87 km of electric range
The large S90/V90 not being imported into France, the S60/V60 duo is the only way for us to drive a Volvo without it being an SUV. We were first treated to the V60 station wagon produced in Sweden, in 2018, then to the S60 sedan, in 2019, assembled in the United States. If the diesel engine is reserved for the V60, both can receive a hybrid engine, in T6 (388 hp) or T8 (455 hp). In T6 and T8, it consists of a 4-cylinder 2.0 l direct injection petrol engine supercharged by a compressor up to 3,000 rpm, then by a turbo. In T6, it develops 253 hp for 350 Nm, and animates the front wheels. It is combined with a synchronous (and water-cooled) electric block now offering 145 hp and 300 Nm to the rear axle (87 hp and 240 Nm until January 2022). This means that all four wheels are driven, always appreciable when you have a combined 350 hp to transmit to the ground, even if they pass through an Aisin-Warner 8-speed automatic transmission. If the maximum speed is limited to 180 km / h, the 0 to 100 km / h is done in 5.4 s: almost a sports lap.
Between the passengers, lengthwise, is the lithium-ion battery, with a capacity recently increased from 10.4 kWh to 18.8 kWh. Thanks to this appreciable figure, it guarantees, according to the manufacturer, a really interesting electric autonomy, of the order of 87 km, according to the WLTP standard. It recharges either while driving or on the mains, which takes 5, 8 or 13 hours depending on whether you have a 16, 10 or 6 amp socket. That’s not fancy at all. As for the mixed consumption, it is announced at 0.8 l/100 km, a value which owes its existence only to an unsuitable WLTP homologation cycle…
Everything is installed in the modular SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, which is also used for the XC60 and XC90 SUVs. Equipped with advanced running gear, it is adorned at the front with a double wishbone combined with coil springs, and at the rear, a multi-link axle suspended, surprised, by a transverse composite leaf spring, a bit like on a C7 Corvette. Not too much knowing that it has to control the 2064 kg of the V60. All the same !
Nice cabin but…
When we approach the Swedish, we are surprised by the elegance of the line, due to the design team of Robin Page. One of the most beautiful current station wagons! The charm continues in the vast interior, which is otherwise well finished. But quickly, I become disillusioned. The front seats, with electric adjustments, do have an extendable seat, but they are hard! I do not find the approval of the upholstery of the Volvos of yesteryear. Then, the central 9-inch screen disappoints. Moderately responsive, unclear (there are menus on the left, right, and top) and content with rather simplistic graphics, it’s aged.
In addition, in Carplay mode, it displays Waze but not large and yet requires the use of a USB cord to do so. In addition, there are no more physical air conditioning controls: you have to adjust it via this damn screen, whereas Volvo had developed a simple as pie plate… Facing the driver is a configurable 12.3-inch display , not ugly but poor in its indications: tachometer? Water temperature? Oil pressure? Power consumption ? To absent subscribers. At this price, it sucks…
In the back, on the other hand, we find ourselves very well installed and we benefit from a good space for the legs. Unless you sit in the middle: the central tunnel eliminates almost all legroom and the backrest is very hard. This Volvo is therefore a 4+1 more than a 5-seater. As for the trunk, if its volume is nothing extraordinary (from 519 liters to 1,431 litres), it offers a length of almost 2 m once the bench seat has been folded down. Appreciable!
Back to the front, where, fortunately, the driving position is impeccable. Annoyingly, you can’t go directly from P to D, you have to first make a stopover via N. Then the car rushes off silently, in electric mode. In town, it seduces with its good liveliness and its small turning radius. On the road, the softness remains, the soundproofing being also very extensive. At most we hear a few resonances from the tires.
Not sporty but very nice
The chassis is very convincing. Precise and sufficiently consistent steering, well-contained body movements, good balance and strong grip combine to make the ride reassuring. The filtration offered by the suspension is adequate, but not exceptional. And if we attack a little? Power mode is selected via the central screen (which is, again, very impractical: why did you remove the wheel on the console?) The steering wheel stiffens, the accelerator sharpens, but the Volvo still appears a little clumsy in rapid support changes.
That said, it’s still confident and composed, clinging to its path even over the rough edges. And this, without (too much) compromising comfort. At the limit, the V60 is of course understeered but not excessively, and it brakes hard. A nice score! Especially since the performances are of a good level. It pushes as it should, and the 4-cylinder has even been worked to emit a refined sound. Finally, we do not feel the transition between the two blocks, while the box always acts smoothly, and with decent speed.
The consumption ? Driving quietly, you can easily reach 75 km of electric range in Hybrid mode. You can force regeneration with the thermal block (it increases fuel requirements), or by activating mode B, which boosts the engine brake but not to a standstill. Then, once the battery is empty, consumption is around 7.0 l/100 km on average, always in peaceful (and mixed) use, which is an interesting value, whereas on the highway, it is better to count on 8 .5 l/100 km at 130 km/h.
Moreover, at night, the headlamps illuminate very well, but we had to deactivate the full automatic headlights because the system does not detect oncoming vehicles quite badly, especially if they are on a higher plane than that of the Volvo. A defect that we had already noticed on board the Peugeot 308 and which seems more marked here. Another drawback: via the steering wheel controls, you can involuntarily deactivate certain driving aids.