Polestar could also be occupied making all-electric cars proper now, however that doesn’t imply it’s too busy to offer co-owner Volvo a hand with some efficiency upgrades for the Swedish automaker’s hottest fashions. The 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered is okay instance, a plug-in hybrid promising not solely inexperienced credentials however a bump in energy below the hood and in pleasure from behind the wheel.
Volvo’s T8 Polestar hybrid powertrain combines a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine – with each supercharging and turbocharging – with an electrical motor. Fuel energy will get pushed to the entrance wheels; electrical to the again. The result’s what Volvo calls eAWD, together with a complete of 415 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque.
That’s up 15 hp and 22 lb-ft over the non-Polestar model, and it means 0-60 mph arrives in 4.9 seconds. Pushed extra sedately, anticipate 26 mpg within the metropolis, 28 mpg on the freeway, and 27 mpg mixed, or 57 MPGe. In pure electrical mode, Volvo says you’ll get about 19 miles from the 9.1 kWh battery.
Charging is by way of a port on the entrance driver’s facet wing. Determine on a 3 hour cost when you’ve got a Stage 2 30 amp outlet at hand; extra like a day if you happen to solely have an everyday 110V socket. The XC60 T8 makes use of regenerative braking to robotically prime up the battery when you’re on the transfer, and in its most potent drive mode will actively prime up the battery when it might to be sure to all the time have probably the most energy on faucet.
Choosing the most-expensive Polestar Engineered trim doesn’t simply coax slightly extra out of the drivetrain. The styling will get a lift, too, with 21-inch 5-Y Spoke black polished solid alloy wheels, twin built-in tailpipes, and gloss black trim the place the common XC60 may sometimes put on chrome. The gold Akebono brakes clamp on huge discs, and likewise look mighty superb glimpsed between the wheels’ spokes.
As you may anticipate for a performance-minded crossover, there’s adjustable damping too. Volvo’s decide of Ohlins system, nevertheless, can’t be managed by means of its dashboard touchscreen or the drive mode dial. As a substitute, it’s a must to bodily click on a knob on every damper, providing you with 22 totally different settings to select from. Frankly, the thought of pulling over and making an attempt to tweak the firmness as a result of there’s a sinuous ripple of street up forward – or as a result of these onboard are complaining of the stiffness – is laughable.
Fortunately, then, Volvo dials it in at an inexpensive compromise out of the manufacturing facility. Firmer than a regular XC60, actually, however solely to the purpose the place issues keep flat and even in keen driving. Huge wheels and stiff suspension are normally a recipe for a extra percussive trip, however the Polestar manages to keep away from something too aggressive.
In actual fact it feels very a lot arrange for impromptu play. Go away it in Hybrid or Fixed AWD modes and the XC60 will thrum round with easy finesse, reliably planted and with no scarcity of torque for overtaking or spurting away from the lights. Volvo’s mix of inside combustion energy with the electrical motor is dealt with neatly; more often than not you’d swear you have been in an everyday AWD crossover, and the occasions you wouldn’t are when the rear’s instantaneous shove offers you a welcome shock.
Notch over to the Polestar Engineered drive mode, nevertheless, and issues get feistier. By no means unruly, although with all that torque there’s loads of alternative to check Volvo’s dedication to traction. It’s enjoyable and punchy, although a similarly-priced Porsche Macan continues to be extra participating within the corners.
Inside, Volvo’s cabin stays a pleasing place to search out your self. The seats are snug for long-distance cruising, and there’s loads of high-quality supplies to your fingers to search out like actual metallic and Nappa leather-based. Gone is the open-pore wooden within the common XC60, changed with silver mesh trim for the Polestar, however there’s no compromise on cargo house: as much as 63.3 cu-ft with the rear seats down, and a 3,500 pound towing capability.
There’s a 12.3-inch show for the driving force’s instrumentation – full with an easy-to-follow gauge exhibiting you the place the electrons are flowing – and an outstanding Bowers & Wilkins audio system on the choices listing. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are customary, as is a head-up show, navigation, panoramic sunroof, heated entrance and rear seats plus steering wheel, and a 360-degree digicam.
Just a few areas are starting to point out their age. The 9-inch Sensus touchscreen appeared huge when Volvo debuted it in 2015; lately, it feels slightly cramped. Its interface continues to be simple – so long as you bear in mind which facet to swipe to search out the driver-aids and settings – however Android Automotive on the XC40 Recharge is a pointed reminder that there’s higher to return. The wi-fi charging pad within the heart console, in the meantime, is slightly too small for the biggest smartphones to suit on correctly.
I can’t fault Volvo’s security tech, nevertheless. Adaptive cruise management, LED headlamps with corner-bending lights, entrance and rear collision mitigation and lane-keeping help, blind spot warnings with rear cross-traffic alerts, and parking help are all included. Pilot Help, Volvo’s hands-on driver help package deal with lane-keeping, is obtainable, and works effectively, although I’m extra excited concerning the Highway Pilot system the automaker goals to introduce from 2022.
Nonetheless, ready for that might imply lacking out on the XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered’s charms right now, and that might be a disgrace. It’s a good-looking, sensible, and secure hybrid crossover that makes as a lot sense if you’re driving sedately because it does if you put your foot down. In actual fact the one drawback is value.
A daily 2021 XC60 begins from $41,700 (plus vacation spot), and a Volvo XC60 Recharge Hybrid from $53,500. This Polestar Engineered model kicks off at $70,195 nevertheless – albeit earlier than any US tax credit and incentives – at which level you’re just about in Porsche Macan GTS territory. No, the Macan isn’t a plug-in hybrid, nevertheless it’s a much more rewarding driver’s automotive.
Ultimately, although I can’t actually query the Polestar therapy right here – bizarre, manually-adjusted dampers apart – I additionally wrestle to advocate this top-spec XC60 versus its common PHEV sibling. Positive, you miss out on slightly energy, however you continue to get the reassurance of eAWD and the crossover’s common practicality and good-looking appears to be like. The 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered is speedy and succesful, however that efficiency fettling nudges it into territory with some heavy hitters.