back to article Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: Eco, economy and diesel power

Volvo’s new V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the second vehicle of its type to go on sale in Blighty after the Toyota Prius Plug-in, which we drove and reviewed last year. The Volvo, however, has the potential to be of more interest to prospective e-car owners. Why? It can drive further and faster using just electricity than the Toyota, …

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  1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    57mpg?

    You were getting 57mpg? Personally I'd save myself ten grand and buy the V60 D5 SE Lux (61.4mpg).

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: 57mpg?

      But you can't plug the D5 SE into a mains socket every night to improve that figure, you can with the V60 Plug-In.

      1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

        Re: 57mpg?

        "..with all the plug-in charge used and running in Hybrid mode, I was getting around 57mpg"

        My bad - I read the above as "using plug-in charge" rather than "plug in charge used up". (Is it still Hybrid mode if there's no charge left?)

        Still, it'd be interesting to see how the costs stacked up overall.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: 57mpg?

          IIf you were planning to do lots of short run commutes it gets rid of the other enemy of diesels - the DPF

        2. xehpuk

          Re: 57mpg?

          I read it that way too.

          1. xehpuk

            Re: 57mpg?

            That is I too read it as if they used charger when they could but now I see that figure was after having used up all charge and not charging more. The figure is quite impressive then.

    2. Tapeador
      Windows

      Re: 57mpg?

      Save even more and get a petrol car and drive it gently. 1.4 VWs seem to get that at the mo. Or just get a small-engined diesel. My 1.4hdi Peugeot will get 80mpg on a run at lorry speeds.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: mpg not the only factor here

        The important difference is that your shitty cheap-ass French 1.4 does not have the ability to actually go when you need it to.

  2. Gilgamoth

    How Much?

    I know it's a hybrid, but as a Yorkshireman, how much does it cost to run the thing on electric only?

    i.e. if I'm lucky enough to have a round trip within the 30 mile limit, how much does it cost to charge the battery up from the mains over night? I'm curious what the pence per mile is from an electric charge is in comparison to a fuel only car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How Much?

      That's going to be entirely dependent on your energy tariff at any given time of day. Once you know how much you are you are paying then working out the cost of charging the battery in this is or any other electric car (or your phone or laptop) is pretty straight forward.

      1. Gilgamoth

        Re: How Much?

        @AC

        Okay so my tariff is per KWh, so how many KWh does it take to charge this car then?

    2. Oneman2Many

      Re: How Much?

      Battery capacity is 11.2KWh,

      Assume 12p per KWh electricity costs & 80% charging efficency

      So to charge from flat is approximately £1.68.

      1. Steve 13
        Thumb Down

        Re: How Much?

        So £1.68 to achieve a range of about 30 miles. Isn't that about the same price as half a galon of fuel, which would take the car just about as far... So no real cost benefit in running it, batteries that are at most only good for 10 years, and it costs an extra 10k upfront, even with a government subsidy.

        1. Mike Taylor

          Re: How Much?

          £1.40 / litre

          4.5 litres in a gallon

          £6.30 a gallon

          £3.15 for half gallon

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: How Much?

      But as a Yorkshireman you will appreciate a tory government giving £5,000 subsidy to people buying an electric car that they can top up using electricity from foreign coal because to subsisie the British coal industry would be wrong

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Subsidise the British Coal industry?

        There was a time when government didn't so much as "subsidise" the British Coal industry but acquiesce to its every demand! That said, we went too far the other way which is why we have 300 years of coal still in the ground and hardly any of it being exploited...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Subsidise the British Coal industry?

          "we have 300 years of coal still in the ground and hardly any of it being exploited..."

          Don't know if you're aware of this, but the privatised successor to the NCB, UK Coal, went bust recently, and by some miracle of City financial magick, is now owned by the UK Pension Protection Fund.

          Trebles all round, eh what! Three cheers for privatisation!

          The underfunded miners pension scheme was short of £500M or so, according to the FT an even bigger shortfall than the £300M or so shortfall at Nortel Networks. The £300M is subject to massive variation depending on when you look and what you believe - I've also seen £2bn and more reported in nominally reliable sources.

          The miners will likely see a 25% pension cut. The almost 40,000 Nortel (and related) pensioners still don't know what they'll get (the company went into administration in January 2009).

          There's an article for someone (not me) to write on this subject. It'd be more relevant to more readers here than articles on recruiting qunts for the City.

          Mostly irrelevant to those entering employment in recent years anyway, where the option of defined benefit schemes simply doesn't exist.

          http://www.nortelpensions.com/

          http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news/2239774/nortel-mediation-collapses-leaving-uk-scheme-emptyhanded

          http://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/benefits/pensions/supreme-court-overturns-nortel-and-lehman-pension-ruling/102611.article

    4. Yordan Georgiev

      Re: How Much?

      In Europe the price is about 2 euros pet 100 km +-20%

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How Much?

      The 30 mile is under optimum conditions. In the winter the battery won't be as efficient and once you start running electric heaters and suchlike it will rapidly decrease.

    6. R Callan
      Boffin

      Re: How Much?

      As an ex-Yorkshireman, if everyone was to only run their cars on coal (remember that 'leccy has to come from somewhere) who pays for the roads? The current major source of funding is fuel (read petrol) tax. In fact are the Pious types using the roads without paying at the moment.

  3. psychonaut

    soo...yet again, we are using 200 kilos of batteries to cart about itself and 200 kilos of engine, or vice versa.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I don't need ...

    If I don' need 0 to 60 in 6 seconds (and apart from Clarkson-worshippers, who does), is there a more realistically priced version in the pipeline?

