DRIVING ME CRAZY’s 2020 Volvo XC 60 T8 E-AWD Polestar Review
By JOHN and LAURIE WILES

eHezi Automotive, History, National, Pinehurst, NC, Radio Leave a Comment

Driving Me Crazy automotive review Columnists Laurie and John Wiles.

Listen to John and Laurie Wiles’ review of the 2020 Volvo XC 60 T8 E-AWD Polestar on their Driving Me Crazy radio broadcast that airs this Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 10am EST and every Thursday throughout the year at the same time. The broadcast is heard “Live” or “On Demand” by clicking onto this specific hyperlink – http://tobtr.com/s/11784512. Pease note that the hyperlink is specific to this review. It changes every week. Listeners are welcome to call the broadcast at 347-205-9201 and are asked to stay on topic.

If you read and/or follow our column, you know we don’t usually bombard you with multiple pictures of the outside of a vehicle. Our vehicle this week was different … in several ways. This was one of those vehicles where one week just wasn’t enough to really evaluate the vehicle and learn all there is to learn about it. Yet again, Laurie’s injured knee has prevented her from driving or riding in this car—Volvo is one of her favorite makes—so I’m taking the wheel on this week’s review…pardon the pun.

Why three pictures to start? First, I really think this is an attractive SUV. It is referred to as a ‘mid-sized SUV’, and, parking it in the garage, it is about the same size as my personal Ford Edge, so mid-sized is an accurate description. But it doesn’t look like a typical SUV. It looks more like a ‘crossover’ between a ‘suburban utility vehicle’ and a, dare I say it, ‘station wagon’ … albeit, a shorter and very attractive station wagon. It is really a cool looking car too.

2020 Volvo XC 60 T8 E-AWD Polestar.

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2020 Volvo XC 60 T8 E-AWD Polestar.

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2020 Volvo XC 60 T8 E-AWD Polestar.

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I, personally, wanted to see how it ranked against the BMW X3, which is similar in size and nature, and happened to find an Australian video that readers might enjoy watching on their computer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_15NgbU3Ly8

According to the Aussies’ Drive Car of the Year, powered by BP (British Petroleum), Volvo beat out BMW X3 and Porsche Macan for ‘Luxury Midsize SUV’. That’s pretty good competition, and “luxury” is a key word in this. I felt better about my own overall evaluation after watching the video, because there were many things I simply liked about the Volvo XC 60 – not the least of which were a. ease of entry and exit. There is plenty of head room for the driver to slide into the car, plus it is easy to reach the open door to pull it closed. That may sound silly, but lots of car and trucks these days have doors that open really wide and it makes reaching the door pull a lot harder than it should be. Also, once in, the car took little adjustment to get me, the driver, in a comfortable position in relation to the steering wheel, the gas and brake, the AC, the radio, and everything else you would want at your ‘finger tips’.

Our XC60 was the T8 E-AWD Polestar too, and that also brought some things to the table. “What is Polestar anyway?” you ask. Polestar is a Sino-Swedish automotive brand jointly owned by Volvo Car Group and its parent company Geely, the leading international car group located in Hangzhou, China. The company develops electric performance cars and offers performance hardware upgrades and engine software optimizations for Volvo models through their ‘Polestar Engineered’ division.

Then there’s T8. What’s that mean? Volvo hybrid cars implement the ‘T8’ Twin Engine that combines a turbocharged/supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor. This technology allows Volvo to create the hybrid luxury car.

And, of course, AWD stands for All Wheel Drive, of which I am a fan.

I want to say a few words about the practicality of the gas and electric engine working together. First, when we got the XC60, the battery part of the car engine was desperately in need of charging, so I did. Easy to use – you just plug the cord into a standard outlet and into the car and forget it. It was interesting in that I had to get the manual to see how to ‘unplug’ it. You have to press the ‘unlock’ button on the key fob to release the charge handle from the car’s charging point – located just in front of the driver’s door.

With a fully charged battery, I was ready to do. And that, good readers, was the start of the problem I think resides in this type of technology. Once I had the battery charged and started the car, it never got out of battery mode while driving around Pinehurst, even at speeds of 45 mph. While the car was exceptionally quiet, and responsive, and everything was great – the car driving battery discharges at a much greater rate than it recharges, so after only 19 miles, the battery was basically at zero again. Here’s the good part. If you have short commutes to work or, even if you have a long commute, and set up the charger to remind yourself to plug the car in every day, and do so, you always have this feature as part of your driving, thus really extending your gas mileage and minimizing you gas usage.

Additionally, the 2.0L Turbo and Supercharged Direct Injection Engine with electric motors generates a combined 415 HP and 495 lb-ft Torque, which, when you step down on the gas, gives you immediate response and power from either a stop or when moving in traffic but really need to speed up – I know. Very responsive and very powerful. From that standpoint, the combination of gas and electric work very well. Couple that with a very smooth 8 speed transmission, and you can say, “Varoom, varoom!” and mean it.

The Volvo XC60 T8 Polestar is billed as a luxury SUV also, which means it has a $71K base price, and ours with two addons (metallic paint and 22” Polestar Engineered Wheels) brought the price to $72.5K. An SUV not for the feint of heart or wallet for sure.

