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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2013 New York Auto Show in NYC.
Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

What is it? The curvy V60 wagon is coming to the United States, and it is the recipient of the first diesel plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

The Swedish automaker is claiming that this combination can achieve the equivalent of 155 mpg. The driver can select the preferred drivetrain mode through three buttons: Pure, Hybrid, or Power. Selecting “Pure” gives the driver up to 31 miles on pure electric power, according to Volvo. In “Hybrid” mode, Volvo claims that the V60 will deliver up to 130 mpg. “Power” mode combines the output from the 2.4-liter four cylinder turbodiesel engine and electric motor, which Volvo says will make this car powerful enough for towing, it seems, as the rear sports a trailer hitch. Drivers can activate all-wheel drive with the press of a button, with the front wheels driven by the diesel engine and the rear wheels spun electrically. Volvo says that its on-demand AWD is more economical than full-time AWD.

What’s new or notable? Volvo introduced the V60 R-Design, the high-end sporty version to whet consumer appetites. Volvo didn’t offer V60 in the United States when the vehicle was redesigned for 2011, so this platform isn’t exactly new. But the vehicle may still look familiar to American consumers as it shares a platform and front-end styling with the S60 sedan. The diesel plug-in hybrid comes in just one color, Electric Silver.

CR’s take: The combination of hybrid plug-in propulsion with an already efficient turbodiesel engine makes for some spectacular fuel-economy and emissions claims. But the cost of integrating these technologies is staggering; Volvo says that pricing will start at about $75,000.  

When will it be available? The first 1,000 V60 plug-in hybrid diesels have already been pre-sold, but the V60 line won’t appear in U.S. showrooms until early next year.

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