    This does look like progress. But that price (even for a posh Volvo)...

    Anyway, it's a Volvo estate. How well will it do with a caravan behind?

    1. Andy Miller

      Re: If I don't need ...

      • 1,800 kg towing capacity

      • Up to 280 horsepower working at the same time

      • Up to 640 Nm of torque

      & 4WD

      Should pull a pretty big van very well. If only I could afford one, and over-come my anti-Volvo prejudice...

      1. Reginald Gerard

        Re: If I don't need ...

        Passat Estate: 2,200 kg but only w. min. 2.0l TD and 4WD

    2. Tony Humphreys
      Thumb Up

      Re: If I don't need ...

      I believe this model is advertised as being a tower (1800k). Whether its a caravan, boat or anything.

      All I need now is 43K.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If I don't need ...

        It's not a tower if it's front-wheel drive (which it is after you run the battery down). Also this whole random "can't tell if it's currently front, back or 4WD" thing does concern me: in dodgy conditions (snow, rain after a long dry spell or just plain thrashing it) it makes a big difference where the power is coming from.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          WTF?

          Re: If I don't need ...

          "It's not a tower if it's front-wheel drive"

          Really? So the only cars that can tow a van are BMWs , mercs and some supercars?

          Clue - this isn't the 1970s. FWD tows quite nicely in 2013.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: If I don't need ...

            Very nice car and id be tempted if not for the 43k. A top of the line mondeo diesel with similar trim spec (but lower engine spec admittedly) would be over 15k cheaper. 15k will easily be cheaper than the savings made by running electric only over 5 years. I imagine a battery change would cost an arm and a leg too. Wonder what the warranty is on the batteries. Ive not looked it but im sure ive seen freelanders and audi a4s headlining cheaper than 43k too.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: If I don't need ...

              (missed the edit time)

              with regards to adaptive 4wd,the car will do a FAR better job than you deciding what wheel to power! Have a test drive of a quattro or volvo in the snow and ice and see for yourself. Very slick.

              1. Yet Another Commentard

                Re: If I don't need ...

                @Danny 14

                I was about to type the same. It's invisible, and gets it right.

                Most of the motoring shows bang on about not being able to turn the traction control off, despite most drivers not being good enough to drive without all of the aids on and humming. It's the same here, for most situations I am not a good enough driver to thing "er, RWD, no FWD, ehhhh, AWD" and press buttons.

                Can my XC70 do all I need? Could my old A4 Quattro do all I needed? Yes. And I live on a farm. Down a muddy track. Off a side road that never gets cleared unless we get a tractor out to do it. Could a proper SUV with more user-controlled-stuff do better, well, yes, but I don't need it.

                I think I am one of the few AWD owners that actually drives on mud and slurry on a daily basis. The car just deals with it (as did the Audi beforehand), just as it deals with being on the motorway. I can deal with just doing the basics. It's all I am good for, again the meatsack is the weakpoint.

                If you are a highly skilled driver that can think faster than the computer then yes, there's a point. But most drivers are nowhere near good enough to do that.

          2. MJI Silver badge

            Re: If I don't need ...

            Still not as a good as a good RWD car.

            I have seen Rover 800s struggling

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: If I don't need ...

        I managed to add on enough options to get it up to £53k! Still want one, though.

    3. 2Fat2Bald

      Re: If I don't need ...

      As a matter of fact, yes, there is something similar and cheaper. The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is pretty similar (although not plug-in). And is a lot cheaper. The Citroen DS5 is similar, too.

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: If I don't need ...

      If you don't need 0-60 then buy a 1.4litre diesel Peugot 107 get 65mpg and do less harm to the environment than topping this up from coal fired power stations.

      And it costs about the same as the govt backhander to buy this

  5. Ralph B

    Analysis Please

    What is the impact to the fuel economy of the diesel motor from carrying around those (how many?) kilograms of batteries and electric motor? How much extra energy is consumed in the production of said batteries and electric motor? What is the relative energy transfer efficiency of the full production & supply chain for the diesel fuel and electricity?

    I'm making no political points, I'm just wanting an objective scientific comparison.

    Please.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Analysis Please

      200kg about 3 adults?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Analysis Please

        200kg about 3 UK adults. 1 US, 1/2 Fijian, 6 models but more importantly 200 packs of linguine.

  6. Ogi

    It also isn't ugly!

    Sorry, but IMO the vast majority of electric/hybrid cars really look ugly (and I include the prius in that). Some of them seem to be designed maximaly for the "look at me, I'm green!" impression. Others look like plastic toys. It all makes it look somewhat gimmicky.

    It is refreshing to see a car that, well, looks like a car. Apart from the badges, you would not be able to tell what the car is from the outside. And it looks pretty nice as well.

    If I were interested in electric/hybrids, and had money to burn, this would be the first I would actually consider buying.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: It also isn't ugly!

      That is what I thought, you don't look like a twat.

    2. ElNumbre
      Coat

      Re: It also isn't ugly!

      The car pictured is particularly dreary in its grey suit. It looks like a dull car for dullards who want to spend a damp weekend in Dull, Perthshire.

      Volvo do some really nice vibrant colours - the red and blue are particularly lovely. Please, for the love of all things great, don't buy a grey or silver car. I know you don't have to look at it when you're sat inside it, but everyone else who does is at risk of falling asleep just looking at it.

      1. hplasm
        Mushroom

        Re: don't buy a grey or silver car

        But if you do- put your fucking lights on when it's foggy out!!!

        1. James12345
          Happy

          Re: don't buy a grey or silver car

          Being a Volvo, you don't have to worry about putting the lights on.

      2. John 110
        Trollface

        Re: It also isn't ugly!

