Another Day In Paradise, With The XC60 T8
I like Phil Collins. I don't know why, I'm meant to hate the man. I'm a millennial after all. And millennials classically hate anything corny, like Phil Collins. Just as the generations previous to us hate Nelly and Nirvana, but we love them. I'm really hoping that Nelly doesn't have some sort of Harvey Weinstein style saga attached to his name for fear of being ridiculed by the politically correct masses.
This sort of cascades among most things, food, music, movies. We seem to agree with nothing that our upper generations agreed with. But I think that's starting to change. Today's world is largely uninteresting and annoying. It's not a nice place, but every now and then there's a gem of nostalgia coupled with something from the future. Today for example, I found myself listening to underground disco music from the 80s, like Grace Jones. Music which is weirdly current, but also quite old.
This is where Volvo finds itself at the moment. Their range is a bit of a throwback but also so futuristic that it might as well be a flying car. It also cascades the generational warfare. Because as I'm discovering, where old people used to be the only sort of person who likes a Volvo? Today, young people like them too.
I thought I'd investigate this concept a bit further with a car from the XC60 range which is largely ignored but the most futuristic of them all. The plug in hybrid XC60 T8 R-design or as Volvo have dubbed it for the 2020 model year, the Polestar Engineered, is the vehicle I'm referring to. And bloody hell is it a lot of vehicle.
Let's strip away all of the luxuries of the current generation Volvo vehicles for a minute and focus on performance only. With only a 2.0L petrol engine the Polestar engineered looks like somewhat a failure of a performance vehicle. It would sort of pale compared to a Q5 TFSI. But oh no, Volvo was much smarter than that. They gave the Polestar a 2.0L engine and then thought it didn't have enough power, so they gave it a TSC electric engine (or in car terms what amounts to a rocket) to boost it along. This means the T8 can do the 100km sprint in 5.8 seconds. That's the fastest of any mid-ranged Luxury SUV on the market.
To compare, and just so I don't get eaten alive by anyone looking for a fight, in the same price bracket at RRP you have the BMW X3 30D and the Range Rover Velar P340. Both of those cars do the 100km sprint in less than 6 seconds, but they also do it with massive 6 cylinder engines and high fuel consumption. The XC60 T8 however does this breezlingly with an average urban fuel consumption of 2.1L to the 100km thanks to it's second cooperative electric engine.
So, the car is both fuel efficient and fast. It's worth mentioning that whilst the range is 80km on electric only engine, that's not the range full stop. I've read a couple of reviews on this car that waffle on about the terrible range but anyone who drives this car purely on the electric engine doesn't quite understand the point of the plug in hybrid. It's not about having zero emissions, it's about reducing the emissions significantly.
With that in mind, the range and the Formula 1 KIRS style energy regeneration system works symbiotically to allow the car to normally do 300km without a full plug in charge. So whilst the car probably isn't appropriate for a long length road trip, it will do any commute extremely comfortably.
But anyone who has enough money to buy an XC60 T8 doesn't normally consider a road trip to be a fun holiday anyway. I mean why spend 8 hours of your extremely busy schedule attempting to drive somewhere when you can fly there in 1 hour? No-one seems to make that point when reviewing this PHEV or EV vehicles. I suppose it's a demographic thing. I mean I personally don't normally review cars for a living, and I make a hell of a lot more than any motoring journalist (apart from the obvious motoring journalists) ever would. So to me driving however many hours to either valet your car, or much worse camp, makes absolutely no sense. Why not just fly to the airport and hire a car?
It's also worth mentioning that the PHEV XC60 is not one of those cars which requires a massive fast charging transformer or a specialised charging station. I'm sure it'd help if you do have one, but this car is one you can simply plug into any wall socket and charge. That also means you don't need to put in any high tech fancy next generation EV equipment in your garage to charge it.
The T8 R-design, or Polestar Engineered, is also optioned to the hilt before you even begin talking to a Volvo sales consultant. It has just about everything apart form the panoramic sunroof, which most builds from Sweden have as standard anyway. This is one of those cars you're going to be looking for options to add on, like the rear heated massage seats for your dog. It even comes with a specially designed and handmade crystal gear knob. God knows why you need one of those, but after driving the car I have decided that you couldn't drive one without it. It's like walking into Louis Vuitton and asking if they make any s*x toys. You really don't need one from Louis Vuitton, but once you have it (I presume) you wouldn't be able to live without it.
All in all, I have to say, I was so impressed with how this car drives, how it feels and how it looks that I can see why it won car of the year last year. Of course, when I say that I don't refer to any of the lesser XC60 models. I'm sure those cars are absolutely fantastic, but the Volvo XC60 T8 is something special. And let's be honest. If you're sitting here reading my article on DriveTribe, you don't want fantastic. You want something that is truly special.