At the 2012 Detroit auto show, Volvo plans to reveal a concept version of the XC60 plug-in hybrid. The hybrid crossover was designed specifically for the American and Chinese markets, and goes on sale a few years from now.

The basic drivetrain is similar in scope to the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid, which goes on sale in Europe this year. The V60 is a station wagon that uses a diesel engine and is not going to be sold stateside; the XC60 plug-in hybrid deploys a gasoline engine.

Specifically, the XC60 concept is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine rated for 280 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, which drives the front wheels by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission. An engine stop-start system is standard. An electric motor rated for 70 hp and 148 lb-ft can power the rear wheels, and there also is an electric motor/generator to supplement the gasoline engine, rated for 45 hp and 111 lb-ft. Volvo says combined power output of the three units is 350 hp. Electricity is stored in a 12 kWh battery that is located beneath the cargo area.

The plug-in hybrid system can operate in three driver-selectable modes: in Pure, the crossover runs on electric power only for up to 35 miles; in Hybrid mode, it operates like a traditional hybrid vehicle; and in Power, the gas engine and electric motor combine for maximum performance. Volvo predicts a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.8 seconds in this mode, a top speed of 130 mph, and a towing capacity of 3300 pounds.

Volvo says the XC60 plug-in will achieve about 50 mpg when operating in Hybrid mode, and should have an overall driving range of 600 miles -- taking into account the 35 miles of all-electric operation. Fully charging the battery is said to take 3.5 hours with a 220-volt charging source or 7.5 hours with a 110-volt outlet.

The three driving modes are meant to allow drivers to optimize fuel economy in different types of trips. A driver could select Hybrid mode for a highway commute, for instance, and only switch to the all-electric Pure mode while he or she searches for parking in a busy city. The car also continues Volvo's effort to produce all its vehicles with a suite of new four-cylinder engines called the Volvo Environmental Architecture.

Best guess for an on sale date for the production model is sometime in 2014.