        @ElNumbre

        Have you ever been to Dull, Perthshire? It's really nice in the summer.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: It also isn't ugly!

      I like my cars ugly - why should I pay for other people to enjoy them? That would be stupid and vain and as I am sitting in the car when using it I dont actually give a shit what it looks like on the outside.

      Except to find it in the car park of course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It also isn't ugly!

        If everyone thought like you then everything would be ugly grey and boring.

        I'm glad that's not the case....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10k over the standard car ?

    That's an awful lot of diesel. Without even bothering to calculate I'd wager that's likely more than you'd save via the improved economy over the lifetime of the car. And can someone tell me about how long these batteries last and how much they cost to replace ? Early Prius must surely be getting to replacement point by now.

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: 10k over the standard car ?

      Average UK Diesel cost is £1.40/litre of £6.356/Imp Gallon.

      Regional variations apply.

      £10k would buy you 1573 gallons, which at 50miles/gallon would take you 78665 miles.

      So you need to save 1573 gallons (or do 78665miles on electric-only) to break even on Diesel.

      Only electricity costs money so depending on tariffs it'll be a bit further to break even as you're still not getting those miles free. I can see duty cycles where you would get break even (or if the company gives you a car allowance but you're paying for your own fuel), but not for most people.

      I have to say my commute is about 15miles, but I occasionally have need of long North-South motorway drives, ruling out an all-electric unit. I reckon I could get my daily drive for the cost of electric, and would only need to put diesel in when I did a long run, which would be a big ongoing saving. Assuming the batteries are happy with that sort of repeated deep drain cycle, which if they're designed for hybrids they're probably not (more aimed at constant charge pulses from braking and short drains for pulling away from the lights).

      If they did a cheaper version with less performance/all-electric endurance that gave a quicker pay-back time but offered some solid savings for those people doing regular 10-15 mile journeys in urban areas then I reckon uptake would be much improved.

      Electric is fantastic for the city - lots of torque off the line at the lights and not burning electric or fuel whilst parked in traffic (good for the wallet), with plenty of braking cycles to recharge, and an engine for the odd trip to the country. And low emissions, which is never a bad thing in congested areas.

      I don't see the point in hybrids for big cars trying to eek a few extra MPG on motorway trips - that's already the most efficient drive anyway, so you're into diminishing returns.

      It seems at the moment we have the options of all-electric, or big engine augmented by electric.

      I'd have thought for most people in towns and cities doing lots of urban driving you want to turn that on it's head - a base electric unit (10-15miles) augmented by a small generator for extended range.

      Also, props to Volvo for making it look like a car you would actually want to own and be seen it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10k over the standard car ?

        @rh587 try a chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera. It does exactly what you have on your wish list.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: 10k over the standard car ?

      Petrol and electricity costs, measured as pence per kilowatt-hour, have followed similar trends since I started analysing my bills in 2009. From 2009 through 2011 electricity stayed around 1 p/kWh more expensive than petrol. Since then electricity prices have risen more than petrol: during the first half of 2013 petrol has averaged 13.65 p/kWh while electricity has averaged 16.95 p/kWh.

      I use supermarket petrol and have a 3 year fix on electricity. The conversion factor I use assumes a litre of petrol contains 9.7 kWh of energy.

      So, any cost saving from running an electric or hybrid car is entirely down to the efficiency of the engine. A petrol engine is about 25% efficient. If we assume 80% efficiency for battery charging and that an electric motor is also 80% efficient, the overall efficiency of battery electric systems is 64% so, with electricity costing 20% more than petrol, you might save 20% on fuel costs for a pure electric car compared with a petrol one. A petrol hybrid will, of course, save less and the savings will depend on the amount of pure electric driving you do.

      I don't track diesel prices so can't do the same calculation for diesel cars, but would point out that, while an electric drive train is around 40% more efficient than a petrol one, the efficiency gain for diesel is at best 24% because a diesel engine is more efficient than a petrol engine (up to 40% efficient).

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: 10k over the standard car ?

        "The conversion factor I use assumes a litre of petrol contains 9.7 kWh of energy."

        Yes, but even the best automotive engine is only going to get 3-3.5kWh hour out of it.

        Atkinson cycle or single speed optimised (or both) will push that a little higher. I assume the Volvo uses some form of valve timing to achieve atkinson-like(*) operation when power isn't needed.

        (*)Atkinson is a modification of otto cycle, one could argue that diesel is otto without the spark.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 10k over the standard car ?- Otto without the spark

          One could not. Otto cycle = combustion at constant volume, Diesel cycle = combustion at constant pressure. Kids nowadays...when oi wor a lad it was bed wi no supper if uns got oor thermodynamic cycles mixed up.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: 10k over the standard car ?- Otto without the spark

            Running in hybrid will run the diesel at optimum "charging speed" for the car to run electric only too. Efficency for engines are based on rpm too. Spooling up heavy engines takes more fuel than a constant torque sweet spot. If the batteries are kept at say 85pct (to take advantage of regen braking) then i assume you can get much higher mpg - hence the real 57mpg for a damn powerful engine. My similar output 5 pot 2.5T petrol used to return an average of 25mpg

            I suppose that could be another button called economy mode-only use electric with diesel charging after a preset (different from hybrid as it would not let you use diesel motive power)

        2. Waderider
          Facepalm

          Re: 10k over the standard car ?

          Please do not mix units, your response is nonsense!

    3. DragonLord

      Re: 10k over the standard car ?

      However, if like most people, you don't tend to have lump sums of money very often, the cheaper running costs will typically be more welcome than the lower initial cost (assuming you could afford both)

  8. Zacherynuk

    SatNav

    £45K car sporting the very latest technology that doesn't have postcode search ? Beggars belief.

