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

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

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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.