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Old 03-13-2023, 02:18 AM   #1
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Default 2023 Volvo S60 Recharge Is A Surprising Sleeper

2023 Volvo S60 Recharge Is A Surprising Sleeper


It would be easy for Volvo to concentrate on crossovers and forget about sedans and wagons entirely, but the Swedish brand is still paying detailed attention - and we're glad. In this case, it's the plug-in hybrid S60 Recharge sedan in its AWD Ultimate Black Edition guise. Don't pay attention to the name; pay attention to the looks of the car and the badge - because that's what other drivers will be doing. Despite its humble looks, it's an absolute sleeper with its T8 drivetrain making 455 horsepower and 523 ft-lb of torque for all four wheels.

There are other flavors of the sedan that plays in BMW 3 Series territory, but the S60 Recharge is at the top of the trim levels and shows what Volvo's engineers can do when they get a chance to mix power and comfort. We didn't expect BMW levels of handling during our week with the car, but we did expect Volvo's level of sophistication and comfort. A shove in the back from that turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electric motor pairing is a surprising bonus.
Is the 2022 Volvo S60 a good car?

Exterior Design 9 /10
Performance 9 /10
Fuel Economy 9 /10
Interior & Cargo 9 /10
Infotainment & Features 8 /10
Reliability 8 /10
Safety 10 /10
Value For Money 8 /10

What is BuzzScore?
Best Deals on S60 Recharge

2022 Volvo S60 Recharge T8 Polestar Engineered Plug-In Hybrid

2022 Volvo S60 Recharge T8 Polestar Engineered Plug-In Hybrid
2022 Volvo S60 Recharge T8 Inscription Plug-In Hybrid

2022 Volvo S60 Recharge T8 Inscription Plug-In Hybrid
2022 Volvo S60 Recharge T8 Inscription Plug-In Hybrid

2022 Volvo S60 Recharge T8 Inscription Plug-In Hybrid
2022 Volvo S60 Recharge T8 Inscription Plug-In Hybrid

2022 Volvo S60 Recharge T8 Inscription Plug-In Hybrid
2022 Volvo S60 Recharge Models

See trim levels and configurations:
2022 Volvo S60 Recharge CarBuzz/Ian Wright
Style: Echos Of Old School

The S60 isn't striking or particularly "stand-out" in terms of design. We can't exactly put our fingers on it, other than suggesting it's the line where the roof meets the trunk and its general stance, but there are certainly echoes of classic Volvos like the P1800 here. Maybe we're being overly romantic, but the S60 is distinctly Volvo, even in Black Edition spec metallic white paint, black gloss accents and badging. In this guise, it rolls on black diamond-cut 19-inch alloy wheels. The Thor's Hammer style LED directional headlights and LED taillights are standard, and give it a slightly menacing look.

Interior: High Spec

The Ultimate trim builds on the comfort of the S60's cabin with Charcoal Nappa leather everywhere and front seats with power adjustable 4-way lumbar and cushion extensions. There's no excuse to be uncomfortable here, but add the charcoal-colored headliner, and it doesn't feel as light and airy as other Volvo trims. It boils down to preference with colors, but there's no arguing about the quality of the build and materials - it's superb. It's Volvo showing what it can do, and the attention to detail is of the highest order. As we've said before, though, the crystal shift knob is a matter of taste.

In the back, there's enough room for a couple of adults with acceptable headroom, but if you regularly have adults there, you'll want to go up to the S90 for a bit more space.

Infotainment: Getting Better

As usual, Volvo's infotainment system is accessed mainly by a portrait-aligned tablet on the dashboard. It's also where you'll access the HVAC, which can get annoying if you're not a set-and-forget driver or passenger. The infotainment system now uses a Google-based interface, which is fine, and the voice control is reliable. While the system doesn't bring flash and fireworks, it's perfectly appropriate. The driver gets a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, and the ambient interior lighting is suitably subdued.

Our tester had the $3,200 Bowers & Wilkins audio system upgrade because Volvo is wise to put that in any car we review. It's brilliant and one of the best upgrades on the market for audio lovers.

Drivetrain: Woohoo!

Volvo has made some fast cars before, but a drivetrain generating 455 horsepower and 523 ft-lb of torque without Polestar being mentioned is unusual. Here it is, though, and it's attained using a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a boost from an electric motor taking its power from a 14.9-kWh battery. It's definitely geared for power over economy, but it'll run on battery only for up to 41 miles, so it would be an economical car for many commuters - although you need to be light on the throttle to avoid invoking the engine's assistance. Mix electric and gasoline power together, and it's EPA rated for 74 MPGe and on gas only, 31 mpg combined.

The AWD comes from the electric motor at the back, which can make the car feel a little inconsistent to drive, but the eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and predictable.

On The Road: Driver Assistance Settings Are Important

Our first spin with the Volvo S60 Recharge took a long winding road, and we thought something was wrong with the car in the first stint. We weren't driving hard, just cruising, but it felt like the front and rear of the car were unconnected around corners, and driving it in a straight line needed constant attention. It was irritating to the point we considered turning around and getting the family car instead. However, the problem was solved by turning off the Steering Assist feature. It's a fine feature for long freeway drives but just gets in the way everywhere else. Without it, the S60 became easy and smooth to drive - an absolute pleasure around town and even more so driving into the countryside. The ride is smooth, the suspension compliant, and the seats excellent. We put in a lot of miles with no fatigue.

Put your foot in it, and the S60 is quick. Remarkably quick. The manufacturer quotes the 0-60 mph time at 4.3 seconds, but we believe it may even be quicker, and it'll still pull at freeway speeds for overtaking with confidence. Up until the 112 mph restriction Volvo has decided on, anyway. We didn't test that because we don't have roads with that kind of limit, but it does seem random. Volvo talks the talk about safety and restricting speed but delivers a commuter sedan that will outpace a Dodge Challenger RT to 60 mph. It doesn't even have a sport mode, but it will outmuscle America's muscle car to at least the first 60 mph.
As a sports sedan, it lacks in chassis dynamics to deal with twists and turns with any verve, despite its sporty looks that could have you believing it could keep pace with a BMW 3 Series on a twisty mountain road - it couldn't. The power is best used for overtaking and as a luxury feature. The four-cylinder engine doesn't have to work hard to get up to speed in normal traffic.

Is This One Of Volvo's Greatest?

If you want a Volvo that's genuinely sporty, you'll want to look at something with a Polestar Engineered badge. This won't go up on the list of the greatest Volvo cars, but it's an excellent premium sedan we would take for a daily commute without batting an eyelid. It has Volvo's style and build quality through and through; the cabin is comfortable, and it has oodles of power for when you need it while maintaining great fuel economy.

What it doesn't have is the sporty edge of a BMW 3 Series, but if you don't want that, you won't miss it. It also doesn't have the overt luxury of an upper-range Mercedes C-Class or the feature-rich and super-slick MBUX infotainment system. Again, if you don't need that, you won't miss it. Most people only need navigation and music, and Mercedes is following Volvo down the Google path.

The Volvo S60 Recharge stands out amongst a sea of BMW and Mercedes models in corporate car parks across the country, and we do love the sleeper status. It's already well-equipped, and you can opt for the fantastic Bowers & Wilkins audio system on top of that. That's icing on the cake of a serious option when it comes to a premium sedan starting at just over $52k.

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