Volvo XC90 T8 Twin

Engine - Review

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, front
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, side
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, rear
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, drive mode display
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, interior
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, charging point

IF ever there were a car tailor-made for a young, vigorous and high-earning senior executive it's the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine.

The obvious attractions stare you in the eye - imposing SUV architecture, lavish cabin, high tech kit and sports car-like acceleration.

But, possibly the biggest draw - an invisible one - is if you are a company car owner paying 40per cent tax you stand to save thousands each year on car tax. With a Benefit in Kind of just five per cent the plug-in hybrid T8 will cost you just £1,208 a year against a conventional SUV which will run up a bill of £6,523.

On top of that, if you fork out this year for the cheapest T8 in the range, the Momentum at £59,850, your company would get up to £11,470 in corporation tax relief.

No wonder Chinese-owned Volvo is bracing itself for a surge of orders for its new flagship based on the award winning new XC which is assuming a mantle not dissimilar to that of an Audi Q7 or even a Range Rover.

Power for generously proportioned seven-seater comes from 320bhp supercharged petrol engine linked to an 87bhp electric motor.

If you take the time and trouble to plug in the electric unit each night to recharge, you'll get the most out of the hybrid system, otherwise expect economy to be less impressive than the established diesel versions of the XC. In Eco mode the T8 will travel up to a claimed 27 miles on a fully charged battery.

Volvo has teamed up with a charging point firm to provide fast charging in two and half hours from empty. Home charging is best carried out overnight.

Get behind the smart heated steering wheel, engage the crystal gear lever and you immediately feel a smooth surge power that sees 62mph disposed of in a very brisk 5.3 seconds with top speed being about 140mph. For the record, the official combined consumption is 134.5mpg.

The electric motor doesn't impinge on luggage or passenger space, but does cause the fuel capacity to be slightly restricted. The final row of rear seats are more acceptable than the those in most rivals and are comfortable for passengers up to about 5ft 7ins tall.

Three models are available - Momentum, the £62,750 R-Design and flagship Inscription at £63,600. At the moment the Momentum and Inscription are accounting for most sales which are exceeding Volvo's forecasts.

Visually, the T8 looks almost identical to the normal XC apart from some discrete badging and an extra filler cap on the nearside wing. The cabin is a lesson in restrained luxury. Deep multi-position seats cosset the occupants and the latest in technology with iPad-like intuitive interface serve to entertain and inform travellers via a nine-inch touch screen displayed centrally.

It tops the connectivity class with the ability to create wifi hotspots and offers Apple CarPlay as an option.

A thoroughly modern take on what a luxury SUV should be like, the flagship XC90 will have a strong attraction to company car drivers, and very nearly as much appeal to those who are using their own money.

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