Two UK fire services have enlisted the help of the new mild-hybrid Volvo XC60 SUV to support their emergency response teams.

Between them, Shropshire and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Services have taken delivery of 13 new XC60s with the B4 mild-hybrid powertrain. The cars join a fleet of 53 XC60s, which are used to assist the service with rescues and other duties.

According to Volvo, the cars were chosen for their standard specification, five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating and their low whole-life costs, which were crucial for the services as they move away from leasing vehicles. Instead, the two services joined forces to purchase the vehicles for their fleet, which covers the whole of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

2017 Volvo XC60 First Drive

The vehicles have been given a “covert” blue-light system and communications equipment vital to the role by Volvo’s preferred vehicle installation and conversion partner, Jack Hodson Limited. The boot lining and floor mats were also changed from plush, premium materials to “more practical alternatives”.

Jeffrey Dickson, the transport manager for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said the vehicles’ off-road capability, efficient mild-hybrid powertrains and big boots made them perfect for the role.

2017 Volvo XC60 First Drive

“As well as offering generous terrain clearance for rural, off-road and flood driving and a minimum 505-litre boot capacity for carrying heavy but vital equipment, the XC60 delivers a very comfortable and fuel-efficient experience,” he said. “Importantly, as a public sector organisation, whole-life costs are critical and the excellent specification of the XC60 was part of its appeal with very few modifications needed to make it fit for purpose.”

Meanwhile, Steve Beattie, the head of business sales at Volvo Car UK, said the B4 all-wheel-drive drivetrain, which combines Volvo’s 195 bhp 2-litre diesel engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and a new automatic gearbox, would cut emissions and fuel consumption for the services.

2017 Volvo XC60 First Drive

“Everyone would agree that vehicle reliability is key, whatever your driving needs,” he said. “But for emergency response teams, getting to the job quickly and safely will make all the difference to those they are attending.

“The addition of the mild-hybrid XC60 to the fleet brings further benefits by reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency, vital for public sector organisations constantly challenged with containing fleet costs. We are extremely proud that the XC60 has been chosen by the two fire services, and confident it will play its part in their incredibly important work.”

Gallery: 2017 Volvo XC60 First Drive