Here to clear the air

Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge

Volvo’s luxury PHEV SUV has had a mild facelift – but is it still up there with the best of the best?

  • Battery size: 11.6 kWh
  • Miles per £: 16.6
  • Battery warranty: 8 years / 100,000 miles
  • Emissions: 63-76g/km
  • Range: 27-34 miles (electric only)

Nicki Says

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8/10

“You'd hardly think a Volvo could be exotic, but the XC90 has an electric motor plus a petrol engine with both a super and a turbo charger! That means the big Swede is fast and efficient. I love the way it looks too - the essence of Scandi-Cool. ”

Tom Says

8/10

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“I used to have an XC90 PHEV. It was a cracking do-it-all car, but the range on EV-only was only about 11 miles... More recent Volvo tech means that’s better now - but wait for the proper BeV if you want to be properly green. ”

Volvo was one of the first manufacturers to take the concept of a plug-in hybrid and translate it to a luxury SUV, having witnessed the success that Mitsubishi had enjoyed with the less salubrious Outlander SUV.

It was an instant hit, but times move quickly in the new car market and with Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Jaguar all now offering rivals, Volvo has had to react to the market with a new, revised XC90 in a bid to stay at the top of the game – but is it enough, given how quickly its rivals have evolved?

Despite the refresh, you’d be hard-pressed to notice the latest XC90 as anything different over the older version. And this isn’t a bad thing; Volvo’s big seven-seater is a handsome machine, with angles and cuts in all the right places.

It may not be as out-there as other SUVs in the segment, but the subtle nature of the XC90’s styling will likely appeal to those who would rather their four-wheel-drive didn’t shout for them. 

Volvo has expanded the number of possible seating configurations inside, too. It means that now, should you want to, you can opt for a six-seater layout rather than the traditional seven, while a new range of cabin materials are there to choose from. It’s a minor update, but it helps to sharpen up the appeal of the biggest Volvo.

The T8 combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine which is both supercharged and turbocharged with an electric motor and batteries. Together, you get 390bhp which is enough to send the big Volvo from 0-60mph in under five and a half seconds while flat-out it’ll do 140mph.

However, efficiency is the name of the game here which is good, because it’s something the T8 does rather well at. Combined, it’ll return 113mpg, while emitting 55g/km CO2. In addition, it’s capable of travelling up to 27 miles on electric power alone, making it an ideal choice for those with shorter commutes who want to reduce their fuel costs.

The T8 is a superb all-rounder; around town it’s quiet and refined as a result of the electrified powertrain, while on the motorway it settles down gladly to a hushed cruise. In short, it’s got all of the bases covered.

Of course, longer journeys do sap the batteries of their energy and once it’s gone, you’re left with quite a large car powered by quite a small engine, which means that those once-golden economy figures promised by the brochure will start to tumble. Keep it charged though, and it’s not hard to maintain decent MPG figures.

The steering is relatively lifeless, but the ride quality is excellent. This isn’t a car for keen drivers, after all, but it steers in a positive enough fashion for most users – and it’s oozing with class.

If you’re looking for an electrified all-rounder, then the Volvo XC90 T8 should be firmly on your list. It’s practical, good-looking and solidly built while Volvo’s legendary attitude to safety means that it’s a perfect fit for families.

It might sit at the more expensive end of the SUV spectrum, but for those who want a genuinely multi-faceted plug-in hybrid, then the XC90 T8 will make a lot of sense.

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