For many buyers the idea of driving a fully electric car is still not a reality due to the lack of charging infrastructure. So instead those buyers either have to go with a standard hybrid or the better option, a plug-in hybrid, which is the best compromise between a hybrid and EV if you have issues with range anxiety. Lately automakers have been largely focused on full EVs, but there are some good plug-in hybrid options out there, like the 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge.
The XC60 Recharge gives owners a small electric range, 19 miles to be exact. That may not seem like a lot, but if you have a short commute it will probably just enough to prevent you from having to power up the gas engine. Then if you do want to take a longer trip, you don’t have to worry about range anxiety, since the gas engine kicks on when the battery is depleted to keep you going down the road. This is why plug-in hybrids are a great compromise, since you can get the best of both worlds.
The XC60 Recharge is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s mated to an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is also standard. With 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque on tap, the XC60 Recharge is no slouch. The powertrain is refined and packs a nice punch, although it’s still not entirely sporty, which is not a bad thing. The XC60 Recharge is not designed to be a performance SUV, instead it places more emphasis on comfort.
There are also different driving modes to help you either use the electric motor or preserve the amount of juice in the battery. The default Hybrid mode makes the powertrain function just like a hybrid with the gas engine powering up when extra power is needed. There’s also a battery save feature that keeps the gas engine on to save the battery for later. The battery save mode is perfect for when you’re zooming down the highway and then when you exit you can use the electric motor. There’s also the Pure mode, which keeps the engine off and a Power mode to power up both the engine and electric motor.
During our week with the XC60 Recharge we preferred to keep it in EV mode as much as possible, but the short 19 mile range did hurt it a bit. For short trips around town it was perfect, since we could easily just use the battery power and then plug it back in when we got home. The XC60 Recharge would be even better if it had an EV range around 40 miles, like the Toyota RAV4 Prime with its 42-mile range.
Moving past the plug-in hybrid powertrain, the XC60 Recharge looks and feels just like the standard XC60. Inside its minimalistic interior is a stand out thanks to its calming feel and clutter free layout. We also enjoy the XC60’s seats, which are some of the comfiest in the segment, which adds to the relaxing feel of the interior. The XC60 can easily fit five people with plenty of legroom and headroom in the rear.
In front of the driver there’s a customizable digital gauge cluster and a portrait oriented 9-inch touchscreen. The infotainment system is easy to use for the most part, but we do wish some of the settings, like heating the seats, could be operated via a button than the touchscreen.
Now for the price, the 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge starts at $53,500, before any federal or state tax incentives.
Volvo has been increasing its fully electric lineup with models like the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge, but Volvo knows that not all buyers are ready to make the switch to an EV. This is why the XC60 Recharge is the perfect option.