    I would expect more from the Chinese.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SatNav

      I can live without postcode search but do the maps cover the whole of Europe.

  9. Andyf

    Really liking the sound of this type of car, just hating the price. If they produced a smaller version (astra/focus/c'eed, f.ex) for 14-18K, without some of the bells and whistles, and shifted the balance from performance to economy somewhat, they'd probably sell far more of them.

    Apart from top trumps geeks and petrol heads, the 0-60 time is pretty much irrelevant, providing that it's not glacially slow. For 95% of drivers, around 12 seconds would be perfectly adequate.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      12 seconds!!!!

      Anything over 10 feels a bit slow.

      About 8 is always nice.

      1. LazyLazyman

        Re: 12 seconds!!!!

        Ye, if you are at all bothered about other road users 12 seconds is very slow. Sub 8 is useful for pulling out of junctions without forcing other people to slow, overtaking smoothly or getting on to a motorway on an uphill slip road without a load of stress. It makes driving so much less stressful to have enough shove to get up to speed, if you care at all about other road users.

        On the cost side, it will be a while before we see prices drop to those levels, if they ever do given that much of it is the engineering elements of the 4wd and getting the two drive systems to play well together. I'm sure they will sooner or later, but for the time being that market will be dominated by small turbo diesels. The VW Golf Bluemotion will do everything you ask for £20k, or the Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Econetic for £14,995. Realistically a Focus sized car with a disle is never going to be in the price range you ask, as the base Focus is £14k.

        Then there is the size and weight element of slinging that lot in the back of something that is not either a) a big estate where it is a small price or b) a hair shirt eco car where people will live with a tiny boot and high weight.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 12 seconds!!!!

          Ye, if you are at all bothered about other road users 12 seconds is very slow. Sub 8 is useful for pulling out of junctions without forcing other people to slow, overtaking smoothly or getting on to a motorway on an uphill slip road without a load of stress. It makes driving so much less stressful to have enough shove to get up to speed, if you care at all about other road users.

          I think you'll find very few people are driving about in cars capable of sub-8s 0-60 times. That means that if there's anything in front of you, which let's face it on most major UK roads happens quite often, then you'll be the one that's held up.

          1. LazyLazyman

            Re: 12 seconds!!!!

            "I think you'll find very few people are driving about in cars capable of sub-8s 0-60 times. That means that if there's anything in front of you, which let's face it on most major UK roads happens quite often, then you'll be the one that's held up."

            Not sure how you work that out. The speed limit is still the same no matter how fast a car accelerates....

      2. Andyf

        Re: 12 seconds!!!!

        How often does any driver have to accelerate from a standing start to 60mph on any normal british road? Not very often. In my experience, most times when joining a road with a 60mph speed limit, you're doing so from a filter junction and already travelling between 30-40mph anyway.

        This is where the extra torque of the hybrid system would come in handy, in a 4th/5th gear roll-on.

        The caveat to my comments is that most of my driving is round town commuting with just me in the car, which would apply to a significant proportion of other drivers. I'm not saying that a 'performance' hybrid doesn't have it's place for some people, I'm just saying that it's overkill for most commuting journeys.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: 12 seconds!!!!

          @Andyf

          I don't want to start another of the all too frequent town-v-country spats, but the scenario in which you join a 60 mph road from a 90 degree side turning is a common feature of driving outside towns. It's normally a two-lane A road, with continuous traffic during the rush hour. If you don't want to sit at the junction for ten minutes, and prefer not to earn the undying enmity of other drivers, there's nothing for it but to floor the pedal and accelerate up to 60 with squealing tyres and occasional fishtailing.

          1. Andyf

            Re: 12 seconds!!!!

            Fair comment, Kubla, it's a question of each to their own. If I did lots of motorway driving or roads such as you describe, I'd have a different view on this.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 12 seconds!!!!

            "If you don't want to sit at the junction for ten minutes, and prefer not to earn the undying enmity of other drivers, there's nothing for it but to floor the pedal and accelerate up to 60 with squealing tyres and occasional fishtailing."

            Which of course would be entirely unnecessary if even 2% or so of the main road drivers had the observational skills to see you waiting and the common courtesy to slow down a tiny fraction to create a bit of a gap for you to confidently and safely move out into. After all, one day the situation might be the other way round - the main road folks might be the ones waiting to get out of the side road.

            Who knows, some days it might even have rained that day, making the main road a bit of an ice rink, so to speak, and the 0 to 60 with a ninety degree turn may not work quite as hoped, and it may not just be a *lttle* bit of fishtailing.

            Nah, far too radical a concept.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 12 seconds!!!!

              "Which of course would be entirely unnecessary if even 2% or so of the main road drivers had the observational skills to see you waiting and the common courtesy to slow down a tiny fraction to create a bit of a gap for you to confidently and safely move out into. "

              Ah, I see... Your one of THOSE drivers... It's not "common courtesy" to cause other drivers to slow, in fact you would fail your driving test for doing that. It's courtesy to keep a steady speed observe give way lines...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 12 seconds!!!!

                "Ah, I see... Your one of THOSE drivers... It's not "common courtesy" to cause other drivers to slow, in fact you would fail your driving test for doing that. It's courtesy to keep a steady speed observe give way lines..."

                Incorrect - slowing down to allow a driver to pull out of a junction will NOT fail you a driving test.

                The rule states you must not *force* a another driver to do one of the 3 S' Swerve, alter Speed considerably, or Stop.

