2020 Volvo V60 Polestar review: A potent plug-in performer

    Volvo made some main changes to the V60 station wagon lineup for the 2020 mannequin 12 months. The midlevel T6 with its all-wheel-drive structure is gone, and instead is the V60 T8 Polestar Engineered, a plug-in hybrid that guarantees some critical efficiency chops.While its increased price ticket won’t sit nicely with everybody, the newest iteration of V60 Polestar delights in all the identical methods because the outdated mannequin, with some critical updates in all of the locations that depend, to not point out an electrified twist.Sharp and sinisterI will admit my bias for station wagons to each human being in earshot, so it is no shock that I’m smitten with the best way the V60 Polestar seems to be. It’s far sleeker than its earlier iteration, slimming down the silhouette whereas incorporating a little bit of aggression. The full lack of chrome on the surface goes nicely with my tester’s $645 metallic gunmetal paint job. Aside from the charging port on the entrance fender, this automobile stands aside from different V60s with white Polestar emblems back and front, along with gold brake calipers and distinctive 19-inch wheels.

    Part of the rationale I like wagons is that they provide superior cargo area over sedans with out forcing of us to undertake the upper middle of gravity that comes with a crossover. While the V60 Polestar’s 23.2 cubic ft of cargo area tops the S60 sedan, it is not essentially the most environment friendly use of area on the planet — my 2016 VW Golf Sportwagen, for instance, is roughly the identical dimension but it has 30.4 cubic ft of capability. Style all the time comes with a trade-off.You may assume there’d be a good quantity of area within the cargo space, however if truth be told, it is middling at finest.
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    The phantasm of area continues inside, the place there is a surprisingly small quantity of space for stashing. The door panels have hassle becoming something bigger than an ordinary plastic water bottle, and whereas the middle console seems to be good and deep, flipping up the armrest reveals an area that is barely massive sufficient for a telephone and a handful of charging cables. Things aren’t significantly better within the second row, the place the door cubbies are even smaller.

    Otherwise, the inside is a reasonably swell place to hold. The entrance seats provide simply the correct quantity of lateral bolstering, and the mixture of leather-based and cloth seems to be and feels nice. The second row has each headroom and legroom in spades, however the drivetrain tunnel leaves an awfully tall lump within the center that makes issues somewhat awkward when three individuals must plop again there. Visibility is ace, because of tall home windows on all sides.Juiced-up dynamicsThe T8 within the V60 Polestar’s identify hints on the powertrain, which is one in every of Volvo’s extra sophisticated getups. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged I4 that mates to an electrical motor and an eight-speed computerized transmission, along with a second electrical motor powering the rear axle. All that great things jams collectively to generate some critical energy — 415 horsepower and 494 pound-feet of torque, to be precise.Depending on which car mode I’m in, the V60 Polestar virtually appears like two completely different automobiles. Most individuals will spend their time in the usual Hybrid mode, which focuses on utilizing the plug-in powertrain for effectivity. When angling inexperienced, the V60 Polestar does not actually really feel like a sports activities automobile. The lithium-ion battery below the physique supplies an EPA-estimated 22 miles of electrical driving vary by itself, and I really like that it does not require proximity to a plug. There’s a Charge mode that may depend on the gasoline engine and regenerative braking so as to add juice on the go, though it fills quicker within the metropolis — on an extended stretch of freeway, it took about 100 miles to high off a depleted battery.The V60’s entrance row is a mighty positive place to spend just a few hours on an extended freeway slog.
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    Once it is full, I can interact Hold mode to keep up that cost till it may be finest put to make use of, since electrical energy is moderately inefficient at freeway speeds. On a visit from Detroit to Chicago and again, I relied on EV propulsion alone in city driving. While the edge for the I4 to kick in is low, there was nonetheless sufficient leeway within the throttle to stand up to hurry. In low-speed driving, the transition between EV and ICE is surprisingly clean, however it may possibly get somewhat jumpy and uncomfortable if it’s good to carry haste into the equation on quick discover.

    In my expertise, 22 miles of vary from the battery is optimistic however achievable, particularly with the powertrain set to maximise regenerative braking. The EPA claims the V60 will attain 30 miles per gallon mixed with the gasoline engine alone, however I noticed figures nearer to 28 with out electrical help. Some of that doubtless comes from the truth that a lot of my freeway time is spent charging the battery for later use, which siphons off among the effectivity.The engine stays quiet more often than not in Hybrid mode, thanks partially to an entire bunch of sound-absorbing materials within the engine bay, which additionally helps conceal the truth that Volvo’s four-pot sounds greater than somewhat agricultural.

