Volvo XC90 the

safest bet

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, front
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, side
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, rear, action
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, boot
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, interior
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, side

WHENthe original Volvo XC90 was launched in 2002 the Swedish car company took it over to the USA and put it up against the best mud-pluggers on offer in a major off-road competition.

Now, you would think those big V8 trucks would slaughter it, wouldn't you? They didn't come close. The XC90 trounced them all and came out the winner over some amazingly challenging terrain.

Then it became the darling of the school run and of businessmen all over Europe and has sold like hot cakes both here and the US.

So, the new XC90 just had to be good.

Well believe me, it most certainly is, with excellent comfort, cosseting luxury, very good performance, a superb specification and seven full adult seats.

In T8 plug-in hybrid form, it's more economical, quicker and more comfortable than the hybrid Porsche Cayenne.

And the Range Rover diesel/electric hybrid looks very over priced indeed when the Volvo is the same size and comes loaded with even more technology.

Euro NCAP put it at the top of the large 4x4 class for safety, and What Car? Magazine voted it the safest car on sale in Britain.

The T8 Inscription sits at the top of the range, so what do you get for your £64,000?

Power comes from a smooth and quiet 320bhp 2.0-litre twin turbo petrol engine plus an electric motor and, since the batteries can be charged overnight it can do up to 24 miles using electric power alone, which is more than many people's daily mileage.

When both petrol and electric power come into play for maximum performance, it absolutely flies, giving a zero to 60 miles an hour time of 5.4 seconds. Not bad for something that weighs in at three tonnes.

This top model gets adjustable air suspension so the comfort is marvellous, helped by the most sumptuous seats. But the handling and road holding are also surprisingly good, even though it does thump over the worst of potholes.

Equipment is vast, and includes everything you would expect, plus electric seats, leather, sat nav, Apple CarPlay, car functions that can be controlled from a smartphone, an emergency tracking service, city safety pedestrian and cyclist detection and turning headlights.

It has a front collision warning system that includes automatic emergency braking, driver alert control, keyless entry and starting and a nine inch touch screen to control everything.

The Volvo XC90 T8 is a tour de force, the pinnacle of our technological progress, with low, low emissions and 134mpg economy.

FAST FACTS

Price:£64,205

Mechanical: 401bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl petrol plus electric engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:140mph

0-62mph:5.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 134

Insurance Group: 43

C02 emissions:49g/km

Bik rating:9%

Warranty:3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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