                Someone slowing a little to allow someone else to pull out safely, IS a courtesy. It's just not required by law.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 12 seconds!!!!

                "Your one of THOSE drivers"

                Your (sic) one of those observers. You didn't spot and/or didn't consider the "a tiny fraction". But maybe that's no surprise.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 12 seconds!!!!

            Modern cars with modern tyres and auto gearboxes do not make squeals when accelerating 0-60. It's only under engined cars with manual boxes that do that.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 12 seconds!!!!

          "How often does any driver have to accelerate from a standing start to 60mph on any normal british road"

          Leeds! National speed limit inner city motorway (rind road) with blind corners on the entries and poor signage.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 12 seconds!!!!

            "Leeds! National speed limit inner city motorway (ring road) with blind corners on the entries and poor signage."

            Aye lad. Been there, seen that, don't want to see it again. Been to lots of other places (UK and elsewhere), and never seen anything quite that daft. What were they thinking?

            Have been to quite a few places even in the UK where a sustained gradient and a heavier load than average noticeably makes an ordinary car work harder (e.g. ~2l turbodiesels like I've had for many a year). Doesn't sound like this Volvo would even blink, but I wonder about the smaller ones.

          2. Steve Todd
            Stop

            Re: 12 seconds!!!!

            @AC 12:30, well by your definition the average driver in Leeds is b*gg*red then. Average 0-60 for new cars today is in the 10-13 second range, and most drivers can't hit the official numbers anyway.

        3. John 110

          Re: 12 seconds!!!!

          "How often does any driver have to accelerate from a standing start to 60mph on any normal british road? Not very often. In my experience, most times when joining a road with a 60mph speed limit, you're doing so from a filter junction and already travelling between 30-40mph anyway."

          See my earlier comment about Dull, Perthshire, where you'll be doing this all the time...

          1. Stacy

            Re: 12 seconds!!!!

            As others have stated the point of the power is to be there when you need it and for in gear acceleration. My V70 has to make do with (sarcasm) only (/sarcasm) 320nm and 240bhp.

            And apart from occasionally having fun on slip roads to motorways, when there is not a slower car in front of me, I don't hammer the throttle from standstill very often. Seeing figures like 99l/100km (Dutch car) on the instant readout puts you off doing that rather quickly!

            But, where the car comes into it's own is busy motorway driving and back roads where the in gear acceleration is used, this is also traditionally also what Volvo concentrates on more than 0-60 times when it comes to power. The ability to get from 50 to 80 in a very short space of time when needed makes life a lot less stressful.

            I'm due for a new(ish) V70 in 4 years. I hope that this drive train is an option for a V70 around that time. Dutch road tax is prohibitively expense for a diesel, where as hybrids are cheap. Outside of makiing the money back in Diesel in 3 years, it's more than 1000 euros a year cheaper to tax!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 12 seconds!!!!

              "back roads where the in gear acceleration is used"

              "The ability to get from 50 to 80 in a very short space of time when needed"

              The ability to read the road and drive appropriately for the conditions "makes life a lot less stressful."

              It's quite rare on public roads for acceleration to be able to get you out of trouble if you've properly used your powers of observation. It's quite common for heavy right foot and lightweight brain to get people into trouble. Often, people other than the driver end up being the casualties.

              Let the downvotes begin.

              Have a lovely weekend.

              1. Stacy
                FAIL

                Re: 12 seconds!!!!

                Where did I say get out of trouble? I don't think that was mentioned.

                You are on a back road, behind a tractor. The less time you spend on the wrong side of the road going around that tractor the better. The better your in gear acceleration the smaller the gap you need to be safely past the tractor and on the right side of the road again (and I am not talking about being 1/2m safe - I want lots of room to overtake to make sure I am safe!

                The same on a motorway, you are behind a lorry, the easier you can get to the speed of the cars in the overtaking lane the safer the maneuver to change lanes.

                And all of that safety makes driving a whole lot less stressful and frustrating! Don't you think? And seeing as frustration causes accidents it's safer still!

                Oh, and not down-voted, I wouldn't want to give you the satisfaction :)

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: 12 seconds!!!!

                  " you are behind a lorry, the easier you can get to the speed of the cars in the overtaking lane the safer the maneuver to change lanes."

                  Lorries (certainly HGVs) are mostly doing 50ish mph or less in most of Europe (maneuver => US, right?)

                  The next lane to you (the 'overtaking' lane) in most of Europe is doing not much more than 70mph, and if there is congestion it is likely doing significantly less.

                  Is there anything other than a 2CV-class vehicle (or a massively overloaded LGV) that can't cope with that kind of acceleration in a reasonable timeframe, given a sensible amount of room?

                  If there isn't room to overtake the lorry without making the driver in the 'overtaking' lane brake (and remember he's quite possibly on the phone with the cruise control turned on and the eyeballs turned off), then maybe it's not such a bright idea to overtake the lorry. Maybe set out ten minutes earlier instead?

                  Also remember that the "variable speed limits" exist because evidence shows that when motorways are congested, throughput gets better when everyone is doing similar speeds and when excessive lane-dodging is discouraged. YOU may not personally like it that way, but it's better for most folk that way.

                  I do know what the Drive to Survive (and similar) instructors used to say e.g. on the occasions when my employer put the workforce through those courses. If you've never been on one, and you drive a lot on behalf of your employer, please try to get on one. Please try to get on one anyway? Some of the instructors were IAM-class folks. And it certainly used to be said that acceleration was overrated. Surprisingly few people were listening.

                  1. Stacy
                    WTF?

                    Re: 12 seconds!!!!

                    No, not US, UK moved to Holland. Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre (what you are taught in the UK when learning to drive).

