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The 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge Inscription Review

Front side

Volvo really shook things up when they showed off their new design on the XC90 many years back, earning that beautiful vehicle tons of awards. Enter the 2021 Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge Inscription, the mid-SUV plug-in hybrid that is insanely practical.

We drove the top-of-the-line Volvo XC60 which is priced at AED 270,000 (~$74,000). Though it might seem steep, you pretty much get what you pay for – a really nice looking, comfortable, and very safe mid-sized SUV.

Let’s Talk About the Looks

We went on over to Al Futtaim in Dubai Festival City to originally pick-up our test unit, and first impression was this car would make a great addition to our home. Look at that blue and those 20-inch 8-spoke black wheel it sits on – a true looker. The car is all about being stylish and sensible from the get go.

I absolutely love the headlights and taillamps of the Volvo SUV series, for each XC40, XC60 and XC90. The design doesn’t seem to age, unlike the previous old school looks.

While confusing to the petrol station attendants, the plug-in socket is located at the front left of the vehicle – that and the Recharge badge are classify the XC60 as a PHEV.

Sitting between the XC40 and XC90, the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge has a decent stance and lots of space without making parking in between cars at the mall a tough job.

What does that money get you on the inside?

COMFORT. Yep, that’s what the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge Inscription is all about. Jump in the driver’s seat and your back and backside thank you for the comfy and ventilated seats (especially now in 50 degree Dubai weather). Making a perfect partner to the Denim Blue Metallic exterior, is the leather blond upholstery with charcoal details. At 184 cm height, I didn’t need to push the driver’s seat all the way back and down to have enough legroom and head space – nor crush the legs of any would be passengers in the back.

The center command console is sharp and minimal, you have your 9” vertical screen, and below that your basic controls for the hazard lights, defroster buttons, and the radio controls. To add a touch of class to the interior is the clear Orrefors Crystal Eye (clear shifter). Right next to that is your cup holders and your wireless charger pod.

The rear seats are fantastic for families with toddlers. The XC60 features convertible rear seats that transforms them to boosters at the press of a button. I cannot tell you how fab this is since I have two toddlers and didn’t have to put the car seats in for the 2.5 days I had the car for.

There’s plenty of legroom in the back and adequate headspace too. The trunk provides you with great space to fill up with groceries, your IKEA shopping or golf clubs.

On the top, lot’s of light as you have a full panoramic roof. One thing that might have been an oversight is that as a tall bloke I could feel the heat – the screen is not solid, but a material that lets through some light and heat when closed.

The infotainment and gadgets

So did we say practical? Unlike other German manufacturers that we test drove, the menu items, switches and controls, and driver settings are pretty much optimized for swift access. On the steering wheel, you control your driver’s settings like cruise control, lane departure and assist features, as well as your infotainment. The cluster, which is in no way customizable displays all the info you need. Frankly speaking it really depends on how much of a customizable freak you are. The car is no nonsense. The center vertical screen has three-pages of options. The first, upon starting the car, lays out your main items and quick access to Navigation, Music, Phone, and Connected Device – as well as the basic A/C info at the bottom. You can either click the back arrow or press the home button to navigate to the main screen. Swipe left and your on shown all the vehicle features. This is where you can access your 360 degree camera, driving assist options, and other options. Swipe on to the third and final screen and you get into the details of your entertainment and connected device. The car supports AppleCar Play and Android Auto.

You also get a heads up display which you can customize to show you your speed, area speed limits, as well as upcoming radars. Yep, a camera icon shows up when there is a radar coming up on the road starting roughly at the 400 meter mark, giving you enough time to slow down. From my experience, this is GPS based and built-in with the navigation system, as not all radars were spotted, especially the mobile ones.

Smashing your ear drums with superior sound quality is Bowers & Wilkins Premium Audio System. My kids loved it when I blasted the music on the max volume.

The drive experience

The Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge Inscription is an absolute joy to drive. It has more than enough power, pushing around 400 HP (combined ICE and Electric motors) and 400 nm of torque. Handling is a beaut, as the car hugs the roads tightly, and takes corners at higher than usual speeds without going ‘Akhhh’ (Arabic for ouch). The car has the following driving modes:

  • Hybrid – the default mode in which the electric motor and combustion engine work together.
  • Pure – Uses the electric motor only, with the lowest possible energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Eco Climate – In Pure mode, ECO climate is automatically activated in the passenger compartment to help reduce energy consumption.
  • Off-road – Prioritizes the vehicle’s ability to traverse difficult terrain or poor roads
  • Constant AWD – Improves the vehicle’s traction and handling by increasing all-wheel drive.
  • Power – The vehicle gets sportier driving characteristics and a faster acceleration response.
  • Individual – Customizes drive mode to personal preferences.

For the sake of our website, being all about electric vehicles and hybrids, we focused on the Hybrid and Pure modes. The battery that powers the electric motor gives you a range of approximately 30 km. Some may argue is that enough range to pay extra for a hybrid vehicle? Well yes and no. You see, in some European cities, you have areas that only green vehicles can enter, so the 30 km become crucial as it usually means a shorter route to cross. As the Middle East is slowly but surely catching up, we may start seeing green zones soon. Also, if you’re driving long routes, that’s 30 km of free driving at no petrol cost. The battery can be charged either by the plug-in cable that comes with the car or by switching on the onboard charger to juice it up while you drive using the conventional engine. As I only opted to charge the car using the onboard charger and not haul out the cable every time I needed to, it was annoying that I had to turn on the battery charger every time I turned on the vehicle.

The Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge Inscription is a wonderful all-rounder. I truly recommend you book a test drive and give it a spin, as unlike other cars where you need days to get a good feel, you’ll instantly like it. Head on over to your local dealer and check it out.

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