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Embrace the robot chariot

Imagine cruising down a road, wind whipping your hair metaphorically, and you get the feeling the Volvo XC60 PHEV evokes, writes SHERYL GOLDSTUCK.

The Volvo XC60’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicle’s interior is cool and sophisticated. The seats are like plush armchairs, cradling you in comfort on long journeys. 

The air quality is better than a baby panda’s nursery, thanks to an air purifier system that is designed to keep as much as 95% of harmful particles from getting into the cabin. The Bowers & Wilkins sound system could make a troll tap its foot. The sound system optimises detail and resolution, letting you hear a song as the artist originally intended.

Tech lovers will appreciate the large, portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system powered by Google. It is intuitive for the most part, but some might find its quirks frustrating compared to dedicated automotive systems.

Keyless entry makes for a quick get-away, especially if you find yourself in an unsavoury area. All the cameras make safety a priority, which Volvo is renowned for. Parking is made that much easier with the assistance of the cameras and powerful steering.

Under the hood (or rather, under the sleek hood) lies the real magic: a potent combination of electric motor and fuel engine. In electric mode, you glide silently past scowling petrolheads, smugly saving the planet and your wallet (for short trips, at least). But unleash the full power, and this robot chariot transforms into a modern-day Thor, pinning you to your seat with its 455-horsepower fury.

This SUV handles well, carving corners like a robot chariot with surprising agility for its size. It is no sports car, but it is certainly not lumbering through the forest.

With all the standard safety features of a luxury SUV, like lane keep assist, front and rear parking assist, road sign information – yes, it can read – and an intelligent driver Information system, this Volvo might just be your chariot, which you may want to ride forever.

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