                    If you have a car that is capable of getting from 50 to 80 (which in the country I live in is the maximum speed for the motorway) in a couple of seconds then the gap you need to safely manoeuvre between lanes is much shorter than a car that needs ten or more seconds to do the same.

                    How is this a difficult concept to grasp? My first car, a 1978 Fiesta, would take a long time to wind up those speeds and when there was a lot of traffic would be stuck behind lorries for a long time so that drivers didn't have to brake when I pulled out.

                    And yes, in modern day traffic there are a lot of cars that will struggle with that. I'm pleased not to be in that situation any more.

                    If you hog the middle lane you can now be given a 100 pound fixed ticket and three penalty points. You should not stick to just one lane (as the highway code points out, and the advanced driving handbook does too I believe). You should drive in the left hand most lane unless overtaking another vehicle.

                    And we are not talking about when you are on a massively congested road, with a variable speed limit to increase traffic flow and someone trying to lane dodge to jump ahead of the queue. In those cases I wait in the lane I'm in until it clears (we've all seen office space haven't we?) or I am approaching my exit and need to move to the left lane for that. It's less stressful and frustrating that way :)

                    I don't know why you have it you're head that I a nutter on the road for wanting to be able to change lanes or overtake safely, but I'm not... I stick to the limits or less, for both fuel and not wanting a speed ticket, and do my best to be a considerate driver by not forcing other people to have to react to my driving.

                    Anyway, there is no way you're going see me as anything other than the nutter, you've made that clear - so with this note I wish you a pleasent weekend...

              2. DropBear
                Mushroom

                Re: 12 seconds!!!!

                Magnificent powers of observation won't help you squat when you need to join (preferably before you die of old age) a road with sufficient traffic to make absolutely-guaranteed-to-be-safe joining impossible for hours on end; lots of torque, in turn, will - welcome to the real world...

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 12 seconds!!!!

                It's not about being able to hammer from a standing start... A 0-60 time is an indicator of the accelerative ability of a car.

                You don't have to use it all, and it is allot less stressful to overtake or pull out of a junction when you can just press the accelerator and get up to a good speed without having to hammer the engine. It's not about hammering around faster, but just making life less stressful. Reading the road and driving appropriately for the conditions doesn't help you overtake a lorry doing 30... Not hanging about on the other side of the road for 10 seconds dose. It's not about getting out of trouble, but not getting in to it in the first place. Since going from a 1.0 clio to a car with a bit of poke I have felt much safer when overtaking and joining motorways.

                Strangely the IAM never mentioned getting a smaller car as a way to make driving safer.

                If you want to hang around behind lorries and tractors, fine, just do me a favor and leave a proper gap for those of us who have the power to overtake safely.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Headmaster

              Re: 12 seconds!!!!

              320nm- is that the blue shift? Or do you mean NM?

              1. Stacy
                FAIL

                Re: 12 seconds!!!!

                No, I meant Nm :)

        4. MJI Silver badge

          Re: 12 seconds!!!!

          Accelerate - more than you think.

          My car is around the 8 second mark depending on fuel, best on Shell or BP super stuff, worst on Tesco with LPG in between. But on decent petrol with recent fuel trim reset sub 8 is easy.

          As I mainly use LPG, I can afford to boot it!

          However the 50 to 90 acceleration is more usefull.

    2. monkeyfish

      Really liking the sound of this type of car, just hating the price. If they produced a smaller version (astra/focus/c'eed, f.ex) for 14-18K, without some of the bells and whistles, and shifted the balance from performance to economy somewhat, they'd probably sell far more of them.

      er.. is that not the prius? Volvo were making a premium version, because volvo make premium cars...

    3. GettinSadda

      Really liking the sound of this type of car, just hating the price. If they produced a smaller version (astra/focus/c'eed, f.ex) for 14-18K, without some of the bells and whistles, and shifted the balance from performance to economy somewhat, they'd probably sell far more of them.

      There's a very similar model coming out in two or three years time that is exactly the price you want. It's called the "second-hand V60 Plug-In"

      1. Ragarath
        Trollface

        There's a very similar model coming out in two or three years time that is exactly the price you want. It's called the "second-hand V60 Plug-In"

        Not at the right price surely after replacing the dead batteries.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Volt / Ampera

    "Volvo’s new V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the second vehicle of its type to go on sale in Blighty after the Toyota Prius Plug-in"

    So the Plug In & Petrol - Volt & Ampera are to be ignored?

    Maybe because they are electric with petrol generator instead of petrol engine drive with electric assist? but exact technics aside they surely fit in the same 'Plug-in & Petrol' bracket here? and worth adding to the comparison.

    1. Al Taylor
      Facepalm

      Re: Volt / Ampera

      Fair point, I clean overlooked the Vauxhall Ampera when I wrote that.

      Apols.

  11. jungle_jim

    That's more like it!

    A hybrid that doesn't seem to make too many compromises! (for things I want in a car)

    Will see off a lot at the lights and lug the family about + dog too.

    Other than the price - I like it.

  12. IHateWearingATie

    £43k?

    Nearly fell off my chair.

    A better mix would be a VW BlueMotion diesel which is nearly as cheap to run, with £15k left to spend on a second hand Caterham to feed the 0-60 beast in you.

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Headmaster

      Re: £43k?

      Actually, Caterham are bringing out a new model for about £17k.

      The bad news is that it's a 3cyl 660cc Suzuki turbo:-

      http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/caterham-seven-suzuki-engine-2013-08-05

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: £43k?

        Wonder what that dinky 660cc revs to? some of the fastest '7-a-like' kit cars are bike engine powered

        1. Steven Raith
          Thumb Up

          Re: £43k?

