When the Volvo XC60 was introduced back in 2009, it effectively challenged the Lexus RX, one of the most successful mid-sized luxury crossovers currently in the U.S. market. Now the Swedish automaker looks to match the Lexus RX model by model with the Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid concept, which lines up against the Lexus RX 450h. No, not match, but exceed: According to Volvo, the XC60 plug-in hybrid has similar fuel economy as the Toyota Prius.
Who It's For
The Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid concept, if it goes into production as planned by Volvo in the next two years, will be an alternative to the Lexus RX hybrid which currently is the dominant midsized luxury crossover hybrid (the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid is a sales blip by comparison). We can imagine Lexus won't take the challenge to its sovereignty lightly and predict future models will be even more fuel efficient. However, we're not too sure if other automakers will see the premium mid-sized hybrid crossover market lucrative enough to devote resources like Volvo.
According to Volvo, the XC60 plug-in hybrid concept is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electric motor that have a combined fuel economy of 50 mpg, which is equivalent to the considerably smaller and lighter Toyota Prius (51 mpg city). Currently, the 2012 Lexus RX 450h FWD gets 32 mpg city/28 mpg highway/30 mpg combined. Also, the Volvo XC60 plugin hybrid concept, as its name implies, can be plugged in any household outlet to improve fuel economy.
Other notable features include:
- The Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid concept can travel up to 35 miles strictly on electric power.
- The gasoline engine and electric motor generate a combined 350 horsepower, 50 more than the 3.2-liter V-6 currently available on the non-hybrid Volvo XC60.
- The Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid concept can cover up to 600 miles on a single tank of fuel according to Volvo.
- It takes roughly eight hours to fully recharge the Volvo XC60 concept's batteries from a typical 110V outlet.
What We Think
Color us ambivalent on the Volvo XC60 plugin hybrid crossover concept. Most buyers consider hybrids for their fuel economy, something we have never been convinced is a priority as well for luxury car buyers. We do see the XC60 hybrid plugin as one way for Volvo to meet US CAFE regulations, though.
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