July 19, 2024

2023 Volvo XC60 Review: Get the Recharge plug-in hybrid

8 min read
2023 Volvo XC60 Review: Get the Recharge plug-in hybrid

Pros: Elegant styling and beautiful cabin; excellent plug-in hybrid option; solid value

Cons: Middling handling; pricey and strange Polestar performance model

The 2023 Volvo XC60 is the bread-and-butter SUV for Volvo since it’s in the very popular compact luxury segment. Thankfully for Volvo, the XC60 is a good, solidly competitive offering and one of our top-recommended choices in that segment. The most enticing part about the XC60 is its superb plug-in hybrid “Recharge” option. With 36 miles of range, a very strong electric motor and tons of power on tap from the gasoline engine, there’s no luxury compact SUV plug-in hybrid we’d rather have.

Of course, many of the XC60’s other elements are what make it so desirable. The 2022 update to revamp the vehicle’s infotainment system give it a top-notch suite of tech offerings. It’s practically impossible to find the exterior styling offensive. Plus, who doesn’t love an elegant Swedish-style interior? You can even get wool upholstery! One of our editors loved the XC60 so much that he actually bought one, so there’s a true endorsement coming straight from our wallets.

Compared to other compact luxury SUVs, the XC60 won’t carve corners as well as a BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLC. Plus, the Polestar Engineered performance model is a tad questionable considering it doesn’t provide extra power and has manually adjustable dampers — yeah, you have to go twist the knob yourself. Those aren’t exactly dealbreakers, though, and given the spacious back seat and cargo room, comfortable driving characteristics and excellent fuel efficiency, the stylish XC60 is an impossible-to-overlook option.

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it’s like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What’s new for 2023?

For 2023, Volvo revamps its trim naming structure. Instead of the familiar Momentum, R-Design and Inscription options, buyers are now faced with Core, Plus and Ultimate. Additionally, the number of options packages are reduced and bundled together.

The more important updates happened last year for the 2022 model where Volvo completely revamped the powertrain options, adding a mild-hybrid assist to the B5 and B6 models and providing big upgrades to the Recharge plug-in hybrid. You can read about these changes to the Recharge in our first drive story from 2022.

What are the XC60’s interior and in-car technology like?

Volvo’s attractive and refined shape is mirrored in its stylish, welcoming interiors. With premium materials and beautiful design from top to bottom, it’s difficult to find anything negative to say about the XC60’s interior. Open-pore wood and real metal are both available depending on trim, and you can even get an Orrefors Crystal gear selector. Leather seats are available if you want traditional luxury, but you can select a beautiful wool textile upholstery for a little something different and more animal-friendly, too.

Volvo’s Android Automotive infotainment suite is compatible with Apple CarPlay, but its integration with the Google suite of apps such as Google Maps, Google Assistant and the Google Play Store make a strong case for ditching the smartphone connection tech altogether and using the native interface. The infotainment system is quick to respond, and it’s integrated nicely with the instrument cluster. You can choose to display the Google Maps interface in the cluster, and the digital readouts for vital info are easy to digest alongside it.

How big is the XC60?

The XC60 is Volvo’s compact crossover, slotting above the smaller XC40 and below the flagship three-row XC90. With a wheelbase of just under 113 inches and an overall length of approximately 185 inches, it’s the same size as most of Europe’s luxury compacts, including the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Audi Q5. Thanks to their midsize-like wheelbases, these ostensibly compact crossovers offer plenty of people- and cargo-hauling capability.   

When comparing them back-to-back, however, we’ve found the XC60 ultimately has more back seat space than the Germans, making it a tad more family friendly. We also like that you can get Volvo’s unique integrated booster seats. The XC60’s cargo area is average, coming in as neither segment-leading nor segment-trailing. XC60 Recharge models lose half a cubic foot of rear cargo room due to the placement of the hybrid components beneath the floor.

What are the XC60’s fuel economy and performance specs?

Volvo offers the 2023 XC60 with three powertrains, all of which are based on the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The “B” options all have a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that benefits efficiency, and the “Recharge” is a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

The base engine, dubbed B5, is a turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers 247 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Volvo says it will go from 0 to 60 mph in a tidy 6.6 seconds. It’s rated at 23 mpg city, 30 highway and 26 combined with front-wheel drive and 23/29/25 with the optional all-wheel drive.

The next step up is the B6, which uniquely has both a turbo- and supercharger, boosting output to 295 hp and 310 lb-ft. The 0-60 time drops to 5.9 seconds. B6 models feature all-wheel drive standard and EPA ratings of 21 mpg city, 27 highway and 23 combined.