          To be fair to Caterham, their engines are generally either well selected (The k-series power delivery suits a lightweight frame - reiability notwithstanding, ahem) or very well tuned and mapped (see the big hitter duratecs etc).

          I'd expect the little 660cc turbo lump to be a compelling option. I doubt it'll be a screamer like the Megabusas etc that you see, but light internals and careful mapping to work around any lag from the ikkle turbo should mean good throttle response with any luck.

          Dying to see reviews if I'm honest!

          Steven R

  13. Wang N Staines

    My 60 years old aunt drives a Volvo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "My 60 years old aunt drives a Volvo."

      Does it look like this one?

      This one looks less like a proper Volvo estate (700/900 style), more like every other supposedly-posh car on the market.

      Might be good news, might be bad news. Hard to say.

    2. James12345
      Alert

      She doesn't sound like she is a cu*t, unlike you.

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      People like to diss Volvo because the cars look a little boxy and easily go for 200k+ miles (family record, 344k miles, after which it was sold as a taxi, still running). Much better to look cool and be scrapyard material before 100k miles.

      1. Stacy
        Happy

        I don't know... I think that all the modern Volvo's look quite good.

        The smaller ones are being made to look cool and classy, and the V70 looks really classy, without being shouty and gaudy about it.

        And when you go 10 years down the line they still look classy, where as the cool cars all look rather aged... (Not sure how the new V40 and V60 are going to fair there - time will tell...)

        Just my opinion :)

  14. PaulChurchley

    Good report but...

    I thought this report was fair and many of the facts absolutely correct. The MPG is dependent on how far you drive on battery... the more you drive on battery (i.e. the more you plug in) the better the MPG.

    However, the report says that its range is nearing the range of the Nissan Leaf. This is not really true. The Nissan Leaf has a real-world range of about 80 miles or 90 for the latest version.

    In spite of that I would consider this as a replacement for our Vauxhall Ampera when it is time to change.

  15. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Diesel Electric

    What's happened to the diesel electric cars, not "hybrid" that were predicted?

    i.e. Where a (small) diesel engine running at a largely fixed RPM (and, IIRC, therefore rather more efficient, although I believe a set of efficient ranges were required) generates electricity to power the electric drive motors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Diesel Electric - Not efficient

      It works for a locomotive.

      It does not work for a light vehicle due to the additional weight and the fact that drivetrain losses are massively increased over a mechanical transmission.

  16. DaneB
    Flame

    Car shmar

    IMHO only, and I'd love to be proved wrong...

    Whatever the tech, these hybrids are still likely to be in the garage causing hundreds if not thousands of pounds damage to their owners after their first 5 years. Modern cars are complicated enough without having two modes of push.

    Keep your car as SIMPLE as possible and the money will stay firmly in-pocket.

    Give me a ten year-old petrol Corolla any day. :)

  17. Alan Firminger

    Driving

    There is a comment in the text that the driver does not need to know whether power is diesel or electric.

    But there should be a marked difference between driving with front or rear wheel drive. I suspect that the driver quickly and unconsciously adapts.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wear and tear

    I think one major thing that's over looked is that diesels don't normally like short journeys but with something like this in a city your going to be on lecky a lot of the time. I live 3 miles from work and I've a diesel which gets no where nears the quoted MPG as it's all small trips. With this you'd have the best of both worlds and you don't need to worry about DPF's as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wear and tear

      3 miles from work? Why not cycle - cheaper still! (OK, wet and cold in winter ;p)

  19. 2Fat2Bald

    For my money, it's just too pricey. Never mind the whole "does it save you money in the long-run" bit (and it may well do, on BIK tax), but it's just too darned expensive for what it is in terms of initial outlay. I simply don't see many people hazarding 40-odd thousands on a small Volvo Estate. It needs to be ten grand cheaper, at least.

    Sure. I'd love one, but 44k? Do me a lemon.

  20. Happy Ranter
    Meh

    WHY haven't car makers got it into thier heads that smaller batteries would be perfectly acceptable?

    Given that my MPG tanks to low teen when accelerating or going up steep hills, I would be perfectly happy with a 10 mile range on pure electric (great for city or a quick trip to the shops) and a smaller engine that could return decent MPG cruising and gets an extra 20KW boost from the electric when you need the power

  21. Alister

    Just plug it in

    I wonder what percentage of households in Britain don't have the luxury of a driveway to park their car in, and therefore could only charge an electric / hybrid by trailing an extension lead across the public pavement.

    Or what about the traveling salesman who stays at a different Hotel every night, how many Trust House Fortes have 13 Amp sockets in the car park?

    This is surely the biggest sticking point for many who would otherwise consider one of these vehicles.

    1. Stacy
      Thumb Up

      Re: Just plug it in

      In Holland they are dealing with that. Some car parks have charging points installed so you can shop and charge at the same time. And some cities are installing charging parking spots on the street so people can park near their house and still charge (you have to have a card to make it work obviously).

      As these spread it will become more usable.

    2. M Gale

      Re: Just plug it in

      If you're spending £43k on a car, why can't you afford a house with a driveway?

      I imagine once hybrid cars are more common, you'll see more public charge points. Yes, including motels.

  22. Wyrdness

    I'm laughing at the cost / mpg ratio

    My newest vehicle is giving me an average of 47mpg in London rush-hour(s) traffic. It does 0-60mpg in around three and a half seconds and it's British. It also, IMO, looks better than any Volvo, and only cost me 5 grand brand new (in May this year).

    The main downside is that it can only carry one passenger and has no boot space at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: units

      Sort your units out mate, or you look like you don't know what you're talking about.

