Driving the cheapest and most expensive Volvo XC60 – How they compare – TopAuto
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Sunday / 26 June 2022
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Driving the cheapest and most expensive Volvo XC60 – How they compare

Volvo South Africa recently held the media launch for its electrified SUV range. This saw the XC40 P8 Recharge, XC60 T8 Recharge, and XC90 T8 Recharge launched in the country.

At this event, the new entry-level XC60 B5 Momentum was also available to drive.

With around 30 minutes in each, I test-drove the cheapest and most expensive XC60 Volvo has to offer, back-to-back.

T8 Recharge

First was the pricier XC60 T8 Recharge Inscription.

This model employs a 2.0-litre, turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine along with a rear-mounted electric motor to generate 340kW and 709Nm, with 0-100km/h conquered in 4.8 seconds.

Drive is sent to all four wheels, which gave this model a confident feel on the slightly wet roads I tested it on.

What I was most taken aback with was not the T8’s spirited sprints, however, but the all-electric drive mode provided by the 18.8kWh battery.

This plug-in hybrid offers an electric-only range of up to 81km, which Volvo reckons is enough for most people’s daily driving needs.

I reached speeds upwards of 80km/h on pure electric energy – the electric-only top speed is limited to 140km/h – and this was accompanied by a cool graphic in the instrument cluster telling me when I was using which power source.

Whenever more instantaneous power was needed, the petrol engine kicks in seamlessly and the XC60 T8 turns into a proper mid-size performance SUV.

It has a decent growl from the rear pipes and when you put your foot down the numbers on the heads-up display start ticking by quickly. It also sits tight and flat around corners while thickly padded, snug seats hold you in place.

The cabin was a joy to be in, treating drivers with soft leathers, premium finishes, and cutting-edge tech.

In fact, the entire Volvo SUV line-up has among the best cabin and noise insulation in the game.

B5 Momentum

The XC60 B5 Momentum was up next and almost immediately there were two things that stood out: no regenerative braking when releasing the accelerator, and a lighter steering feel.

This model is of the mild-hybrid variety and gets a 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol engine connected to a 48-volt battery – which altogether puts out 183kW and 350Nm.

Acceleration still comes in at a respectable 7.0 seconds, although it’s doing it only through the front wheels.

The front-wheel-drive platform and fabric seats are the biggest differences between this entry-level model and the rest of the XC60 range, as it’s the only specification with these traits.

Due to the lighter steering feel and less inherent grippiness of the FWD setup, the B5 Momentum didn’t feel as surefooted as the AWD T8 on the damp tar – but it was nowhere near being a poor drive.

The B5 is still plenty quick, handles well, and rides comfortably.

The features department is where the manufacturer did not skimp out, giving this entry-level specification high-end equipment – including heated front seats, an electric driver seat, dual-zone climate control, a sleek digital instrument cluster, and a 9-inch vertical infotainment display – just like the T8.

The plush leather found in the range-topper is missed in this SUV, and the standard Volvo stereo sounds a bit flatter than the upgraded Bowers & Wilkins in the T8. However, this has little to no effect on the pleasant overall experience of the B5.

The B5 also doesn’t have every piece of fancy driver assistance tech that the T8 comes with, but still offers more than most of the competitors in its price bracket.

Another item I must mention is that none of the Volvo SUVs on show came with shifter paddles – which would be a great addition to enhance the driving experience in these athletic vehicles.

In summary: If it’s a high-quality SUV you’re after and your budget stretches anywhere from R750,000 to about R1.2 million, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least test drive a Volvo XC60.

Volvo XC60 B5 Momentum

Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge Inscription

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