Volvo’s Advanced XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept

Volvo XC60 hybrid, rear

Volvo will show a car in Detroit that takes the Volt powertrain concept a few steps further. Drivers press one of three buttons to choose: an EV (battery only, “Pure”) mode, or a hybrid with claimed 50-mpg performance, or a performance version that taps all 350 hp and runs to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

This very sharp looking small SUV gets power from a 280-hp turbo 4-cylinder, a 70-hp electric motor and a 12-kwh battery pack. The details are here, in the press release, and tout the modular, compact, light and efficient nature of the new engine.

Range limitations are addressed. You can drive from Detroit to New York without a fill-up, 600 miles; an integrated starter-generator gives an extra 45-hp boost during acceleration; and the battery can be recharged in 3.5 hours (using 220 volts) or 7.5 hours (110 volts). The car has electric 4-wheel drive on command and an 8-speed automatic.

Volvo, we know, is a very smart auto company that has recreated itself from a producer of stodgy, tank-like cars to one that now offers well-styled, well-made vehicles with broader appeal and, occasionally, performance. A gas-powered XC60 has been available in the U.S. for about three years and enjoyed only modest sales—1,128 cars last November—but it’s Volvo’s sales leader!

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