S60 Recharge T8, Thunder Grey

Volvo recharges its product line

The phrase recharge my battery has more than one meaning. It can mean, taking a break or vacation to recharge your personal energy levels. In the case of this week’s tester, Recharge is right now in the vehicle trim name and is literally a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that can have its battery recharged.

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This week I’m driving the Chinese owned, but Swedish-made 2023 Volvo S60 Recharge. The “recharge” part adds 143 extra horsepower and also provides extended fuel economy range with a battery that provides around 40 miles of gas-free driving (if you recharge it).

With all that out of the way, the S60 Recharge is pretty indicative of where many of today’s vehicles are heading, and certainly where the entire Volvo line is headed. With a push toward electrification of some kind, the PHEV serves as a great transition and introduction into this technology. There’s no range anxiety as if you choose not to charge up the S60 you can just put gas in it and achieve about 31 mpg (average). And from a performance standpoint, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has an electric motor assist for a combined 455 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque.

S60 Recharge T8, Thunder Grey

This combined power for such a small car is exhilarating. For a vehicle that weighs around 4,440 pounds that is a good amount of horsepower to fling the S60 through twists and turns. The smaller styling combined with the optional all-wheel drive (AWD) makes this high-performance, fun-to-drive sedan that’s full of personality.

Adjustable drive modes add to the distinction and an 8-speed automatic transmission goes unnoticed, which is a good thing with no noticeable turbo lag.

Aesthetically the S60 looks the part of a sedan. There are far fewer sedans on the road today, so it seems to have more personality than it does. All in all, the fit and finish of this sedan are handsome, although somewhat conservative. The highlights of the exterior are the High Gloss Black finishes that can be found on the grille, window trim and mirror caps. These looks will hold up over several model years which could help the resell value of the S60.

S60 Recharge, Google built-in

Inside, Volvo’s reputation for providing comfortable, high-quality interiors holds true. The S60’s Nappa leather seats are plush and comfortable. The 12.3-inch digital vertical touchscreen is well organized. It does not overpower the dashboard and rather centers it stylistically. It will feel comfortable and familiar like an Ipad. New for this model year is the addition of Google-based systems to drive the entire infotainment system.

There’s a steep learning curve to some of the setup and function, but the touch commands are responsive and once you learn them all, it’s chock full of technology. Additionally, smart phone integration is simple with either Apple or Android platforms.

The S60 has an 11.6-cubic-foot trunk which is small for this segment. The smaller cargo room is acceptable because rear passenger legroom is quite spacious. So there’s some give and take when it comes to cabin space.

S60 Recharge T8, Thunder Grey

My tester was the Ultimate trim which is the top-of-the-line offering. It has a base price of $57,950 and comes with several additional niceties including air purifier, seat extenders, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, head-up display and driver and parking assist features.

Other add ons were the Climate Package which includes headlight cleaning (think windshield spray but for the headlights), heated rear seats and heated steering wheel along with a Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system. Final MSRP, including destination fee, for my tester was $63,690.

S60 Recharge T8, Thunder Grey

The average fuel economy rating for the S60 (without battery usage) is 31 mpg. But with the electric motor assist, it has an EPA rating of 74 MPGe, combined. Charge time to get the full capacity of electrification is around 7 hours on a 220 outlet.

Whether you agree or disagree with the electrified future of the automobile industry, vehicles like the S60 Recharge are becoming more common. Rather than reject out of an anti-EV stance, why not consider an outstanding vehicle with plenty of power, no range anxiety and tremendous fuel economy? Oh and it’s luxurious and fun to drive too. Talking about recharging your batteries.

Jimmy Dinsmore is the Automotive Editor The Weekend Drive, a nationally syndicated automotive journalist and published author of two books including Mustang by Design (available now) and Ford Trucks: A History of the Ford F-Series (available this fall)