Model Retrospective: 2011 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
The V60 Plug-In Hybrid was unveiled in late 2011, six years before Volvo Cars would announce its industry-leading move towards a showroom of exclusively electrified vehicles.
The wagon became the world’s first diesel hybrid car when it went on sale in Europe in 2012 and, at the time, it was the most technically advanced Volvo yet.
To create the V60’s ‘D6 AWD’ hybrid powertrain, Volvo engineers combined a 2.4-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel on the front axle with an electric motor powering the rear wheels.
Between the two different types of motor, the V60 Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) produced a total of 213kW and 660Nm.
While this endowed the wagon with impressively strong performance, the most magical figures came from its official fuel consumption.
Above: The V60 Plug-In Hybrid was the first Volvo to present a digital instrument cluster.
With its inherently efficient diesel engine and ability to be driven for up to 50km on electric power alone, the V60 PHEV used just 1.9 litres of diesel per 100km (with emissions of just 48 grams per kilometre) based on Europe’s NEDC mixed driving cycle.
The electric motor was powered by an 11.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack that was cited under the boot floor and featured an integrated water-cooling system.
As with today’s Volvo’s plug-in hybrid models, the original V60 PHEV – which didn’t come to Australia – gave drivers access to three driving modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power.
Pure engaged only the electric motor, the Hybrid mode used both the diesel engine and electric motor for a balance of performance and economy, and Power was available to maximise performance and a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.1 seconds.
Regenerative braking helped top up the V60’s battery on the move, and the vehicle had an excellent theoretical driving range of up to 900km.
Above: The V60 Plug-In Hybrid featured three driving modes, including the Pure setting for electric-only driving.
Recharging the vehicle’s battery could take as little as 3.5 hours using a regular 230V power socket with 16 amps. The time was approximately 4.5 hours with a 10-amp socket and about 7.5 hours if using a 6-amp socket.
It would be incorrect, however, to consider the powertrain as the 2012 V60 Plug-In Hybrid’s only innovative feature.
Inside, it was the first Volvo to feature a digital driver display rather than a traditional analogue instrument cluster. The display was divided into three sections, with a central circular ‘gauge’ featuring the speedometer among other info. (A digital driver display is standard on every Volvo model today, though it is more advanced with a full-width, 12.3-inch layout.)
The 2011 V60 PHEV also allowed owners to communicate with the car via a smartphone app, with functions including the ability to pre-warm or pre-cool the cabin before getting to the car and reminders for charge-cable connections.
A new-generation plug-in-hybrid V60 did make it to Australia in 2019, with the T8 variant bringing even faster performance (0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds) yet only slightly higher official combined fuel economy of just 2.0L/100km.
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