The Volvo XC90 SUV is a stylish alternative to the usual crowd of straight-laced European SUVs and if you want the most powerful one on offer it will have to be this T8 Plug-in Hybrid model.
With a range of advanced luxury and convenience options and the usual high level of standard safety features, the XC90 T8 promises speed, style and efficiency. 2018 sees a few minor changes to specification levels.
The XC90 offers a very Swedish design style which means a light and airy cabin with wood inserts and a minimalist design. It is a nice change from the usual somber interiors most other European makes prefer and material quality too is exemplary, top trim levels elevate the ambience to class-leading levels. A 9-inch touchscreen takes over the tasks that traditional buttons and knobs would have carried out in the past and it does take some acclimatization to get used to.
There are three rows of seats with the front row occupants getting the most space and seat adjustability although adults should still be able to get comfortable in the second row. The tight third set of seats can fit adults for shorter trips but is best left for children on longer journeys, an available integrated booster seat is a useful feature. There is the option of an ultra-luxurious four-seat setup too if the third-row seating is not required.
The T8 is a fair bit heftier than the other XC90s but it still handles corners well although there are sportier rivals out there that are more accomplished over a twisty piece of pavement.
The ride quality is generally quite good although opting for the larger diameter wheels will upset the XC90’s composure over bumpy roads. It is better to stick to the standard 19-inch wheel setup (sadly only available on the base trim) and option the available air suspension system instead.
Smoother highway surfaces show the T8 to be an accomplished cruiser, the cabin remains quiet at speed too, the engine a quiet hum under most driving situations.
The T8 Plug-in Hybrid is the most powerful XC90 on offer and combines the T6’s 316 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo and supercharged engine with an 87 hp electric motor that powers the rear wheels.
This unusual combination makes totals of 400 hp and 472 lb ft of torque and propels the heavy SUV to 60mph in 5.5-seconds. Efficiency levels are similar to the less powerful models and it can be driven for short distances or purely electric power too.
Achieving the claimed consumption figures will depend on your driving style and the hybrid system is most effective in city driving situations.
The XC90 is available in four trim levels. The base Momentum trim starts things off with 19-inch wheels a panoramic sunroof, rearview camera, keyless ignition, power front seats, leatherette interior, 9-inch touchscreen with Navigation and Bluetooth and smartphone compatibility as well as a 10-speaker audio system.
The comprehensive safety systems include active LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation front and rear, lane keeping assist, blind spot and cross traffic alert as well as a park assist pilot.
Inscription trim offers upgraded 20-inch wheels, Nappa leather interior, walnut wood inlays, 12.3-inch digital instrument display, inscription grille and unique design finishes.
R-Design offers a sportier approach and includes shift paddles, sport seats, metal mesh aluminum inlays and a sport steering wheel and also includes Nappa leather upholstery.
Excellence trim is reserved for the T8 and is a 4-seater only featuring a pair of luxurious rear seats with heating, power and massaging function. A central rear beverage cooler console and 21-inch alloy wheels are also standard.
Depending on the trim level, a Luxury, Climate or Convenience Package further add items such as heated windshield washer nozzles, adaptive cruise control, automated parking assist and adaptive air-suspension. A 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system and a head-up display can be optioned individually too.
There has never been a more luxurious or powerful Volvo than the XC90 T8 Plug-in Hybrid, the list of standard and available features is very impressive and economy levels are commendable considering the performance on offer.
A less-than perfect ride quality and driving dynamics that fall short of the class leaders are minor chinks in this impressive luxury SUVs armor and it remains a stylish and accomplished vehicle.