Volvo XC90 Recharge

T8 Inscription Pro

Volvo XC90 Recharge, 2021, side
Volvo XC90 Recharge, 2021, front
Volvo XC90 Recharge, 2021, rear
Volvo XC90 Recharge, 2021, interior
Volvo XC90 Recharge, 2021, display screen
Volvo XC90 Recharge, 2021, charging
Volvo XC90 Recharge, 2021, boot
Volvo XC60 Recharge, 2021, badge

IS it a sporty SUV or a luxury carriage with the boxy dimensions of an off-roader?

Well, the Volvo XC90 Recharge has a somewhat split personality. With no less than 448bhp to call on, unsurprisingly its performance is of on the rapid side. Yet, it isn't the sort of car you chuck around bends or race away from traffic lights.

With substantial girth and weighing in at two tons-plus, the laws of physics count against dynamic athleticism.

So, despite the abundant power, the emphasis is more on space than pace, with refinement and comfort at the top of the priority list.

As the Swedish maker pushes towards its goal of an electric only range, this version of the XC90 is a petrol hybrid 2.0-litre with ample heft which endows it with acceleration to 62mph in a swift 5.4seconds - quicker than many sports cars.

Like all current Volvos, top speed is limited at 112mph.

Grip is tenacious thanks to four wheel drive and big wheels shod with wide rubber.

But the car's height and weight tend to limit cornering exuberance, nevertheless the XC acquits itself well on windy roads.

Yes, like many SUVs, the steering is somewhat over-assisted and there's a degree or body roll that would not be acceptable in a saloon.

Unless revved hard through the gears, it travels in near silence and in refined fashion with little wind or mechanical noise. Push on a bit and the four cylinder engine does emit a harsh note.

For many, it will be the sheer size of the cabin that holds strongest appeal. Even with the final row of seats in place to enable it to carry seven people, there's room for 262 litres of luggage and when the two rear rows are folded this expands to 1,816 litres.

Leg and headroom are generous in all three rows - even the back seats are quite acceptably sized.

The cabin itself is a masterpiece is design achievement. Although quite minimalist it exudes an air of luxury with plenty of natural materials and quality hide.

Some people might not take to the large centrally-placed tablet-like touchscreen which controls many of the car's functions. For others, it will be technological tour de force with Google style software.

A 10-speaker audio system is standard. For fully immersive sound go for the Bowers and Wilkins system with no fewer than 18 speakers.

Company car buyers will reap the benefits of the XC90's electrification in terms of reduced benefit in kind tax, but in real life driving the big SUV won't return anything approaching the official consumption of 80mpg-plus.

Our average was around 29mpg over mixed routes. Of course the electric-only range of around 27 miles goes some way to reduce short commutes.

With the XC90, Volvo has established a strong following of buyers who admire the model's style and individuality along style its rugged practicality. The Recharge T8 further enhances the appeal.

£76,775

2.0 litre petrol hybrid, 4 cyl, 455bhp engine driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

112mph

5.4sec

188mpg

44

34g/km

8%

3yrs/60,000 miles

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