Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Volvo V60 "Twin Engine": The first rechargeable diesel hybrid

rechargeable diesel hybrid

This is Swedish revolutionary. Rechargeable, the V60 can travel tens of kilometers "zero emission" mode. A true high-tech concentrated. PSA Peugeot-Citro├źn created the diesel hybrid. Volvo made even stronger with the rechargeable diesel hybrid. The Swedish engineers have taken a break from upper middle range V60 with five-cylinder diesel engine the most powerful house (220 hp) driving the front wheels. They have added to it an electric motor generating the equivalent of 68 horses and acting on the rear wheels. And that is a hybrid 4x4 AWD! But that's not all.

The Scandinavian firm located under the rear floor rechargeable lithium-ion batteries on a standard household outlet! The operation requires 4:30 ET permits, according to Volvo, to 50 km of autonomy in "zero emissions". Result: after approval, the car consumes an average of 1.8 liters of diesel per hundred in hybrid mode and generates 48 grams of C02 per kilometer only, half a lower power diesel hybrid Peugeot. The V60 is a priori the ideal car. But the Swedish nice (produced in Belgium) currently fulfills its promise?

rechargeable diesel hybrid

Super smooth Car
It starts in total silence. A little pace and the car is forced rest so in electric mode, much more than a simple hybrid. Then rolls smoothly. Silence is indeed as we hear the rolling and noise suspensions, usually covered by the engine sound. But we will not complain. You suddenly need to accelerate frankly? No problem. The diesel starts up, without anyone noticing except by a push frank. And, when you release the pressure on the accelerator, hop, Volvo returns to electric mode. In traffic, where the more we pollute, we drive electric quietly. In the city, if one does not force too much, we managed to ride at 70% without using the diesel engine. So, we have consumed, in a crowded urban route, 2 liters of diesel per hundred only.

If you accelerate with caution, by simply following the flow of other vehicles, one can very well hold the 50-60 hour consuming only electricity. And, while experiencing a real driving pleasure. We must of course depend on the relative slowness of the Geartronic automatic gearbox in the gearshift. But nothing alarming. The PHEV relegates simple hybrid system at the stage of prehistory. If the hybrid mode perfectly handles the situation, never a hesitation or a bump, you can also block the electric mode.

rechargeable diesel hybrid

Limited electric range
Unfortunately, our enthusiasm comes up against a serious limitation: in town, in traffic jams, power autonomy is quickly reduced. It is ultimately closer to 20 km as 50 announced. It's disappointing, so we want to continue to drive in electric. That said, if you can charge in your garage, you will leave the next morning with batteries plumped block. Once drained battery, moreover, do not panic! The car then drove like a simple hybrid, with a strong presence of the combustion engine and some electrical.

Electrical energy is in these conditions generated by the car itself, but obviously in small proportions. As a Toyota Prius. But, during a motorway journey, pressing the button "Save", the batteries can be recharged a bit more. After 60 km of motorway route, we have recovered well 15 km of electrical autonomy. This is a real technological breakthrough, with a vehicle that remains perfectly versatile.

Very pleasant road
You take the road? The V60 "Twin Engine 'ensures you a very satisfactory performance, to live up to what you expect of such a high-end car. On hilly and winding road, just put the car in "Power", which seeks the very pleasant unrestrained diesel, whose sound is very pleasant. You are now at the wheel of a powerful grand tourer. Benefit: You get a high reactivity of the transmission, which automatically downshifts to the input of a bend on a brake. Ecology is not a punishment here. You end up forgetting that also is aboard a rechargeable hybrid. The car headed down the road like a V60 diesel D5, with a wonderful tone to all floors. Being overweight does not happen too felt. Yet it achieved a whopping 300 kilos ...! As for consumption, "Power" mode and without restraint, it will not exceed 8 liters on average. Great!

