2020 Volvo V60 Polestar Engineered First Drive Evaluation: Boxy and Good

As the grey metallic 2020 Volvo V60 Polestar Engineered ticked, cooling within the SoCal air behind me, I couldn’t assist however marvel, “What’s a Polestar, anyway?”

You may have a proper to be confused. Volvo, and its dad or mum firm Geely, have spent simply sufficient cash to make most of the people fairly conscious that Polestar is the title of its new electrical automobile model. However Polestar additionally has a two-decade historical past of growing stonking-fast variants of present Volvo inside combustion automobiles in racetrack and street-legal varieties. Volvo purchased the Polestar racing division in 2016, then rapidly made it the image for EV growth and gross sales with the Polestar 1 and upcoming Polestar 2.

What’s a Polestar?

And but, Volvo nonetheless builds Polestar variants of its inside combustion automobiles. You’ll be able to stroll right into a Volvo dealership, plunk down about $69,000, and get a canyon-shredding V60 Polestar Engineered wagon with turbocharging, supercharging, and two electrical motors. Dubbed “Polestar Engineered,” these restricted run fashions begin with Volvo’s T8 plug-in hybrid fashions, after which obtain powertrain, chassis, suspension, brake, and styling modifications to make the bottom Volvos even higher to drive and have a look at.

Complicated, sure, however lengthy story lengthy, we customers win. We’ve pushed the Polestar 1 hybrid-electric coupe, and it’s magnificent (it narrowly positioned second in a recent hybrid supercars test). The Polestar 2 absolutely electrical compact luxurious sedan shall be right here quickly. And the V60 Polestar Engineered is unquestionably worthy of the title.

Some say wagons are dumb—the stuff of 1970s wood-paneled nightmares. They’re mistaken; recategorize the V60 as an extended hatchback, or a slammed XC60 SUV, or a quick and sensible cheese grater. Simply have a look at it in profile—that quick A-pillar angle, the jaunty kink of the tailgate. That’s no wagon, that’s govt transport with bonus cargo house.

How A lot Does the 2020 V60 Polestar Engineered Value?

You may get right into a bare-bones V60 for $40,645, which is inside putting distance of the typical transaction value for all automobiles bought in America. Nonetheless, we’re right here to speak in regards to the status mannequin, the V60 Polestar Engineered (as-tested value of $68,940 earlier than federal and state plug-in hybrid incentives).

It’s not like Volvo began constructing quick automobiles when Polestar rolled into city. Brickheads maintain fond reminiscences of the 850 T5-R and 850R Wagons of the ’90s, in addition to the 740 Turbo from the ’80s. (Bear in mind the way it snarkily in contrast itself to a Lamborghini Countach?)

How Quick Is the V60 Polestar Engineered?

That mentioned, these early go-fast bricks had been principally thrust by peaky turbos. The Polestar-engineered V60 is utilizing electrical energy on high of Volvo’s present supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder to make a wagon that squirts between corners. The thrilling whoosh of turbo and supercharging, mixed with the moment torque of battery increase offers a slingshot impact if you tread on the accelerator. While you place 415 hp and 494 lb-ft in a compact wagon, you are likely to get speedy outcomes—and lots of associates exclaiming, “This is a Volvo wagon?”

However not all is ideal. Though Polestar partnered with the suspension meisters at Öhlins, purportedly with the results of “extra exact and responsive management,” the V60 Polestar displays inconsistent steering really feel. It feels numb when on middle, however when you get previous 10 levels of enter, steering response will get a bit overreactive.

And though the 2020 mannequin is provided with up to date six-piston brake calipers, the brake really feel to brake response ratio just isn’t communicative nor linear. And be sure you brake earlier than you get to the nook, because the V60 Polestar likes to wiggle its tushy on throttle raise in something however a superbly straight line.

In different phrases, though it’s simple to be fast and quick on this automobile, it’s arduous to be clean. The automobile feels twitchy. Certain, some people get pleasure from this kind of skittery habits, nevertheless it wears in your psyche on the best way up Angeles Crest Freeway. In fact, I used to be driving this automobile tougher than 95 % of Volvo drivers ever would, however nonetheless. You place a efficiency badge on a automobile, it ought to stay as much as the hype.

