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Volvo V60 Plug In Hybrid (2013) CAR review

Why would you buy this V60 over any other?

Because of its 155.2mpg combined fuel claim and high spec level. Now before we get into the fact that such figures are rarely achieved, let’s look at it in relative terms. The regular V60 diesel, which is powered by the same common rail 2.4-litre diesel five-cylinder, makes 212bhp and has a claimed figure of 44.1mpg. This diesel hybrid – badged D6 AWD – adds a 67bhp/147lb ft electric motor to achieve its 155mpg.

Whether or not these are the actual numbers, the hybrid is around three-and-half times more economical. Yet it has the full gamut of gear, including all-wheel drive, full SE Lux specification, a five-star crash rating and a 6.1-second 0-62mph claim. That also means that it’s faster than the regular version, but, more significantly, with 48g/km of CO2, it steers clear of the lower-boundary London Congestion Charge being introduced in July 2013.
How do you charge it, and for how long?
You can plug it into a regular UK power socket that’d you’ll find in any flat, house or workplace. Charging it for between three and four hours gives you a full battery (from flat) and up to 31 miles of electric drive in ‘Pure’ mode. The electric motor also works with the all-wheel drive system, feeding the rear wheels while the diesel powers the fronts. Can you drive it as an electric car?

Yes. The V60 has split personalities, depending on which of the three modes it’s in. Selectable via the buttons between the audio and the shifter, the default mode is ‘Hybrid’, but it kicks off under electric power. Choose the ‘Pure’ mode to travel under electric power with zero emissions, where it’s perfect for saving fuel in traffic jams, and even for shorter bursts around town as you can reach speeds of up to 60mph. It also gives the V60 the ability to leap into action instantly with its quick response and low-down electric torque – surprising the odd London taxi in the city hustle.
What happens when the battery goes flat?
Once all the juice is gone, the V60 reverts automatically to ‘Hybrid’ mode, where you’ll find the electric arsenal making all sorts of whirring and whizzing noises, and vibrations coming through the brake pedal as if there’s a coffee machine under the bonnet. The noise might not totally put off some buyers, but it’s not the seamless transition between diesel and electric that you’d expect from a premium product – especially when this car costs £48,775 before the £5k government grant. It also means that you don’t know which pedal feel you’ll get next time you hit the brakes, as it’s constantly changing as it switches between modes.
So what’s it like to drive on longer trips?
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