns easily and the car handles well.

It’s also fine to park once you have enough space to park in. There’s a reverse parking camera, and you can switch views to get a 360-degree view, reverse, front, right side or left side views. You can only view one at a time so you’ll need to keep switching.

How spacious is it?

There’s loads of space up the front and we enjoyed every minute of the week with the XC60, soaking in all that breezy room.

Even the taller members of my family had plenty of head and leg space in the front and all the seats were comfortable. 

The back was very open, my two children easily fit back there and there was so much room between my knees and the front seats that it’s clear other taller adults and teenagers will fit with no trouble. 

Into the generous boot I was able to fit the bulky CarsGuide pram and actually leave it in there all week. It sat neatly along with all of our stuff - groceries, school bags, kids scooters and helmets all fit fine with the pram in, too.

So, at 505L, even though it’s not the biggest in its class, it’s certainly big enough for a family of four. 

At 505L the boot is certainly big enough for a family of four. At 505L the boot is certainly big enough for a family of four.

How easy is it to drive every day?

There is keyless entry which is always nice, and an electric park brake which turns off and on by itself. There’s a power operated boot door and the front seats are electrically-adjustable, too. 

You’ll get two cupholders in the front and a storage spot for a phone and keys, but no Qi (chi) charger. There is a small centre storage bin and large storage pockets in the doors along with a bottle holder. 

Rear passengers get two cupholders and some small, flat storage in the centre rest for a games player. There are air vents for the back but no separate climate control. 

The XC60 has a stop start engine and keyless entry. The XC60 has a stop start engine and keyless entry.

How safe is it?

Loads of safety is bundled into the XC60. There are seven airbags, including airbags to cover driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that extend to the rear (I would like rear side airbags as well, they are available on some competitors). 

For advanced safety all is inclusive in this model, so things like auto emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control all come with the car at no extra cost. 

You’ll get two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix kids car seats in safely. 

Featuring two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix kids car seats in safely. Featuring two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix kids car seats in safely.

What’s the tech like?

It comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can plug in for instant access to your phone’s main apps and use maps to navigate and a streaming app to listen to podcasts and music.

It’s the easiest tech to use. In this top-of-the-range model you’ll also get speakers from Bowers & Wilkins for a premium sound experience. Turn the volume up. 

In this top-of-the-range model you’ll get Bowers & Wilkins speakers for a premium sound experience. In this top-of-the-range model you’ll get Bowers & Wilkins speakers for a premium sound experience.

How much does it cost to own?

The Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar costs $99,990 before extras and on road costs. Note, there were no extras on this car because the T8 Polestar comes with almost everything you'd want included in the price. Even the metallic paint job is included which is usually an extra. 

It's covered by Volvo's three year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is recommended every 15,000km or 12 months. 

The XC60 is covered by Volvo's three year/unlimited km warranty. The XC60 is covered by Volvo's three year/unlimited km warranty.


The Wrap

The Volvo XC60 Polestar Hybrid is a very luxurious car that ticks all the boxes. It has a beautiful interior and exterior, a smooth, powerful drive, there is loads of space and there is the option to use the electric motor as your short-distance, everyday ride. 

It was lovely to drive this week and both my children and I gave it an 8.8 out of 10. They were obsessed with those bright seatbelts. 

 

Likes

Exterior and interior design
Hybrid engine
Smooth drive experience

Dislikes

Short electric motor range
Warranty should be longer
No rear side airbags

Scores

Nedahl:

4.4

The Kids:

4.4

$99,990

Based on new car retail price