2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 Inscription – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
A real graceful dance partner
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
This Volvo and I - with a nod to horror author Stephen King, let's call her Christina - didn't get off on the right foot together. After shooting interior shots of the XC60 from the back seat, I discovered both rear doors had locked themselves and now refused to open. So I leaned forward and manipulated the unlock button on the key fob to no avail. Since the engine was running (to keep the dash lights illuminated for photos), I figured if I turned the ignition off, that would unlock the rear doors. When that didn't work, I reluctantly concluded the only way to extricate myself was to do a reverse half gainer through the narrow passage between the front seats. Although Volvos have long been noted for their well-deserved safety mantra, I hate to think what would have happened had I been stuck in this one after an accident or during a fire.
After that argument, the XC60 and I got along much better. This really is a lovely piece of automotive architecture, from its chic leather-free "tailored wool blend" seating surfaces to its striated wood dash inlay, the interior of the Recharge is a sight to behold. Note that if you opt for the wool blend seats, you must forego the ventilation feature which is available should you choose the available Nappa Leather upholstery. Likewise, if you go for leather, then you will miss out on the power cushion extension which is only available with the cloth seats. In any event, the artfully curated interior of the XC60 provides such a restful environment you will feel reluctant to disembark at journey's end. Our Inscription test model's standard Harman Kardon sound system was replaced by an optional $3,200 Bowers & Wilkins system capable of pinning your ears to your skull.
Operating the Volvo requires familiarity with its rather arcane procedures. To familiarize yourself with these peculiarities, you'll want to refer to the Owner's Manual. But this simple first step is complicated by the fact that Volvo does not stuff a printed edition in the glovebox. Rather, you are directed to the 12.3" center display screen of the dashboard, where a facsimile of the manual can be laboriously accessed. Volvo fudges their bet by providing a 64 page cheat sheet entitled, "selected topics from the owner's manual." Unfortunately, getting locked in the back seat was not a "selected topic." At any rate, the start-up sequence begins with a twist of the knurled start/stop button, followed by a double push of the Orrefors Crystal shift knob into your gear of choice. Why the baffling double push on the shifter? My best guess is the belt and suspenders mechanism wants instructions followed by confirmation of your intent.
Once underway, the handsome but innocuous Silver Dawn colored SUV proves itself to be wickedly fast. Of course, the powertrain specifications offer a pretty strong clue of what's to come when you nail the throttle of this turbocharged and intercooled 2.0 liter inline 4. Supplementing the modest 312hp gasoline fed four banger are a pair of AC motors providing 46hp up front and 143hp in the tail. The combined output of this package boosts the XC60 into the mega-performance SUV class, with a grand total of 455hp and a mind-bending 523lb.-ft. of torque. Given that power array, it should come as no surprise that the 4,378 lb. brute will crack the standing start quarter mile in 12.6 seconds at 111mph, blast from zero to 60mph in 4.2 seconds, and still manage to return a fuel economy rating of 28 MPG on gas alone, and 63 MPGe when utilizing battery power only. US EPA/DOT fixes electric only range at just 36 miles, and estimates full battery recharge at 240 volts will take 5 hours.
After coming to terms with the idiosyncrasies of Volvo ownership I developed a strong affection for the XC60's charming mix of Swedish style, rechargeable electric jaunts, and explosion of horsepower and torque when all drive systems are harnessed simultaneously. Although the Recharge XC60 is slightly top heavy and a bit imprecise on curvy roads, you can still make great time by unleashing all that horsepower at just the right moment. Optional ($800) 20 inch "5-multi-spoke Diamond Cut alloy rims" shod with 255/45R20 Continental Conti Contact M&S radials assist in keeping the platform stable and harnessing the torque rush. Christina may be big, but she's a real graceful dance partner.
2022 VOLVO XC60 RECHARGE T8 INSCRIPTION
ENGINE: 2.0 liter inline 4, turbocharged and intercooled + 2AC motors, 14.9KwH Battery Pack
HORSEPOWER: 455hp combined
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 28MPG Gasoline Only/63MPGe Electricity
PRICE AS TESTED: $72,840
HYPES: Mt. Crushmore Torque
GRIPES: Inexplicable Door Lock Episode
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10