Volvo XC90 T8 Twin

Engine Momentum

Volvo XC90, side
Volvo XC90, front
Volvo XC90, front
Volvo XC90, front
Volvo XC90, boot
Volvo XC90, rear
Volvo XC90, rear
Volvo XC90, interior

HEAR the name Volvo and you instantly think safety, reliability and great all-round quality but the latest twin engine version of the new XC90 SUV has been greeted with excited anticipation - especially from young executives up and down the country.

That's because the new T8 Twin Engine model of this very practical and upmarket seven-seater brings with it some amazing financial savings.

If for example, you are a company car owner who pays 40 per cent tax you could be looking at savings in the thousands on car tax since the Benefit in Kind rating for the XC90 T8 is just five per cent. That translates into a payment of just over £1,200 per year compared to standard SUVs that carry a hefty £6,000 annual bill.

In addition, companies opting for the entry-level Momentum, trim priced from £60,455 (excluding the Government's plug-in car grant) will see up to £11,470 corporation tax relief.

So clearly the T8 model brings with it some impressive financial rewards and that's because it's a plug-in model powered by a 320bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine plus a rear mounted 87bhp electric motor.

For the most economical results from the hybrid system, the T8 needs to be charged overnight and in Eco mode it can be driven up to a claimed 27 miles using electric power only on a fully charged battery.

The official combined economy figure is a whopping 134.5mpg, but few drivers will ever see anywhere close to that number.

In fact, if the hybrid technology is not utilised to the full, the mpg stats can be quite poor. I drove the vehicle on a 100-mile run in the more sporty Power mode and the fuel gauge plummeted quite rapidly.

But for those drivers clocking up the constant motorway miles, there is the diesel-powered D5 version of the XC90.

The T8 has another target audience in mind - those who will regularly make full use of the 27 miles. They are the drivers that will really reap the financial rewards.

The stylish vehicle is beautifully sculpted with stand-out design cues such as a floating grille housing the Volvo badge, smart alloys, a panoramic sunroof, tinted windows, a powered tailgate, Thor hammer-effect LED headlights with active high beam and 3D-effect tail lights.

Move inside and the car screams premium quality at you. The super-comfy leather seats can be heated as can the steering wheel and there are some eye-catching design features such as linear walnut inlays, multi-colour theatre lighting, rear footwell and side step illumination and plenty more besides.

The on-board technology is sophisticated and very simple to operate.

Many of the functions are controlled via a nine-inch tablet-like touchscreen, which despite being a tad prone to fingerprint smudges, is a simple and very practical way to navigate the car's on-board systems.

Techno treats include a head-up display, Sensus Connect to access a range of web apps and browse the internet, Sensus Navigation with full European mapping, Volvo On Call with app which is available for smartphones, smartwatch or iPad and allows you to control various functions remotely and also acts as an emergency and tracking service, voice control and lots more.

And when it comes to performance the T8 also ticks all the right boxes with a 0-62mph sprint time of just 5.6 seconds and top speed of 140mph. Carbon emissions are 49g/km.

The driver can select from a number of driving modes such as AWD; Save which preserves the battery charge for later; Pure for eco driving; Hybrid for everyday use; Power for sporty handling and Off-Road for the rougher stuff.

Depending on the mode, the instrumentation panel alters to offer relevant driver feedback. So if driven in Hybrid mode it will display charge and power output details, but in Power mode the more traditional rev counter is restored.

This latest XC90 drives beautifully and offers outstanding comfort levels - even the two rear seats are practically sized and can easily be accessed. The acceleration through the eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive with a constant supply of power on tap at all times.

Despite its size, there is very little body roll into tight bends and the cabin environment is well insulated against any engine, road surface or wind noise.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Momentum

Price:£60,455

Mechanical:320bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl petrol engine with 87bhp electric motor driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:140mph

0-62mph:5.6 seconds

Combined MPG:134.5

Insurance Group: 42

C02 emissions:49g/km

Bik rating:5%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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