  23. Julesthom

    Ampera?

    Isn't this the 3rd Plug-in hybrid? I've had an Ampera for a year...

  24. rar

    Smaller engine version needed

    Put in a small diesel so combined power is reasonable but not exciting say 120bhp and with the space and weight saved move the batteries to the front to give back the boot space.

    That should give you nice looking useful car

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    God it's ugly

    like a pig's snout

  26. Sergey 1
    Pint

    401

    "More info" link to Volvo website - Error 401 NOT AUTHORIZED

    WTF?

  27. Herby
    Coat

    When do they hand it over to the Stig to...

    ...drive it wound the track?

    Some say he can feel electricity in his veins.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When do they hand it over to the Stig to...

      All we know is he's called The Stig, and if we ever find out his real name he will be swiftly replaced.

  28. Lord Zedd

    When will it be available?

    Oh, it will never be available in the USA? Guess we just prefer our 16mpg SUVs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When will it be available?

      "It ain't a capable automobile if it ain't got a four-litre V8 in it"

  29. bep

    But it's a diesel

    Encouraging more diesels in private cars doesn't seem very eco friendly to me. No mention of fine particle particulates in the article (cough, cough).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But it's a diesel

      There will be far fewer particulates emitted in areas that have people in them, because you will be running on electric.

  30. Squeezer

    @ Happy Ranter -- smaller batteries with a 20kW motor is exactly what Mercedes have done with the E300 hybrid, which also has a cost premium of only about £3000 over the straight E250 diesel.

    This is enough to give hybrid economy and noise benefits (regenerative braking and engine-off coasting, electric only in start/stop traffic, engine start/stop with no delay when pulling away) without a big cost increase or any reduction in luggage space, everything fits under the bonnet.

    Whether it delivers the claimed urban economy remains to be seen, but then due to the unrealistic EU test cycle neither do most cars, hybrid or not. What is certain is that with lease costs and fuel costs and BiK taken into account it does make sense for leased company car drivers, which is the biggest UK market for this type of vehicle.

    And it's spooky to drive, most of the time while driving the only way to tell that the engine's been switched off is by looking at the rev counter...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent

    This is what I have been hoping to see for a while. A good balance of performance, practicality and economy.

    When will the Germans make one? There might finally be a reason to change from the Golf TDi.

    Up with this sort of thing.

  32. Robert E A Harvey

    El Reg is the place to advertise?

    I read a previewish review here - and next day the news says all production is sold out.

    Waahhh!

  33. Faster Better Greener

    Actually own one of these – will publish detailed analysis after 6 months use

    I actually took delivery of one of these V60 PHEVs in late-June. In short, massively impressed with it. Am currently collating real world data on the actual performance (e.g. pure-EV range, leccy costs, % of time diesel cuts in, actual mpg in various driving scenarios). Will publish findings as an eBook in January 2014.

    For day-to-day use for commutes, it is entirely possible to drive the car as a pure EV. We often go weeks without the diesel coming on at all. If you have a EU-typical journey pattern of a short-to-medium commute a couple of times a day, this car will potentially deliver MPG results in the high hundreds. But the diesel hybrid is useful too when needing to make longer journeys. Do NOT buy this car if your typical journey pattern mostly involves long motorway journeys, it's not optimised for that kind of work.

    Overall, taking all journey types into account, we're currently projecting over 100mpg on average over a year; currently obtaining over 165mpg on (mainly) day-to-day commutes with a bit of medium-range leisure driving. On motorway trips, consumption deteriorates to around 55 – 80 mpg, depending on traffic circumstances.

    Couple of points to bear in mind. Use public chargepoints to top up battery when out and about. Not only does it extend your EV range, but vast majority of public-subsidised chargepoints still provide entirely FREE electricity to registered users. Fast charger (Type 2 - Mode 3, Menneckes connector) installation at home is currently also 100% subsidised (i.e. zero cost to customer).

    Financially, if you're self-employed or accounting the car through a business, 100% of the value of an ultra-low emissions vehicle can currently be offset against taxable profit in Year 1 (100% WDA). That's another very substantial slug of free money from the Govt, in addition to the £5K off the sticker price. And London congestion charge exemption is worth having. And the £0 Road Fund Licence. Add all these incentives together, and you could be getting an effective subsidy of between £15K and £19K from the Govt. Then add the fuel savings (and yes, you will smirk when you keep driving past the petrol station for a whole month...) and the effective whole-life cost of ownership becomes very competitive.

    On our domestic tariff, it costs around £1 to £1.15 to fully recharge the battery, from which I can confirm we reliably get between 28 and 32 miles range in a very hilly part of the country. However, given that we usually charge up for free in town when we can, our actual average electricity cost is lower than it would be if we only charged at home.

    As for the general car-stuff. Goes like a rocket in 'Power' mode, with instant torque from a standing start from the electric motor . Very comfortable. Exceptionally quiet on good tarmac, even when diesel is working. Boot space is a little compromised by the battery, but not to the extent that we've ever noticed it hampering general practical usability of the car. Load space with 40, 60 or 100% of the seats down is very versatile and usable.

    Slick drivetrain mapping allows 'Pure' mode to favour coasting, whereas 'Hybrid' mode will favour greater harvesting of surplus energy through regeneration when freewheeling or going downhill. Both modes regenerate under braking. The transition process between electric and diesel drive is super-smooth: control software is obviously very well refined - even when the transition occurs at high speeds, the turbo is clearly "pre-spun" to the right speed so that there is absolutely no jolt when the engine kicks in. It is often imperceptible.

    From personal experience, all in all, a very well engineered package. Happy with it.

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