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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
7:46 AM 15th July 2021
cars

Volvo XC90 T8 – A Fully Charged Review!

Volvo is continuing its drive for full electrification of its range, with the aim to improve the quality of air in our cities and also to increase the success of the business.

By 2025, some 50% of Volvo car sales will be fully electric.

In the meantime, every new Volvo launched from now will have an electric motor. Some will take the form of mild hybrids featuring kinetic energy recovery, whilst existing T6 and T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrids will come with improved batteries.

There is also now the option to buy a plug-in variant of every model of car Volvo build.


Volvo has always been a safety-orientated manufacturer and it has now made the commitment to limit the top speed of its cars to 112mph. With the UK’s 70mph motorway speed limit, this will have little bearing on us, but may frustrate a few autobahn speed merchants!

Of more interest is Volvo’s aim that no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its cars.

From experience, the latest generation of their cars certainly come fitted with a raft of safety kit, some of which can be a little nannying. Take a hump-back bridge, for example, at a lick and the car will sense upward travel of the suspension and pull the seat belts tight in readiness for a crash – a little disconcerting.

However, all improvements in helping to curb road deaths and serious injuries must be applauded and the technology improves year by year.

I have just spent a busy week with a new plug-in version of the XC90.

Under the bonnet sits a familiar 1969cc 4-cylinder engine which combines with an electric motor, taking the combined power up to a heady 390hp. For one so large, it can be hustled along at a fair old lick!

With the battery fully charged, around 20 miles of electric only running is possible, ideal for local pottering around. Once depleted, expect to average around 30mpg.

The latest XC90 fairly recently received a few nips and tucks to keep up with the competition and the keen observer may well spot the new front grille and new alloy wheel designs. You can also now get Android Auto connectivity for the first time.

The XC90 is as refined as ever, and high-speed cruising is a relaxed affair. A faint rustle from the wing mirrors is about all that will disturb the peace and quiet in the cabin. I should know as I covered over 500 motorway miles…

Practicality is an XC90 strong point, with three rows of sumptuously comfortable seating. The back row will accommodate smaller adults but getting in is somewhat of a challenge. Children will love it though. Theatre-style seating will ensure that all on board get a good view out.

Inscription trim, as tested, wants for very little but I would definitely add air suspension (£2,250) as it improves the XC90’s ride comfort no end. It is generally good, with only the very deepest potholes disturbing the peace and calm of the cabin. I wouldn’t bother with the optional multi spoke diamond cut 21-inch alloy wheels fitted to the test car. They look great but smaller wheels will improve the ride still futher.

The ‘Tech’ pack will be required too, as with it comes a superb Bowers and Wilkins sound system and smartphone integration. Add £3,000.

So, there we have it – the latest XC90 is still one of the best large family SUVs on sale and this new plug-in hybrid version not only improves the driving experience but also reduces running costs.

Not cheap to buy though…

Fast Facts

Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T8 AWD Inscription
1969cc engine
390hp from engine and motor
400Nm torque
Combined economy 83.1 to 100.9mpg
Emissions 76-63g/km CO2
0-62mph in 5.5 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Price from £68,820 (£80,645 as tested)
Braked trailer max weight 2,400kg