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2020 Volvo S60 T8 plug-in hybrid: Made in the USA, this Swedish-American embraces diversity

2020 Volvo S60 T8 plug-in hybrid: Made in the USA, this Swedish-American embraces diversity

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Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine's online Web Bonus.

2020 Volvo S60 T8 plug-in hybrid

Its box-it-came-in corporate look now a distant memory, every Volvo, including this S60 sedan, boasts sleek lines and a stylish demeanor. Photo provided by Volvo

It's the first Volvo -- indeed, the first Swedish-brand vehicle ever -- to be made in the United States. And, much like its newly embraced American birthplace, the 2020 Volvo S60 is diverse.

Manufactured in suburban Charleston, South Carolina, the Volvo S60 compact luxury sedan can be had as the T5, powered by a turbocharged, 250-hp I-4; the T6, which takes T5's 2.0-liter blown four and adds a supercharger to achieve 316 hp; the T8 plug-in hybrid, which uses T6's double-force-fed four-banger and adds electric-motor assist to produce a muscular 400 hp; and the limited-edition T8 Polestar Engineered S60, whose T8 hybrid drivetrain is massaged to generate 415 hp.

That's what I call embracing diversity!

We drove the T8 plug-in, which, like every S60, is managed by an eight-speed automatic and rides Volvo's global "Scalable Product Architecture." Offered in R-Design and Inscriptions trims, of which we sampled the latter, the 2020 S60 T8 boasts standard all-wheel drive and, at the driver's discretion, both hybrid and pure-electric motivation.

We sampled both operating systems.

Driving the T8 in standard gas/electric hybrid mode, we drove it on a 180-mile round-trip to Steelville, Mo., realizing 31 mpg in the process.

2020 Volvo S60 T8 plug-in hybrid 2

Photo provided by Volvo

Subsequently, we plugged in our T8 for a 14-hour overnight electric juicing, which resulted in a full charge that produced for us 23 miles of pure-electric, in-town motoring before the drive battery was depleted and the car automatically reverted to hybrid drive mode.

Speaking of drive modes, S60 T8 offers four: Constant AWD (best grip), Pure (most fuel-efficient), Hybrid (every day use) and Power (sporty driving). Regardless, the car is smooth and quiet in all driving situations, although a bit of whine from the supercharger is occasionally audible.

No problem. The addition of the supercharger to this little four-banger's turbo, not to mention T8's electric assist, lets this guy greet 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. With that kind of enthusiasm, you won't hear us whine! Room up front is excellent.

Room in back is good, but a big step-over was required for me to land my size 12's in the rear-seat footwell.

Inside and out, our Inscription was plushly equipped. We had the optional -- and boffo -- Bowers and Wilkins Premium audio and the Luxury Seating Pkg. option with its Nappa leather and vented front seats with power bolsters and massage (oooh, T8, I hardly know you!).

2020 Volvo S60 T8 plug-in hybrid 3

Photo provided by Volvo

Those perks were joined in our car by such Inscription standards as LED headlights and fog lights, panoramic sunroof, wood interior trim, dual-zone auto climate control, 12.3-inch instrument panel display, heated front seats, rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

And, this being a Volvo, safety nannies galore came along for the ride, too, including forward collision warning, full-speed auto emergency braking, run-off road mitigation, lane keeping assist and a road sign reader, to name just a few.

Another feature was Volvo's Sensus infotainment system, complete with its 9-inch vertical touchscreen. Alas, this thing is more complicated than radar. To access screens and various menus you scroll, swipe, drag -- heck, even the multi-function power-seat controls, manipulated via a controller on the seat cushion's side, pops up in a graphic on the screen as it's adjusted. Plan some serious time with either your sales person or owner's manual -- or both.

But that little gripe aside, the 2020 Volvo S60 T8 plug-in hybrid is a luxurious, lovely, lively and thrifty ride -- essentially a smaller version of Volvo's big, plush S90.


This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had no role in its creation or display. For more information about Brand Ave. Studios, contact tgriffin@stltoday.com.

Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine's online Web Bonus.

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