Sharing drive components and integrated technology with Volvo’s XC90 T8, the latest rendition of the Swedish maker’s best-selling vehicle comes to market more powerful and smarter than ever. Volvo’s upscale 2018 XC60 T8 PHEV (plug-in-hybrid) presents a premium and rugged, yet refined, SUV where high performance meets advanced technology and comfort. It is the most powerful two-row SUV in Volvo history. The editors at Green Car Journal take a closer look.
How it works: Volvo’s XC60 T8 successfully follows in the footsteps of its larger XC90 T8 crossover sibling. Both upscale plug-in hybrids use a 313 horsepower, supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transaxle and two permanent-magnet AC motors.
In this through-the-road AWD hybrid system, a 46-horsepower electric motor drives the front wheels while an 87 horsepower AC motor powers the rear wheels. This results in total system output of 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft torque. There is no mechanical connection between the two axles.
A lithium-ion battery pack is positioned in the center tunnel where a driveshaft would normally be located. This 10.4 kWh pack enables the 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 to travel about 18 miles on electricity alone. Total driving range on gas and electric power is 370 miles. The battery can be recharged in as little as three hours from a 240-volt source and six hours from a standard 120-volt outlet.
Regenerative braking, stop/start capability, and a Pure EV electric-only mode contribute to a 59 MPGe rating, quite good for a vehicle with a nearly 4,600-pound curb weight. The twin electric motors and 472 lb-ft torque bring impressive acceleration for a SUV that can carry five people, propelling the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription versions of the XC60 T8 are available, offering similar standard and optional equipment to non-hybrid T6 models. Optional driver assistance packages are available including a Vision package that includes blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts, automatic mirror dimming, power-retractable outside mirrors, and a parking-assist function.
The XC60’s Convenience package includes adaptive cruise control with Volvo's semi-autonomous Pilot Assist, a Level 2 partial-automation system that assists with driving tasks like remaining in a lane and matching traffic speed on the highway, while still relying on a driver as the primary monitor of the driving environment. Optional Steer Assist, which is linked with Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System and Oncoming Lane Mitigation, helps the driver steer around an obstacle if a collision is likely.
A 9.3-inch Sensus Connect screen in the dashboard center stack offers tablet-like swipe-and-pinch gestures. It’s large enough that it can be divided into four independent sections to provide quick and easy access to any controls needed. Sensus Connect provides 4G/LTE connectivity and offers its own suite of apps including Pandora, Spotify, Glympse, Local Search, Yelp, Weather, and Wiki Locations. The main Sensus screen interacts with 8-inch or 12.3-inch driver information displays and the optional head-up display showing navigation, infotainment, and basic information.\
Volvo’s XC60 T8 is offered at a base price of $52,900, about 10 grand more than its conventionally-powered sibling. It’s an exceptional compact crossover providing the luxury appointments and advanced technology we’ve come to expect from Volvo. It’s also a compelling option for new car buyers looking for an upscale crossover experience with the efficiency of plug-in hybrid power.
Volvo has marked the 90th anniversary of its first car rolling off its assembly line in Gothenburg, Sweden with the production of the first 2018 XC60 two-row compact SUV, available in T8 plug-in hybrid performance trim. The first generation XC60 – with well over a million units sold in its initial nine-year production run – is the best-selling premium SUV in Europe and represents 30 percent of Volvo’s global volume. Volvo is aiming to continue this model's success with the all-new, second generation XC60.
“Volvo is very proud of its history,” says Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “The past 90 years have been exciting, but the 10 years left until the 100 year anniversary may come to be more exciting as industry focus shifts to autonomous driving, electrification, and connectivity. The new XC60 is in many ways the embodiment of these trends.”
Green Car Journal has long recognized Volvo car as a leader in passive and active safety innovations, hybrid gasoline-electric technology, low environmental impact, and most recently advanced autonomous driving technology. Volvo’s flagship XC90 T8 sport hybrid SUV earned the magazine’s 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year award.
Volvo's XC90 T8 SUV – Green Car Journal’s 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ – emerged a completely redesigned model in the 2016 model year, the first time the enduring XC90 has had a complete makeover since 2002. It rose to the top to claim the award at the 2016 Washington Auto Show over finalists that included the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, and Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.
Even though immediately recognized as a Volvo, virtually nothing carried over from the previous generation save for some mechanicals. The T8 ‘twin engine’ XC90, the more efficient sibling to Volvo’s conventionally powered XC90 T6, is a plug-in hybrid that uses Volvo's efficient 316 horsepower, 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E four-cylinder engine. This engine powers the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
A 46 horsepower starter-generator motor located between the engine and transmission provides start-stop capability to enhance efficiency. This motor also enables regenerative braking and can provide additional power to the transmission when maximum performance is required. An 82 horsepower electric motor drives the rear wheels. The battery and both electric motors are liquid-cooled. Battery coolant can also be refrigerated under very hot conditions. Volvo’s new XC90 design locates the lithium-ion battery in the tunnel between the front passenger seats, not beneath the trunk as is the case with many PHEVs. Thus, cargo capacity in this seven passenger plug-in SUV is no less than the conventionally powered T6 that has no batteries.
The T8 has several drive modes. Hybrid is the default and uses power from the gas engine and electric motor as needed for optimum efficiency. Pure mode offers all-electric driving, with the AWD mode driving all four wheels on demand. Save mode conserves battery power for later use. In Power Mode, maximum electric torque is provided from start for great acceleration at low speeds with the Drive-E engine taking over at higher speed.
Drivers have the ability to motor exclusively on battery power up to 13 miles according to official EPA estimates with a total gas-electric range of 350 miles. EPA also rates the T8 at 53 MPGe (mile-per-gallon equivalent) on battery power with a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 25 mpg during hybrid operation.
The 2016 XC90 is longer, wider, and taller than the previous XC90. It uses Volvo' s Scalable Product Architecture platform that is destined for most future Volvo models. The XC90 T8 comes in base Momentum, more luxurious Inscription, and sportier R-Design trim levels. All include a two-panel panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and third-row seating as standard equipment. The illuminated shift lever is genuine Orrefors crystal, probably the first time any automaker has used real crystal glass in a production car.
A Sensus Connect infotainment system brings tablet-like features and convenience to the dashboard of this Volvo model. This system is said to have more processing power than any iPad with incredibly quick response. The touchscreen uses infrared lasers rather than capacitive touch sensors so the smart, intuitive interface can be used while wearing gloves, or even with a pencil or other object.
Volvo’s entire suite of standard safety systems are included plus advanced driver assist items like Lane Departure Warning, Road Sign Information display, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Pilot Assist adaptive cruise control, and Park Assist Pilot automatic parallel and perpendicular parking. World firsts include Auto Braking at Intersections if another vehicle comes into its path from oncoming or side traffic, and should the car swerve off the road its Run Off Road Design pre-tensions seat belts and crushable supports in the front seats absorb crash forces. Safety is, after all, one of this marque’s longstanding core values and the XC90 addresses this in a big way.