And here’s what Volvo lists under Luxury and Convenience: Laminated Panoramic Moonroof with Power Sunshade; Nappa Leather Sport Seat with Open grid Textile Upholstery and Gold Seatbelts; Paddle Shifters and Sport Pedals; Tailored Dashboard; Metal Mesh Aluminum Inlays; Charcoal Headliner; 10-Way, Power Front Seats and Front Seat Memory; 4-way Power Lumbar in the Front Seats; Heated Front Seats and Steering Wheel (but no cooling, hmmmm); Graphical Heads Up Display; Auto Dimming Interior and Exterior Mirrors; 2-Zone Automatic Climate Control plus CleanZone*; Keyless Entry and Drive; Integrated Tailpipes in Black Chrome with Polestar Engineered Logotype; and HomeLink Garage Door Opener. Can you separate ‘luxury’ and ‘convenience’?

*Volvo’s Interior Air Quality System (IAQS) is designed to clean the air inside the vehicle to reduce the risk of difficulties for drivers and passengers with asthma, allergies, or other sensitivities. The Clean Zone function checks and indicates whether or not all conditions have been met for good air quality in the passenger compartment.

2020 Volvo XC 60 T8 E-AWD Polestar Interior design update.

Starting the car was interesting as Volvo has put the starter next to the driver’s right and just behind the gear shift knob. You actually turn the knob to the right to start the car and turn it to the right to turn the car off. Two clicks up to reverse, two down for drive.  It takes some getting used to.  Since this is a hybrid, when you start the car, a lot of activity takes place on the dashboard but no noise. You get a list of checks the car is performing, followed by a “Ready” in green. I kind of liked it … especially since there was no engine noise.

Of course, Safety and Security (especially Safety) is a big concern, and Volvo has long been known as a safe vehicle. The XC60 T8 offers LED Headlights with Thor’s Hammer DRL, Auto Highbeams and Active Bending Lights to start with. Okay, Okay, Volvo says, not me, that the “front end gives a major nod to Norse mythology with its T-shaped running lights that are patterned after Thor’s hammer. Thor, the Norse god of thunder, used his hammer to battle trolls, giants and dragons. Gotta’ love it.

On a more realistic safety plane, we have Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Steer Assist and Cross Traffic Alert with Autobrake. Now that’s good stuff.

Then there is Pilot Assist, Driver Assistance System with Adaptive Cruise Control, which helps the driver to drive the car between the lane’s side markings using steering assistance as well as to maintain an even speed, combined with a preselected time interval to the vehicle ahead.

Next we have Collision Avoidance by City Safety – “City Safety is made by Volvo Cars. … If City Safety determines a collision is unavoidable and the driver does not respond, it activates the vehicle’s brakes and switches off the throttle. If the relative speed between the two vehicles is 15 km/h (9.3 mph) or less, a collision may be avoided completely.” City drivers, you don’t need to hit the jay walker or cyclist. Volvo will help you.

Low and High Speed Collision Mitigation Detects: Vehicle/Pedestrian/Cyclist/Large Animal and, of course, that works with the above.

Run-off Road Protection and Run-off Road Mitigation – During a run-off road crash, occupants often move in random directions, putting high demands on the interior restraints. Volvo’s solution focuses on keeping the occupants firmly in position and adding energy-absorbing functionality to the seat to counteract spine injuries.

Lane Departure warning and Lane Keeping Aid are pretty much standard anymore, but always welcome in any car I am driving.

Oncoming Mitigation by Braking can help a driver if the Volvo inadvertently begins to cross a road’s center line into the path of oncoming traffic.  “The function is active at speeds between approximately 37–87 mph (60–140 km/h) on roads with clear lane marker lines.  If the Volvo begins to cross a road’s center line while another vehicle approaches from the opposite direction, this function can assist the driver to steer the vehicle back into its proper traffic lane” says Volvo.

Of course, there are lots of airbags, and there is also a Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) in the front seats. Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) reduces the risk of whiplash injuries. The system consists of energy absorbing backrests and seat cushion, as well as a specially designed head restraint in the front seats.

WHIPS is deployed in the event of a rear-end collision, where the angle and speed of the collision and the nature of the colliding vehicle all have an influence. When WHIPS is deployed, the front seat backrests are lowered backward and the seat cushions move downward to change the seating position of the driver and front seat passenger. Its movement helps to absorb some of the forces that can arise and cause whiplash.

We don’t get Volvo’s very often, which Laurie mourns since many years ago, she had a consulting relationship with them that she, and they, found very productive, and I have to tell you that I really enjoyed this one. Is it worth the price tag? Well, not being the greatest hybrid supporter, at least in the way they work currently, I would have to think about this for a while. But for looks, comfort, get up and go, handling, feel, responsiveness, and safety, the 2020 Volvo XC60T8 E-AWD Polestar, is a lot of vehicle.

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Volvo Cars dealership near Pinehurst, NC

Volvo Cars of Fayetteville, 5925 Cliffdale Road, Fayetteville, NC 28314

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Volvo Cars dealership near Yonkers, NY

Volvo Cars White Plains is located at 262 E Main St, Elmsford, NY 10523.
Phone: +1 914-347-3377

eHeziDRIVING ME CRAZY’s 2020 Volvo XC 60 T8 E-AWD Polestar Review
By JOHN and LAURIE WILES

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