Good road manners
The road handling is proving very reassuring and docile, with a slightly heavy steering but to the proper register the car during cornering and make it stand perfectly on course at high speeds. Here again, it does not suffer kilos more. The driving characteristics are almost identical to those of the thermal V60. The motor of the front axle is even much better. Logic: you start most often here in Electrical and thus "propulsion" (rear wheel drive)! The front is only relieved.

Note a "4x4" button, that allows for four-wheel drive, to improve traction on snow or on a road (very little) muddy. We were expecting a loss of comfort, because of running gear adapted to overweight. Well, no! Small grooves on a roadway in poor condition are certainly sharply felt, that the tires low sided hardly arrange. But as the car is sitting on the asphalt, we are not shaken in all directions. So, the comfort is still very decent.

Extremely class Car
Outside, only the door to the electrical outlet on the left side can identify this version, and very discreet monograms. If we find the usual pace of the V60 station wagon, stylish and well designed. Inside, there is also on familiar. The brand of Gothenburg has kept its typical board edge, with its uncluttered center console, ultra-thin, but not so convenient because the storage space arranged behind is weak and inaccessible. The presentation is classy, ​​opulent, with solid and rigorous plastic assemblies. The leather seats (optional) remains soft and pleasant to the touch. The driving position is good, aided by the settings of all kinds and of high amplitude.

We love these homely interior with soft commands, which are the prerogative of "great" Volvo (S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70, S80, XC90). But beware, livability here is measured at the rear, as accessibility. And the trunk, partially occupied by the batteries, is seen seriously amputated. Although with its geometric forms, it remains practical. And you can fold the rear seats to enlarge. Only some specific keys related to the operation of the hybrid distinguish the interior of this "plug-in" another V60.

Effective but annoying air conditioner
The settings are less complex than in a BMW, but more on a Volvo there few years. Fortunately, you can adjust the audio system and air conditioning without the use of menus and sub-menus too complicated. But there are some usability flaws though. We can not therefore select a radio station if we display the GPS not smart! However, to overcome a counter, graduations are not sufficiently visible, the speed can now also be displayed in large digits before the eyes. A real progress. Congratulations also for heating, designed for cold of the far north. The interior heats up quickly in the morning, even in freezing weather. Belle efficiency as heated seats. But note that the suppression of the audio system could be better.

Volvo our test was equipped with the latest safety equipment (automatic anti-collision braking, low speed detection of obstacles, vehicle detection rear three-quarter). But all this is intrusive. Note in passing some gadgets like panels reader, as unreliable as Mercedes, BMW, Ford, tried recently.

rechargeable diesel hybrid

Very, very expensive car
The "Twin Engine" is a revelation. Sophisticated, successful, well managed by electronics, adaptive, flattering, ecological and very fun to drive at a time. An excellent proposal. We loved it. No runaway, however, saw prices. After deducted super-bonus is still 10,000 euros more, according to Volvo, comparable equipment, compared with a V60 D5 AWD auto box. However, the manufacturer ensures that fuel costs represent only a third of those of a traditional thermal engine. The price is 57,590 euros ("Momentum") and 61,550 for the luxury performance "Summum". Seduced, despite the price? He has something.

Test model  : Volvo V60 D6 AWD "Twin Engine" Momentum: 57,590 euros (4,000 euros bonus)
Engine power  : 220 hp (diesel) 68 + (electric)
Dimensions  : 4.63 meters (length) x 1.86 (width) x 1.48 (top)

Qualities  : efficient plug-in hybrid system, soft, economical and efficient city in silence, outstanding general accreditation jokes automatic transmission, handling and satisfactory comfort, opulent presentation.

Defects  : very high rate, insufficient electric range, intrusive security systems, and limited rear passenger safe, annoying ergonomic details

Competing  (non-rechargeable hybrids): Peugeot 508 RXh: 47,550 euros; Mercedes C 300h wagon: 49.600 euros. By Alain-Gabriel Verdevoye

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