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First Drive

Volvo XC60 Black Edition review: cynical special edition or must have collectible?

£69,385 when new
Published: 12 Apr 2024


  • Battery


  • BHP


  • 0-62


  • Max Speed


What is it?

This is the Black Edition Volvo XC60, the sort of special edition cash cow you might have thought Volvo would be too good for, but then the car is six going on seven (about 112 in car industry years) and there are recessions on in some parts of the world.

It’s a bells and whistles version of the XC60, building on the fanciest trims and adding money can’t buy delights like the blacked out exterior trim.

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How much does it cost?

The Black Edition range starts at £54,035, but we tested the range-topping T8 plug-in hybrid version that sells at a punchy £69,385. There are discounts to be had if you order your car before the end of November 2024 – up to £1,700 isn’t to be sniffed at. 

Our car also had the Polestar Performance box ticked on the options list, which is a £695 software tweak that performs some electronic trickery on the powertrain and makes it more Polestar-y. It doesn’t affect the overall performance numbers, but adds a bit of theatre with a lower ride height, optimised gear changes and a performance priority from the hybrid powertrain.

Without that you’re left with the choice between Comfort and Off-road drive modes. 

Looks a bit much, doesn’t it?

To be honest, we weren’t really sure about the car when it first arrived, but after a few days the stealthy kit really started to grow on us. The Onyx Black paintjob and dark badging are kind of cool, though the car tiptoes along the line of looking like whatever the middle management equivalent is in a drug gang. 

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It’s a sign of the times that the 21in alloys don’t even look that big, but then they do say that black is slimming. 

What’s changed on the interior? 

The Black Edition trim builds on two of the higher spec XC60 trims – Plus and Ultimate. So you get all the goodies that those cars offer, plus a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting setup, air purification system and 360-degree parking cameras on Plus.

Ultimate brings electronic air suspension with adaptive dampers, fancier headlights, electrically adjustable passenger seat and an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins sound system.

In keeping with the outside, the interior is decked out in charcoal trim, with partial leather or full leather seats depending on spec. It’s not all grim Addams Family vibes in there, though, because you do get a nice slug of aluminium around the place to perk things up. The Ultimate trim we drove comes with a panoramic sunroof, which also helps.

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The XC60’s interior was already pretty nice though – it’s comfortable up front, features plenty of room in the back and you’ve got decent storage options about the cabin. The Black Edition adds an air of ‘Go Hygge or go home’ to proceedings. 

Does the drive match the outside?

The XC60 T8 makes a decent fist of haring about the place, but the car does feel outside of its comfort zone when you do that. The air suspension does a lovely job of soaking up bumps and providing a comfortable ride while keeping body roll mostly in check, so embrace the corporate roadman vibes and soak in the atmosphere, we say. 

We did like the perky performance for the traffic light Grand Prix, though. The 4.9secs 0–62mph performance that comes thanks to the 2.0-litre petrol engine and e-motor pumping out 449bhp does suit the more aggressive exterior.

The other versions of the car aren’t particularly sluggish as such – the entry petrol gets there in 6.9 seconds – but if you’re going to do something you may as well do it properly, right? Do remember that the XC60 won’t necessarily make for a great getaway car, what with Volvo limiting all of its cars' top speeds to 112mph.

The T8 PHEV’s powertrain is officially rated for 47 miles of range and we managed to get 41 miles from a battery that indicated 43 miles on a full charge, which isn’t too bad. Plug-in hybrids like this only make sense when you’ve got access to cheaper charging, like a home box or on-street charging that offers lower overnight rates. 

The official fuel economy rating is 217mpg, which is a ridiculous number – the strange tension with a car like this is you could get unlimited fuel economy if you charge it up all the time (but then just get an EV), but then the battery runs out and you’re slurping it up at 35mpg. Which, to be fair, is still better than the entry petrol in this small Black Edition range that offers 345bhp T6 and 449bhp T8 PHEVs and the 247bhp 2.0-litre B5 petrol.  

Should I get one?

The worry was that Volvo would try and turn the XC60 into an aggressive sports car with this Black Edition of the mid-sized SUV. The air suspension offers enough of a switch of character that it will keep the hustlers happy, but thankfully it retains its velvety smooth character. 

The vaguely blingy details of the Black Edition are a matter of taste, but the car grew on us the more time we spent with it. Obviously the novelty will be lost if loads of other people buy them, but we could certainly find ourselves tempted if we had the money and the inclination. 

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