By Mike Torpey on 2022-04-18 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Volvo V90 Recharge
Plug-in Hybrid T6
IF producing plug-in hybrids is often seen as a stepping stone to full electric models then that's certainly the case with Scandinavian car company Volvo.
The brand is committed to becoming a leader in the fast-growing premium electric car market and aims to sell 1.2 million vehicles globally by the middle of this decade - with at least half being fully electric.
As part of that relentless progress Volvo has introduced a new improved Recharge plug-in hybrid powertrain on its 90 and 60 series models, significantly extending electric range while lowering CO2 emissions and boosting performance.
This new powertrain was beneath the bonnet of our tested V90 Recharge T6 all-wheel drive model, an estate variant with the low-slung slimline looks worthy of gracing any automotive catwalk.
While every engine available in the V90 is electrified in some way, the T6 Recharge combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an 11.6kWh battery to potentially deliver 56 miles of electric driving on a single charge.
And with the average premium car owner reckoned to drive no more than 30 miles each weekday, most drivers with a home wallbox should be able to complete their daily motoring on pure electric power.
This would suggest the 60-litre fuel tank need never be accessed, though for those like business drivers who regularly undertake longer journeys or chauffeuring trips, that's not the case.
What's certain though is that whatever type of trip you need to take, the Volvo V90 is a magnificent vehicle.
Its appeal stretches way beyond those elegant lines. Step inside the relaxing Scandi-style cabin and the feel is reassuringly laid back as you soak up the minimalist vibe and, in the case of our Inscription trim model at least, enjoy those perforated ivory soft leather seats.
Classy touches are everywhere, though the little things really make a difference - from the leather and wood-effect door panelling to the see-through gear-shifter and heated steering wheel.
The full length panoramic glass roof brings extra light flooding into the car and an upmarket Bowers & Wilkins sound system ensures top aural quality.
A nine-inch portrait touchscreen dominates the centre of the cabin, which is largely free of buttons, and V90 models now also benefit from built-in Google Assistant with voice control, maps and connection to apps.
Of course nobody buys an estate model unless there's a real need for space and the Volvo V90 is both cavernous and practical.
The boot apart, there's room for five occupants to stretch out their legs, though it has to be said a centre rear passenger has to contend with the wide transmission tunnel. Headroom is also excellent in spite of the sloping roofline.
As for load space, there is a capacity of 551 litres with the rear seats - which fold flat at the push of a button - in place, and a plentiful 1,517 litres with them folded down.
This may not be the largest load area in the estate arena, as it traditionally was, but remains vast nonetheless. It's also flat and the tailgate is powered.
Out on the road the V90 is a lovely, calming and beautifully damped car to drive while well balanced too as the drive switches seamlessly between the electric motor and petrol engine.
The advantage of a plug-in hybrid is the fuel economy, and lower emissions, it offers. But discipline, along with a home wallbox for charging, is essential - just relying on petrol power because you forgot to plug-in the previous evening can prove expensive.
Volvo V90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T6 AWD Inscription
Mechanical:1,969cc, 4-cyl petrol engine + electric motor driving four wheels via 8-speed auto gearbox
0-62mph: 5.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 134.5
Choose from one or more of the options to find the car for you.
Based on your search find the dealership
nearest to you.