    Those searching for somewhat further pleasure can change to Polestar Engineered mode. The gauge cluster ditches the facility gauge in favor of old style tachometer, and each inch of the powertrain shifts to delivering ahead movement on demand. It’s enjoyable for backroads, delivering torque for days and rattling off sharp shifts, but it surely left me feeling virtually responsible for not utilizing the electrical energy for greener functions.As for experience high quality, it is on the stiff facet, which is predicted given its performance-oriented provenance, but it surely might be worse if Volvo did not stick to 19-inch wheels on this automobile. Left on the inventory setting, the manually adjustable Öhlins dampers keep comfortable sufficient for lengthy drives, however there’s nonetheless a good bit of motion translated to the cabin. Since that is now the one method to get an all-wheel-drive V60, I’d suggest taking part in with the settings (after remembering the default place) to search out your candy spot.My solely true gripe in regards to the driving expertise comes from the gear lever. Every shift requires you to undergo Neutral, so when going from Reverse to Drive (or vice versa), it’s important to faucet the lever twice, one thing different automakers do not ask from drivers. It’s a bizarre little quirk that is not that large of a deal by itself, however it is going to take some getting used to in multicar households.Cute particulars abound within the V60, however like different Volvo autos, these distinctive touches require some getting used to.
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    Tech is a success, but it surely’s not goodThe V60 Polestar sports activities the identical infotainment as each different new Volvo in the marketplace. Dead middle on the dashboard is a 9-inch portrait touchscreen working the automaker’s Sensus Connect infotainment system, which packs perks like Spotify integration, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a potent setup, with an entire bunch of related options simply accessed by swiping my finger left from the house display. Combined with a 12-inch show within the gauge cluster, it is not onerous to examine the knowledge you want at a fast look.However, that selection can be one in every of Sensus’ downfalls. Swiping left or proper from the tiled house display presents me with an entire crapload of features, not all of that are organized in an easy method. Swipe proper, and also you get a bunch of adjustable car settings, and swiping left presents many of the connected-car options, however its information-dense structure is intimidating and can take some getting used to, particularly when operated at any pace above a standstill.The tech has another issues, too. Despite receiving a quicker processor in 2019, my tester nonetheless requires about 30 seconds after beginning the automobile to totally boot the infotainment, including appreciable lag to any enter earlier than that point, together with climate-control changes. Thankfully, the automobile will save seat-and-wheel-heat settings so you are not left freezing for 30 seconds each morning, however the sluggish bootup continues to be irritating. There are two USB ports within the middle console, which is sweet, however rear-seat occupants are caught with nothing greater than a 12-volt port.On the security entrance, the V60 Polestar is as well-equipped as another new Volvo. Automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning are all normal, as is Pilot Assist, which mixes adaptive cruise management and lane-keep help to carry the car in its lane on the freeway. This hands-on system is one in every of my favorites, providing clean inputs that preserve me from feeling too worn down by the five-hour drive from Detroit to Chicago, and even on the closest setting, the automobile nonetheless maintains a secure distance from these forward within the occasion tougher braking is required. That stated, I do not use all of it that a lot, as a result of the V60 Polestar is such a enjoyable automobile to drive that it is onerous to let robots do even a smidgeon of the work.Sensus Connect’s many menus may be dense at first, however observe makes good.
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    How I’d spec itThe 2020 Volvo V60 Polestar does not come low cost, with a beginning value of $67,300 and an as-tested value of $68,490 after a $645 metallic paint improve and the obligatory $995 vacation spot cost. Everything is normal, so the one actual price-moving determination is whether or not you wish to stick to black paint, which is the one free coloration on provide — personally, I’d go along with the metallic white getup. It’s good to see costly autos that do not weigh consumers down with so many choices that they should be categorized within the Dewey Decimal System.Down to brass tacksTrying to search out aggressive premium wagons shouldn’t be straightforward. The BMW 3 Series wagon not exists within the US, and the Audi A4 Allroad is extra about changing crossover consumers with its increased experience top and physique cladding. The Buick Regal TourX could be a competitor if it weren’t a good bit cheaper, each on the window sticker and the way it feels.To that finish, the 2020 Volvo V60 Polestar lives in a category all its personal, particularly when taking the plug-in hybrid powertrain under consideration. Thankfully, it exists in a kind of quantum superposition, concurrently providing a stunning quantity of effectivity alongside driving dynamics that make me joyful Polestar continues to be lending its prowess to Volvo’s automobiles. If you may afford it, the V60 T8 Polestar Engineered will not allow you to down.

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