Our Rides: Recharged And Ready To Go

All photos by Randy Stern
All photos by Randy Stern

Whenever I get my hands on a Volvo, I am reminded how they were among the first to embrace the LGBTQ+ community in their advertising and sales approach. After all, the Swedish automaker is a symbol of safety and utility. 

Their vehicles have gotten more luxurious over the past few decades. After all, the industry created a vacuum where brands such as Volvo have to move upmarket to compete for the well-heeled dollar.

In turn, Volvo models have also evolved into more fashionable automobiles. The current design language is evident of this, as well as the advanced technology, engineering, and safety that is part-and-parcel of the brand. 

Since it is in the premium/luxury brand market, Volvo still offers a mix of sedans and SUVs. However, this year marks a step towards electrifying the entire lineup. From battery-electric models to mild hybrids, every Volvo will have a battery on board to help “fuel” their vehicles.

This Volvo S60 you are reading about is part of this strategy. In this tester’s case, it is the revamped plug-in hybrid driveline, now part of the Recharge branding.

Prior to the 2023 model year, the plug-in hybrid system consisted of a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder gasoline engine and a series of electric motors. This year, they simplified the driveline by eliminating the supercharger and revamped the electric drive system altogether.

The result is a powerful 455 horsepower driveline with 523 pound-feet of torque. Volvo claims that it can go from 0-60 MPH in 4.3 seconds. They also claim that the S60 Recharge has a 41-mile range on battery juice alone. Once the battery is drained, the turbocharged gasoline engine kicks in for the most part. 

Rounding out the driveline is an eight-speed automatic transmission and an electronic all-wheel drive system. Together, it is a pretty spirited set-up that is right both I town and on the highway. However, we did experience a fuel economy average of 26.6 MPG between the electric and gasoline power sources. 

It would be easy for us to say that “everything else is simply a Volvo.” Yes, but as you noticed, this is not your ordinary Volvo look. Not just because it has the Recharge plug-in hybrid driveline. 

The lack of chrome normally found across the Volvo lineup is due to this specific tester’s exclusivity. The S60 sedans that are sold here in the U.S.A. are produced at Volvo’s assembly plant near Charleston, South Carolina. Therefore, the marketing folks at Volvo thought that sports sedan consumers would like their S60 Recharge devoid of chrome.

As such, we have the Black Edition. It takes anything that is either chromed or bright and painted it with a black finish. Our tester was simply a symphony of gloss black. 

There are still two bright spots to this S60 recharge Black Edition tester. One, are the “Thor Hammer” headlamps that are a part of Volvo’s signature look. The taillights retain its “C” shape, set against the black-on-black exterior look. 

Inside is the Ultimate interior trim which is a combination of sport and luxury. It is also in black – save for a few trim pieces and the mesh cloth inserts and stitching on the seats. The seats themselves are bolstered for support, yet firm in comfort. You can adjust the thigh and lumbar support for a fine tuning yourself behind the wheel and on the passenger side. 

Rear seat space is fine for some adults. Just watch out for the “transmission tunnel” that impede on center seat passengers in the rear. In all, our tester can seat four average-sized adults just fine. As for trunk space, there is just 11.6 cubic feet that is loadable at the bumper height. 

The driver is immediately greeted by a full TFT instrumentation screen with two half-dials and a navigation pane in-between them. In the center is a large touchscreen driven by Google built-in technology. Volvo’s minimalist approach to controls and switches are not as extreme as some start-up automakers, but they tend to be easier to use and more accessible. 

As for the driving experience, it certainly drives like it should. It is a Volvo with a sporting nature with flat cornering and a firm but smooth ride. The steering turns tight, but it seems a bit soft on-center. The brake pedal is a bit soft. It is tied to the regenerative system that sends energy back into the hybrid battery. 

For all of this, the 2023 Volvo S60 Recharge eAWD Ultimate Black Edition came with a sticker price of $63,690. There are four trim levels to choose from in the S60 Recharge lineup, starting from $51,250. If you would rather have your S60 without having to plug it in, it comes in a mild hybrid version, starting at $41,300.

We love our Volvos, as much as they love us. With their push towards total electrification across their lineup, this S60 Recharge is definitely worth considering if you are ready to have your plug-in hybrid inside a sporting Volvo sedan. 

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