Volvo is famous around the world for its safe, boxy, slightly boring station wagons. But it isn’t particularly well known for producing green and efficient cars. A few weeks ago, while sitting for the first time behind the wheel of Volvo’s V60 plug-in hybrid—only available in Europe—there’s an element of disbelief about how this £48,775 (US $75,600) vehicle can combine the attributes of a zero-emissions car, a city-runabout, a long-legged road-tripper, and a haul-anything workhorse. But within a few hours, the luxury station wagon starts to make total sense—especially to anyone with a family.
From the outside, there’s very little to tell the V60 PHEV apart from the gasoline V60 due to go on sale in the U.S. later this year. Only the extra filler cap on the front left fender, which hides the charging port, and a few exclusive trim embellishments, give the game away.
The Volvo V60 PHEV is a versatile and capable plug-in hybrid station wagon, combining the luxury, technology, and safety Volvo has become well known for. The plug-in hybrid drivetrain can yield gas mileage figures well into the triple digits for everyday driving, and the mid-40s for long, 700-plus mile drives without recharging.
In Europe, Volvo has started to increase production to meet demand, but hasn’t yet committed to bringing the V60 PHEV to the U.S. A diesel plug-in hybrid wagon, the company believes, isn’t going to be popular in America.
The long list of V60 PHEV’s compelling features are not in question, but rather the price that U.S. buyers are willing to pay for those features. The sticker for the European base-model spec is $75,600, which is likely to be a deal-killer for cost-conscious buyers. That’s a shame, because the V60 PHEV really could be the one car for so many active families, who are currently relying on a fuel-thirsty SUV as their go-anywhere, do-anything car.
Engine: 2400cc 20v five-cylinder, 212bhp @ 4000rpm, 324 lb ft @ 1500-3000rpm; electric motor, 67bhp, 147 lb ft
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Performance: 6.1sec 0-62mph, 143mph, 155.2mpg, 48g/km
How heavy / made of? 2044kg/steel