Volvo V60 D5 Twin Engine PHEV: A More Practical Step Back (GENEVA)

Written By: EightySix

Volvo V60 D5 PHEV  - 35 Miles OF Electric Range

Volvo didn't make a bang this week at the Geneva Auto Show with the V60 D5 Twin Engine, but it did make sense. The V60 D5 is an all-wheel drive diesel plug-in hybrid wagon that seats five. It's big brother, the D6, is the best selling luxury PHEV in Europe.

The D5 is a scaled-down version. Rather than the D6's 283 combined horsepower, the D5 delivers 230. While the D6 uses a 2.4 liter five cylinder engine, the D5 has a 2.0 liter four. Volvo is phasing out larger engines. It’s even using a 2.0 for its 400 horsepower, seven seat XC90 T8 PHEV.

How's the Drive?

The D5 delivers solid, yet unimpressive performance numbers. Seriously, though, can't we be impressed by a car that does its job every day without being expensive or stinking up the planet?

9 seconds from zero to sixty. 35 miles of electric range. Both diesel and electric deliver great low-end torque. The D5 will surely drive strong and climb hills confidently.

Volvo's Twin Engine concept involves a gas motor powering the front and an electric motor powering the rear. They can work separately or together. The Save mode burns gas only and ensures that the 11.2 kWh lithium-ion pack is full for later.

When's later?

When you get to a Low Emissions Zone. Over 200 European cities in ten countries have or are planning these zones. Tokyo has been a LEZ since 2003. To drive in one, a vehicle must have a sticker certifying low emissions status. Cars that pollute too much simply can't drive there. So when driving to London or Berlin, be sure the battery of your PHEV is full when you get there.

The US Department of Transportation is discussing Low Emissions Zones, but has not yet turned the idea into action. Announcing a near future where city driving would require clean vehicles would spur innovation and production.

When Can I Get One?

500 Special Edition D5s with Crystal White paint, 19" wheels and gloss black exterior details will be built and released soon. They will include blonde sport upholstery with white stitching. More regular edition D5s will be sold later this spring.

Volvo does not have plans to bring its diesel Twin Engine vehicles to the United States. The gas-powered XC90 T8 will be available in the middle of 2015. It's big, fast and expensive. And it's certainly aimed to the upper-middle class.

A D5 with the same, yet tamer, 2.0 gas engine could be a big seller in the US. A five seat all-wheel drive wagon would compete nicely with the popular Subaru Legacy Outback. It would be a smart replacement for the small family SUV. Similar size and performance with superior miles per gallon. The 35 mile range puts it close to the first generation Chevy Volt while being much more capable in bad-weather conditions.

Coming Back to Earth

A common reaction to high-end green vehicles and astounding concept cars is: "That's great, but where's one I can afford?"

Volvo is taking a step back towards the rational and practical. Scale back the amazing and build something for the regular driver.