Plug-in hybrids are often overlooked even though if properly managed, they can offer owners a chance eliminate the need to refuel with gasoline or at least avoid it for long periods while allowing long-distance travel without depleting the battery.
Swedish carmaker Volvo is making a determined effort to make a plug-in hybrid powertrain available on a full array of models such as the 2023 S60 Recharge AWD Ultimate, a four-door sedan with the dual powertrain that includes battery electric capability and an internal combustion engine.
The S60 Recharge also has impressive driving dynamics on the road, smart exterior styling and an impressive interior. It also features a full load of driver assistance and connectivity features and lots and lots of power.
With rival manufacturers concentrating on utility vehicles, the S60 Recharge sedan does not have a lot of competitors. But a handful of luxury hybrids, including the BMW 330e xDrive, Mercedes-Benz E 450 4Matic, and the Lexus ES 300 share some of the characteristics but not the Volvo’s electric-only range.
As a sedan, the exterior design of the S60 Recharge benefits from the harmony of the neat, flowing line inherent in the car’s shape, which is less jarring and more refined than that of the utility vehicles that have proliferated in recent years.
Volvo’s sleek design serves to accentuate the sedan shape so it stands out in a crowd. Additionally, designers clearly worked to ensure the outside mirrors, door sills, front fascia, rear deck lid and wheels fit smoothly into vehicle’s appearance adding to the its curb appeal. Touches unique to Volvo such as the hammer-shaped light fixture at the front and Volvo trust mark on the black mesh grille.
The cabin of S60 benefits from Volvo’s well established design touches such as the crystal-like gear shift knob, the careful stitching used on the seat and dashboard and the bright work running across the front of the cabin.
Volvo also has found ways to integrate the latest technology into the vehicle, placing the controls close to the driver, including the tablet-style screen in the center stack. There are also controls for the entertainment system on the steering wheel.
The overall quality of the sound system is first rate as is the lighting scheme used around the cockpit during night driving. Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent. Even with the addition of the hybrid battery, there is plenty of room for rear-seat passenger and for luggage or packages in the trunk
The S60 draws its power from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine capable of producing 312 horsepower and an 18.8-Kilowatt, high-voltage motor, capable of producing 143 hp, giving the vehicle net 455 hp and 523 pound-feet of torque. The power is managed through an 8-speed automatic transmission with stop start, electronic all-wheel drive and drive mode settings.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the 2023 Volvo S60 Recharge a combined rating of seventy-four miles per gallon if driven on its battery and a combined rating 31 mpg, operating on gasoline.
Safety and Technology
The S60 Recharge I drove was equipped with front, side and curtain airbags for collision protection as well as collision avoidance with low- and high-speed mitigation. It also has driver assistance features such as lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot and cross-traffic alert, pedestrian and cyclist detection and rear camera for parking assistance.
It also has a Bluetooth connection, a satellite radio connection, a Harmon Kardon premium sound system and a surround view camera. It is also equipped with adaptive cruise control.
Even though it is heavier than a standard sedan, the S60 Recharge, with its gasoline engine and electric motor producing 455 hp has more than enough power to get out ahead of traffic from a complete stop or on the highway.
The suspension is nicely balanced so it can handle different kind of road surfaces, including dirt and gravel, while the basic ride and handling is very crips and responsive. The steering is quite and responsive around tight corners and the S60 is very maneuverable in parking lots and heavy traffic. The quiet cabin of the S60 Recharge also helps reduce stress on longer trips.
2023 Volvo S60 Recharge AWD Ultimate Specifications
DimensionL: 184.7 inches/W: 80.3 inches/H: 56.6 inches/Wheelbase: 113 inchesWeight3,657 poundsPowertrain2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with electric motor; 8-speed transmission and all-wheel driveFuel Economy31 mpg combined and 74 MPGePerformance Specs455 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torquePriceBase price: $41,300; As tested: $63,690 including $1,095 destination chargeOn-Sale DateAvailable now
Plug-in-hybrids, or PHEVs, offer a well-balanced alternative for families or solitary motorists not quite sure they are ready for an electric vehicle, but want the extra efficiency offered by an electric motor. PHEVs can be driven several miles — even weeks — on battery power, if they are recharged regularly.
But they can also be used for a long weekend trip without worrying about finding a charger along the route. Unfortunately, they can be expensive, the vehicle I drove sells for $64,000. Plus, manufacturers generally have not done a very good job on selling their rather obvious strong points, which means they won’t get much respect at trade in.
2023 Volvo S60 Recharge AWD Ultimate — Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the fuel economy for the 2023 Volvo S60 Recharge?
On gas power alone, it comes in at 31 mpg combined. That jumps to 74 MPGe for the combined hybrid. It can travel 21 miles on electric power only.
How much does a 2023 S60 hybrid cost?
The Recharge plug-in hybrid model of the S60 starts at $51,250 for Core, $53,950 for Plus, and $56,700 for Ultimate.
What does the 2023 S60 recharge look like?
Essentially, the 2023 S60 Recharge looks just like the earlier cars of this generation, but it’s now radically better at its plug-in mission: Charge it each night and you might only need the gas engine for long trips and stoplight drag races. Most midcycle refreshes are cosmetic. This one is transformative.