The Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid combines too many things I like to be ignored (Volvo, diesel, wagon, AWD). This is Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream served by Allison Brie on the hood of... a Volvo wagon.
Instinct says a hybrid not built by Porsche is destined to be a bore, but this V60's mix of features is uncomfortably enticing. Up front is a 214-hp five-cylinder turbodiesel with 320 lb-ft of torque. Not shabby. Out back is an Electric Rear Axle Drive (or EBONER) system that puts out an additional 70 hp. Driven separately or in combo you've got whatever driving experience you want.
When the oil-producing states of the Arab world go full-on freakout and gas prices shoot through the roof, you've got a car that'll drive about 32 miles on nothing but plug-in electricity. Just press the "pure" button. When you want a bit more range and performance the diesel-engine will kick in for a balance between the two power sources. Just press the "hybrid" button.
For the rest of us, there's the "power" button, which combines the two full-on with 285 hp and a monster 467 lb-ft of torque. Enough to carry all that extra weight to 62 mph in a reasonably quick 6.9 seconds. There's no word on how it'll drive, but it's an engine and a motor with unequal amounts of power and drastically different torque curves on two different axles. So I'm guessing awesome.
It'll go on sale in Sweden next year, with the prospect of being sold in the U.S. almost certainly threatened by its being hit with the triple curse of being a wagon, a diesel, and kind of awesome.