Tested Price: $91,525 CAD
- Looks Awesome
- Pilot Assist Self Driving Works Well
- Regenerative braking is rewarding
- Can drive in the HOV lane with no passengers!
- Pricepoint is high for a 5 seater SUV
- Electric range is only 27km
- Slow windows and finicky sunroof controls
The 2020 Volvo XC60 T8 is one of the few in their lineup that sports the Polestar badge, which also enables you with a green plate! Despite a poor electric range, the benefit alone of getting to ride in the HOV lane while alone in rush hour traffic will also indirectly help you save on fuel.
Volvo has a little knob you twist to the right in lieu of a ‘push to start button’. At first I thought it was strange, however I quickly got used to it. I felt more sophisticated than just jamming a button – especially once I remember to keep my pinky in the air when twisting it – lol!
The electric battery is only 9.1 kilowatts which means you’ll get approximately 27 kilometres of electric range before the gas drivetrain kick’s in on the ECO mode. Although this seems low, it really isn’t as impractical is it may seem.
Initially receiving the build sheet of the vehicle, I was a bit overwhelmed by the price – since the vehicle is only a 5 seater SUV! However, after riding it for a week, I could understand why the vehicle had more value than met the eye.
Benefits this Volvo XC60 Polestar hybrid grant over the gasoline only version
Being new to the plugin hybrid scene, I was genuinely unaware of the benefits that the hybrid offered, and why a 27km electric range is more useful than it seems.
Better Fuel Economy. Duh.
An electric range of 27km is better than no electric range on your gas bill! If the vehicle is going to be used for grocery getting, or short trips, you won’t have to worry about paying for fuel. Compare that to the next XC40 Electric that will have a range of over 400+km!
More Power, Less Moving Parts
You get from an hybrid powertrain between a gas and electric motor – which provides responsive torque, rear electric all wheel drive ( no rear drive shaft). This means you get more power, with more fuel economy.
The real hidden benefit of this vehicle is that you don’t need a huge electric only range to get the constant benefit of regenerative breaking. Available in all the driving modes, the vehicle will cleverly display when it’s using is gas vs electric powertrain. This fluxes by how aggressively you accelerate.
On the contrary, when you break, there is an indicator for the charge of the battery. Even when the battery was depleted, I found it very easy to charge it back to 2-3km with more conservative driving and more proactive braking.
What is regenerative braking?
Volvo describes regenerative breaking as the vehicle’s ability to ‘recover kinetic energy while braking. Simply put, it helps to recharge the battery.
Solo HOV Lane Access
The fact that the vehicle can plug in just allows for the green plate in Ontario, allowing you to drive in the HOV lane on all 400 series highways without a passenger.
Why Polestar Makes It Better
Volvo has branded their plug in hybrid line as a ‘Polestar edition’. Rather than being a true Polestar, their all electric performance brand, these Volvo editions pay homage to the electric technology and upgraded performance. Despite a true ‘Polestar’ vehicle seeming like a mirage, the marketing is well done, and allows for proof of concept in their Volvo lineup, like in this XC60.
Supercharged engine + electric engine
This edition offers the benefits of 2 complementary drive-trains- a supercharged gas engine, and an electric one. There is also a ‘Polestar Engineered’ drive mode that optimizes the engine software and shifting to give a more aggressive ride.
Upgraded suspension and brakes
The vehicle comes with an Öhlins suspension package, Akebono brakes, and an engine strut bar for better handling and performance. Its hard to convey this in a written review, but the vehicle clearly feels better adjusted for higher speeds and corners. While driving this vehicle I felt much more confident it its grip and capabilities than the regular chassis. The brakes have 6 pistons in the front, plus they look incredible with the yellow accents.
Massive 22 inch rims
I was expecting a harsher ride quality, however the steering and handling felt awesome for only a 5 seater SUV! Well done.
Gold & yellow accents
Sure, this is a novelty thing, but everywhere I drove, this vehicle managed to turn heads. Even after riding in the Maserati the following week, I noticed I got more attention in the Volvo! Love it or hate it – the vehicle looks SHARP. Even the yellow cones of the speaker match the design!
The Self Driving is EXCELLENT
Volvo’s autonomous driving platform is called Pilot Assist. It allows for advanced lane keep and steering help, while also keeping you a safe distance from the car in-front of you. It will automatically adjust your speed. Sounds great on paper, but it actually works in the real world. I had the self driving activated all the way from Oakville to Toronto in start stop traffic.
It’s engaged even at a low speed (less than 5 km) so it’s a pleasure to drive in start-stop traffic. When I completely hit 0, a simple tap on the gas was all that was needed to reactivate the feature. You need to keep your hands on the steering wheel to keep it activated, and it gives you gentle vibration and audio cues after about 10 seconds if you are distracted. The reminder is far less annoying than other autonomous driving reminders that I’ve tested – so it was a pleasure to keep it activated!
The Volvo XC60 Polestar is an all around excellent SUV. The hybrid drive system has plenty of power, and is rewarding to drive with the regenerative braking. Despite a higher pricepoint than the regular XC60 T6, the vehicle can be found on sale from Volvo dealers for much less than the sticker price, and helps justify the extra performance and fuel efficiency.
Its also not short on looks, and I found that I got more glances in this vehicle than most other cars I’ve driven. The 22″ rims are no slouch, and you feel great driving it. You don’t see one of these everyday!
Check out the official page and info from Volvo Canada.