Volvo XC90 T8

Momentum

Volvo XC90, front static
Volvo XC90, front action
Volvo XC90, side action
Volvo XC90, rear action
Volvo XC90, rear static
Volvo XC90, dashboard
Volvo XC90, third row seats
Volvo XC90, seats folded
Volvo XC90, boot
Volvo XC90 D5 Power Pulse, side, action
Volvo XC90 D5 Power Pulse, front, static
Volvo XC90 D5 Power Pulse, rear, action

IT'S time for Volvo owners to ask themselves a question...and give an honest answer.

Why did they choose a Volvo? Most will unhesitatingly say roominess, safety or practicality. Maybe all three were the reason for their sensible choice.

One thing for sure, few will answer that they picked a Volvo because of its speed.

But that could be the very reason some buyers sign on the dotted line for the XC90 T8 - it will hit the benchmark 62mph in the same time as a Porsche Boxster ie 5.6 seconds, which is quick by sports car standards and exceptional for a seven-seater SUV.

Just as amazing is its fuel consumption - 134.5mpg. Well, that needs a bit of explaining because like most hybrid petrol/electric cars you are never likely find an owner who achieves the Government laboratory figure. But for many it can be a taxation boon.

Power for the sleek looking XC90 T8 comes from its twin engines - a turbo and supercharged two-litre, four-pot that supplies a not insignificant 314bhp and an 81bhp electric motor. Together they combine to propel all four wheels.

It can be charged either from the mains or by the electric motor on the move. If you rely more on petrol power, as I did, you'll find that fuel consumption sinks to a less beneficial 28mpg or so.

Those who put space in front of pace on their list of priorities won't be disappointed in the XC either. It has acres of room within its tall immaculately designed cabin with three rows of seats and enough headroom for a basketball giant. Luggage space is also enormous although cargo must be lifted fairly high to access the rear boot.

Interior styling is appropriately contemporary Swedish, and therefore tasteful and widely appealing. Lots of natural wood, unpolished chrome and pale shades. There are couple of innovative touches too, such as the crystal glass gear knob and a diamond-cut starter button which is twisted rather than pressed. Very cool.

The large central touch-screen which operates like an iPad is attractive looking but sometimes impractical to use, especially when travelling over poor, joggly surfaces. Have you ever tried emailing on an iPad when you are jumping up and down? Probably not, and I don't suggest it's a great idea.

Ride standard is generally good, although there's a fair bit of lateral movement and the Volvo weighs in at the best part of two and half tons, so tight bends taken swiftly can provoke some cornering roll. This car was fitted with optional air suspension at £2,150 which saves you from serious jolts.

As with most Volvos, the seating is both supportive and cosseting. The Momentum version tested comes with loads of standard kit including leather upholstery, climate control, Bluetooth and 10-speaker stereo.

Noise levels are subdued unless the petrol engine is called on to work hard when it becomes somewhat harsh, betraying the XC's generally high level of refinement.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC90 T8 Momentum

Price: £60,455

Mechanical:314bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl petrol engine plus 81bhp electric motor driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 140mph

0-62mph: 5.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 134.5

Insurance Group: 43

C02 emissions: 49g/km

Bik rating: 9%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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