This week I have had the pleasure of driving and experiencing the Volvo XC60 Polestar Engineered with the flagship T8 motor. The XC60 is visually quite similar to both the S60 and the V60 I have tried before, just with increased ride height. I drove the XC60 through cities, motorways, and country roads.
The XC60 is a mid-size SUV, and looks similar to the other 60’s Volvo has on offer. The XC version has more ground-clearance and is more terrain-ready, with a selectable ‘Off-Road’ drive mode. With the Polestar Engineered package you get beautiful 21” rims with large front brakes with signature yellow Akebono brake calipers. The rear fenders are slightly flared, giving the car a sportier look. The front grille and rear both feature a Polestar badge, so it is easy to distinguish between the normal XC60 models. I think it looks great, and with the beefy front brake discs and calipers, you know this car means business. The front and rear lights are directly ported from the V60, keeping the same design architecture of the Volvo fleet. The XC60 is a commanding vehicle, and certainly feels elegant and poised.
Keeping with the yellow accents on the car, the seatbelts are also the same signature yellow of the brake calipers. Upon close inspection, you can also see the Bowers & Wilkins speakers are also yellow, although slightly hidden behind the metal mesh. Otherwise, the rest was the same as what we have seen before with the other 60 models, and was therefore all very familiar to me. The large screen in the centre console controls the functions for the vehicle and is very intuitive and responsive. It feels just like any modern smartphone, with no delay in touch whatsoever. Once again, Volvo’s seats are very comfortable and adjustable. They offer ample support during cornering, and I had no issues sitting in them for extended periods of time. All in all, it’s a comfortable and enjoyable place to sit. The dash is fully digital, and you have a selection of display styles. Seeing as it is fully digital, I would like to see Volvo do more with the display, rather than to just have the two dials. I feel there is too much unused screen space in there, and could be presented more nicely – perhaps in the next generation.
The T8 Twin Engine with the Polestar Engineered package offers 422hp, 15hp more than the other T8 models, but to be honest is not very noticeable due to the increased weight of the vehicle. It’s still a very competent engine with plenty of power, and that always puts a smile on my face. This car drives with ease, and whether you want to cruise or drive fast, this car can do it all. This brings me to the Öhlins suspension which the XC60 sits on, the dampers are adjustable by popping the hood, and you can adjust stiffness with a knob for each front side. As I was only driving on-road, I had them on the standard stiffness. I have to say it was one of the best handling SUV’s I’ve driven, feeling balanced and poised, but also very responsive. During cornering the car stays flat and level, exactly what you want. You can feel that the weight is being pushed onto the tire, which makes for very efficient cornering. This does come at a cost however, the ride is slightly stiff, so you’ll notice small bumps and indentations in the road. But for larger bumps, the car rides them well, and the shock absorption is very good. The suspension was the most outstanding feature of this car for me. I do wish there was a Polestar Engineered package for the S and V models, as that would seem more logical. Sporty suspension on an SUV is a bit strange, the handling was great, but is anyone buying an SUV for its cornering abilities?
Being honest, this car was great fun to drive and I truly enjoyed every second of it. There’s an indescribable pleasure of driving a big and powerful car, and not having to worry about scraping the front bumper. I’m unsure of the Polestar Engineered package, I would love to see it on the S60 and V60 models, as I believe it makes more sense. On the XC60, the larger front brakes are much needed and therefore makes sense. Upon reviewing my notes of the S60 and V60, I felt that both of these cars needed better brakes, so the larger brakes that come with the Polestar Engineered were much appreciated. For customers, it’ll come down to pricing, and whether the Polestar Engineered is worth the extra 6-800k more than the other XC60 models, I’m not sure.
I loved it, but I think people would most likely opt for the other XC60 models due to the price difference. If the Polestar Engineered boosted the power up to the 500hp range, then maybe it’s worth talking about, but for 15hp, some flashy brakes, and sporty suspension, I don’t see the value. As a car however, it really is fantastic, so I’m still giving it a 9/10.
Engine – 2.0L 4cyl Supercharged & Turbocharged
Power – 422hp (from battery ca. 87hp)
Torque – 670Nm
Drivetrain – AWD
Vehicle Weight – ca. 2,450kg
Special Thanks to Volvo Car Thailand