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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2020 Volvo V60 Polestar

      Can a Volvo Wagon Be Wicked and Green?!

    Back in the spring, I spent some time with two different Volvo 60 series models - the S60 Momentum and V60 Cross Country. I came away impressed with the work Volvo had done, picking Cross Country as my favorite. A couple months back, another 60 series model rolled up for a week long evaluation. This one is very different.

    • Unlike most performance wagons that grab a bullhorn and shout for attention, the V60 Polestar goes for a more sedate approach. From afar, it looks like your standard V60. Get closer and you begin to see the small changes such as the lowered ride height, 20-inch grey wheels that cover up the massive gold brake calipers, and the two Polestar badges.
    • Only changes for the interior are the Polestar logo embossed on the front headrests and gold seatbelts.
    • Under the hood is Volvo's T8 powertrain. This is the 2.0L twin-charged four-cylinder paired with an electric motor on the rear axle to produce a total output of 415 horsepower and 494 pound-feet of torque. This setup also provides all-wheel drive.
    • It is quite shocking (pardon the pun) as to how fast the V60 Polestar goes. Step on the accelerator and it feels like you have engaged warp drive as the two powertrains work together. 
    • But there were times where the gas engine and electric motor didn't seem to be on the same page. There would be the odd delay or surging of the gas engine when driving around town in the hybrid mode. Hopefully, this is something that could be addressed with an update to the engine software.
    • The other party trick of the V60 Polestar is the ability to run on electric power alone. This comes from an 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack underneath the cargo floor. Volvo claims a range of 22 miles on electric power alone, but I was able to stretch it out to around 23 to 25 miles throughout the week.
    • Recharging took around eight to eleven hours if the battery was near or fully depleted. 
    • For the week, I saw an MPGe average of 52.1. With the battery drained, I saw the average fall to around 29.1 MPG. 
    • Volvo turned to suspension supplier Öhlins to develop something bespoke for the V60 Polestar. What was delivered is a special set of dampers that are manually adjusted by gold-colored aluminum knobs. You'll easily find the ones in the front by opening the hood - sitting on top of the shock towers. The ones in the back are slightly harder to find as they're located above the wheels in the wheel housing. This is something that feels like more of a talking point when showing off the wagon, not something you want to mess with unless you are knowledgeable on damper tuning.
    • The V60 Polestar may be the best handling Volvo I have driven in quite some time. The Öhlins dampers do make a difference as they minimize body roll. But the dampers cannot fully hide the massive weight of the Polestar - tipping the scales at 4,522 pounds. This makes the wagon not feel as nimble.
    • In terms of ride quality, the V60 Polestar does well on smooth roads. Take it on a road with a litany of bumps and potholes and the ride becomes very choppy. This is where I wished Volvo had gone for a computer-controlled damper system to make the ride slightly smoother.
    • A price tag of over $68,000 is a bit much for a Volvo, but you need to take into consideration that you're getting everything as standard. That includes the premium B&O audio system, full LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, Pilot Assist, and more. The only option on our tester is the metallic paint.
    • Despite the price tag and rough ride, I'm happy to see Volvo venturing out and doing some wild as the V60 Polestar. This vehicle is a prime example of having your cake and eating it by delivering excellent performance and efficiency in one package. The fact that this package is in a wagon shows this for someone who doesn't want to follow the Joneses and get a performance crossover.
    • Would this be the 60 Series model I would buy? No, that honor falls to the V60 Cross Country I drove in the early spring. But the Polestar runs a close second.

    Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the V60 Polestar, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2020
    Make: Volvo
    Model: V60
    Trim: T8 Polestar Engineered 
    Engine: 2.0L Twincharged DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder, Two AC Electric Motors
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 328 (gas), 46 (electric motor front), 87 (electric motor rear), 415 (combined)
    Torque @ RPM: 317 (gas), 111 (electric motor front), 177 (electric motor rear), 494 (combined)
    Fuel Economy: Combined MPGe/Gas - 69/30
    Curb Weight: 4,522 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Gothenburg, Sweden
    Base Price: $67,300
    As Tested Price: $68,940 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Metallic Paint - $645.00

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    I hope this time around Volvo will dedicate more effort to fix the 2020 V60 Polestar's problem of the electric engine not able to harmoniously work together with the petrol engine every time, which creates a delay hesitation.  This issue is reminisce of the never solved problem of delay hesitation from the 2016 Polestar, I once drove, with an engine that in theory suppose to rid of turbo lag by having the supercharger work during low rpm until the  turbocharger spooled up enough to take over at higher rpm.  This harmony did not work most of the time, and after many years, Volvo still never able to fix it.  If one day Volvo can get their act together, I will be buying another Volvo.

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      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
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