As for on a regular basis driving, the V60 Polestar simply waltzes alongside open highways at 85 to 90 mph, though the suspension will get a bit uneven over the harmonic undulations of Los Angeles’ infamous Harbor Freeway. Some fans are OK with this sensation; they’d say this makes the trip “sporty” or “responsive.”

However to me, I suppose the trip feeling is dependent upon what you count on of a Volvo, as a driver. Relying in your mindset, that might make the V60 Polestar Engineered’s trip both dynamically agency or irritatingly harsh.

Is the V60 Good on Gasoline?

This distinction truly makes a distinction, as not everybody who drives a V60 Polestar does so for fanatic causes. Some select it for its inexperienced advantages. The Polestar’s plug-in hybrid powertrain delivers EPA estimated mileage of 69 mpg-e using the battery, or 30 mpg with an empty battery in the combined cycle. That compares to 27 mpg for the V60 front-drive and 25 mpg for the AWD model of the V60 T5. In battery-only mode, the V60 Polestar delivers 22 miles of electrical vary earlier than the fuel engine fires up. You’ll be able to recharge the battery pack whereas driving from both the regenerative brakes or from the engine’s energy. Plugging in at residence, off a typical 110-volt storage plug, regains you about 2 miles of vary per hour, that means you’ll be able to feasibly recharge it in a single day with out investing in a Degree 2 residence charger.

When ensconced contained in the V60 Polestar, the inside is recognizable Volvo of the previous a number of years—with its signature iPad-sized middle display screen (and nonetheless too-small graphics and textual content). The middle console homes the knurled ignition knob, in addition to a lined cubby that’s good for little greater than storing your cellphone. However the element work, such because the contrasting gold seat belts in a black and charcoal inside, is the place Volvo shines. The inside fitments, inlays, and leather-based accents ship a really premium expertise.

No matter your sporting or environmental choice, the best-in-the-biz Volvo seats take in a bunch of highway jitters and vibration that may usually transmit into your decrease again.

Clearly, when you’ve got a wagon, you don’t have a trunk to separate you from the outside noise coming from the rear wheels and suspension; lots of booming from highway and wind noise comes into the V60 from behind the occupants. Thankfully, the non-compulsory 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins stereo offers a crisp but thunderous sonic reward.

Is the V60 Polestar Value It?

In addition to dynamic enhancements and hybrid gas economic system, what else do you get with the V60 Polestar Engineered that you simply wouldn’t get within the V60’s Inscription trim degree? To start out, 19-inch wheels, full LED lively bending headlights, Nappa leather-based heated and contoured entrance seats, and steering wheel gearshift paddles. The one walkback is that the V60 Inscription trim will get four-zone local weather management, whereas the Polestar solely surveys two. And like the remainder of the Volvo lineup, the primary three years or 36,000 miles of upkeep is free.

The V60 Polestar Engineered is a limited-run automobile, which is an efficient factor as a result of a Polestar-tuned automobile will not be for everybody. Dynamically quirky, economically questionable, environmentally immaterial … it takes a particular purchaser to like one. Signal me up.

2020 Volvo V60 T8 E-AWD Polestar
BASE PRICE $68,295
LAYOUT Entrance-engine + entrance/rear elec motors, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon
ENGINE 2.0L/328-hp/317-lb-ft turbo + s’charged DOHC 16-valve I-Four plus 46-hp/110-lb-ft entrance, 87-hp/177-lb-ft rear elec motor; 415 hp/494 lb-ft comb
TRANSMISSION 8-speed computerized
CURB WEIGHT 4,450 lb (MT est)
WHEELBASE 113.1 in
L x W x H 187.Four x 72.Eight x 56.Four in
0-60 MPH 4.5 sec (MT est)
EPA FUEL ECON (HYBRID) 70/68/69 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 48/40 kW-hrs/100 miles (hybrid)
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.28 lb/mile (hybrid)
ON SALE Presently


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