Recharge models are equipped with the plug-in hybrid T8 eAWD powertrain, which includes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (no supercharger) and 143-hp electric motor. Total output for the Recharge is 455 hp and 523 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 time drops to 4.5 seconds. Polestar Engineered models strangely keep the same output, but add a bunch of other performance extras. Both Recharge variants can operate up to 36 miles on electric power alone and are rated at 28 mpg combined once that all-electric range is depleted. We’ll note that the range and efficiency numbers for the Recharge model are from the 2022 model, but there shouldn’t be any significant differences for 2023 once those numbers become official.

Volvo XC60 B6

What’s the XC60 like to drive?

The XC60’s cabin is a haven for commuters and road-trippers thanks to its excellent seats and beautiful design. Higher-end models offer a plethora of customizable driver aids and an effective adaptive cruise control with lane centering that can significantly reduce fatigue on long trips.

On the road, the XC60 isn’t quite as composed as Volvo’s other 60- and 90-series offerings. Its larger, optional wheels can significantly degrade ride quality, especially in areas with pockmarked pavement, and its base suspension got discombobulated on our mountain road test route. The takeaways from this should be: other Volvos are better to drive, stick to smaller wheels, and most competitors handle better. This may sound damning, but it’s really not. Spec it right and the XC60 will be lovely to drive in 95{5be0972a10a00bb621c1a18de1a801d58662e556d02921cebb422beac5e5b2fe} of the scenarios most drivers find themselves.

The mild-hybrid B5 and B6 models are smoother and better to drive than the old T5 and T6 powertrains thanks to the electric boost, and while they’re more refined than before, there are still smoother power plants out there in other vehicles. Meanwhile, the Recharge with its shockingly powerful electric motor is a treat to drive. With 143 horsepower on tap, there’s no need to dip into the gas engine when operating in EV mode. Plus, the 36 miles of electric range on a full charge ensure that most trips can be done without using any fuel at all.

As for the Polestar Engineered, this model is easily the most fun. It gets new suspension consisting of Ohlins dampers and unique springs, 21-inch forged wheels (available with summer tires), bigger brakes and a new exterior appearance package that gives the SUV a good bit more flair. Those Ohlins dampers are manually adjustable, and they turn the XC60 into a more sure-footed — and a little stiffer-riding — SUV. The big brakes increase stopping power, and while there isn’t any extra twist from the powertrain, the base Recharge hardly needs it. This SUV springs off the line with a surprising amount of excitement, hitting 60 mph in a quick 4.5 seconds. Get the regular Recharge if you just want acceleration and a nice-riding crossover. Spring for the Polestar Engineered if you’re a little weird and want an extra dose of confidence on a winding road.  

What other Volvo XC60 reviews can I read?

2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge First Drive Review | Pumping up the electric range

The revised plug-in XC60 gets faster and way more useful


2018 Volvo XC60 First Drive

Our first experience with the XC60 revealed few surprises: it was based on the same platform as the bigger 90 series Volvos, it looked liked them and shared much of their technology. That’s hardly a bad thing. 


2020 Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered First Drive Review

This XC60 is an adrenaline-addled crossover with giant brakes


What is the 2023 XC60’s price?

The 2023 Volvo XC60 starts at $44,745, including a $1,095 destination charge. The model range is broken down into engine choice, designated by B5, B6 and Recharge, and then trim level: Core, Plus and Ultimate and the Recharge-exclusive Polestar Engineered.

Base Core models are reasonably well-equipped and feature 18-inch alloy wheels, proximity entry, a power tailgate, blind-spot warning, cloth “textile” or leatherette seats, dual-zone climate control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, power passenger seat, panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming side mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

A PHEV Recharge model begins at $58,495 and goes up from there with the same trim structure as the B5 model. Lastly, the Polestar Engineered model is Volvo’s range-topper.

Add $2,300 to the B5 models to get AWD. Also, note that the B6 is only available in the “Ultimate” trim. A more in-depth breakdown of trims and prices can be found here at Autoblog.

  • B5 Core: $44,745
  • B5 Plus: $48,995
  • B5 Ultimate: $55,295
  • B6 AWD Ultimate: $60,345
  • Recharge Core: $58,495
  • Recharge Plus: $62,745
  • Recharge Ultimate: $68,245
  • Polestar Engineered: $75,445

What are the XC60’s safety ratings and driver assistance features?

“Volvo” has long been synonymous with safety innovation. As such, many of its available safety systems are standard. These include front and rear collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning and hill start assist. Volvo’s excellent adaptive cruise control system with steering assistance is available, but only when you step up the $4,250 Plus trim. Volvo’s unique integrated child booster seats are also optional. 

The U.S. government gave the 2022 XC60 (equivalent to the 2023 model) an overall five-star safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2023 model with a Top Safety Pick+ with top marks everywhere — its headlights are the only small blemish, scoring an “Acceptable” rating instead of “Good.”

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