Volvo V60 plug-in

26 Apr, 2012 9:00am Stefan Voswinkel

Diesel-electric estate has a 32-mile zero-emissions range and can return almost 150mpg


This is a thoroughly well engineered car that deserves to be a big hit for Volvo. Refinement is excellent, the selection of modes ranging from pure electric to maximum power is well judged and it looks as good as ever. But there are hurdles to overcome; owners are unlikely to ever match the claimed economy even if you charge it up at every opportunity and, at nearly £50,000 it’s almost £20,000 more expensive than a standard V60 D5.

Diesel hybrids are nothing new. Mercedes has the E300 Hybrid and Peugeot/Citroen its HYbrid4 technology, but this is the world’s only diesel plug-in hybrid. We’ve already driven a prototype of the V60 plug-in, but this is the full production version which you can order now with first deliveries in November.

Under the bonnet is Volvo’s punchy 212bhp 2.4-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel engine driving the front axle, while a 69bhp electric motor is mounted at the rear. The result is four-wheel drive, 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and economy and emissions on the slightly skewed combined cycle of 148.7mpg and 49g/km respectively. In real-world driving expect to get closer to 50mpg.

Charging the lithium-ion battery pack takes around four hours from a standard socket, and the first 32 miles can be covered in zero-emissions ‘Pure’ mode. You can even push the accelerator right to the floor without the diesel engine kicking in.

Three other modes are also available. The first is ‘Hybrid’, which allows the two power sources to work together for maximum efficiency and a potential range of 621 miles. A ’Power’ setting extracts the maximum performance possible, while a permanent four-wheel-drive mode can be activated when required.

At motorway speeds refinement is superb, with the diesel engine burbling away quietly under the bonnet - it’s here that the V60 is at its best. A total of 640Nm of torque means that there’s surging pace whenever you need it, but the V60 is no match for the BMW 3 Series or Audi A4 in the corners.

The V60 plug-in will be available in range-topping SE Lux trim only, and in just one colour – Electric Silver. You can tell it apart from standard V60s by its aerodynamic 17-inch wheels, a gloss black grille and front spoiler, and a ‘Plug-in Hybrid’ emblem on the boot and front wings.

An initial batch of 1,000 will go into production in November, with a third of those destined for Scandinavia and only a handful bound for the UK. However, annual production is scheduled to hit 4,000-6,000 units from next year, depending on its popularity.

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Excellent car, with very good fuel consumption, why does Auto express gives only three stars out of five??????????

Shame on you Auto express! Is this because you have to obey your sponsor Audi/VW?????

Netherlands...I think its because like all these brilliant engineering solutions to economy and emissions they end up being priced so high as to make the fuel savings and hence the car totally irrelevant.

For example - why is this only available in top spec trim?

Love or loathe VW, the problem with the Volvo is that at £50K after the government grant you could instead buy a Bluemotion Passat Diesel and fuel it for its lifetime.

Also why am I paying £5000 for other people to drive a luxury Volvo that has real world economy of 50mpg - perfectly achievable with a standard diesel?

Anytime I read about Volvo I'm sure there will be a word on BMW (and now Audi) cornering better. As if this is what everyone wants to hear. I have an S60 T6 AWD with torque vectoring and it will outhandle most mainstream BMW's 3 and 5 series. This is on dry tarmac, and on wet it is a joke to compare with BMW.
As for the hybrid, it is all politics, manifacturers have to sell low emition (on theory) vehicles in order to be able to offer other with top specs. They report lowest consumption and emition possible and at the same time claim the highest performance but in another setting. The V60 hybrid will be popular for corporate fleet managers, the privatiers will opt for the D5 AWD.

If you imagine this car as a V60 halo model, with cracking performance, four wheel drive and a super luxury interior, then the fuel economy (should it be any good) is a bonus - especially for the performance on offer.

The price then looks about right.

Not sure how AE makes out it will get 50mpg though. Is that finger in the air or the results of hundreds of miles of testing in the real world....

Here's a point, if you do less than 32 miles per trip (as many do) and keep it charged up, then you won't get 50mpg, you get infinite mpg as you won't use any diesel at all, just cheap electricity! ;)

I tried to find out the price. Despite being registered through the Volvo website, I found out my information on this website, except the price. Marshall Cambridge called Volvo HQ for me. The price is £45k to £50k, perhaps less £5k govt incentive - this is not confirmed yet. No test drives will be available - only for journalists (??) the colour will be silver (what has this to do with the engine) and the interior black (ditto - why?) and I must pay £5k to Volvo directly - no possibility of a lease and finally, delivery will be "from January onwards"
I liked what I had read and was prepared to pay at this level but not be treated like a dummy - goodbye Volvo.

Why volvo and others bother to send you cars for test is now beyond me. And of course your rankings is real world useless as your top in every category is far from the top in the charts. Which means you are out of touch.

Key specs

* Price: £47,500 (est) inc government grant
* Engine: 212bhp 2.4-litre five-cyl diesel and 69bhp electric motor
* Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
* Power: 281bhp (total)
* Torque: 640Nm (total)
* 0-62mph: 6.2 seconds
* Top speed: n/a
* Economy: 148.7mpg
* CO2: 49g/km
* Equipment: Leather upholstery, speed-sensitive steering, electric driver’s seat, parking sensors, Bluetooth
* On sale: November