Volvo XC90 T8

Recharge Ultimate

Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge, 2024, front
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge, 2024, nose
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge, 2024, side
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge, 2024, rear
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge, 2024, rear
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge, 2024, display screen
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge, 2024, boot

VOLVO'S flagship SUV the XC90 has seen off a never-ending list of challengers since its launch more than 20 years ago.

And the secret to its success is simple, the award-winning seven seater is a master of all trades, excelling through its interior space, rock-solid build quality, comprehensive safety features and up to the minute tech.

Our variant was the XC90 T8 Recharge petrol-electric plug-in hybrid model in lavish Ultimate spec, the range-topper in a line-up that starts with the B5 Core version at £62,140 and rises to a princely £83,130.

While the style and shape of the big Volvo hasn't altered much in a decade, a round of changes to the plug-in hybrid made a huge difference to the car's efficiency.

For instance the electric motor currently produces 145bhp - up from 87bhp - and the battery size has more than doubled giving the XC90 a serious degree of punch at 455bhp.

That battery boost means the Volvo can now travel 44 miles in fully electric mode and providing you drive in a disciplined manner there's the scope to return a very impressive mileage.

Certainly drivers with a home wallbox should be able to complete most of their daily motoring on pure electric power. On the downside, the lazy driver who just runs with the 2.0-litre petrol engine can only expect around 33 miles per gallon.

Either way the XC90 is a joy to drive - smooth and balanced - as it flicks seamlessly through the eight-speed auto gearbox.

You can also switch to one-pedal operation by moving the gearshift from D to the B position, giving the driver the option of controlling both acceleration and deceleration with only the accelerator, the car braking quite sharply as you come off the throttle.

That said, there's a lot more to this vehicle than strong performance - 0-62 in 5.4 seconds - low emissions ands fuel economy because as an executive family SUV the Volvo is a serious player.

Its minimalist Scandinavian cabin is bright and airy, free of clutter and even with all seven seats in use there's ample legroom for all passengers.

The third row in the majority of large SUVs is normally occupied by kids but the back pair in the XC90 can accommodate anyone of 5ft 7ins or less.

Have those individual rear seats folded away though, which is likely most of the time, and you get a vast load area of 640 litres with added stowage space below. Fold everything and the storage jumps to 1,816 litres.

There's a wealth of tech too, including an Android powered infotainment set-up complete with Google Maps, Google Assistant and access to the Google Play store built in.

An app on your mobile allows remote heating so you enter a warm environment on icy mornings or you can manually heat up the steering wheel, seats and windscreen once you're inside the car.

The amount of standard equipment is too long to list but in true Volvo fashion there's all the latest safety gear including the likes of radar for detecting various obstacles, front and back parking sensors and a pin-sharp colour multi-view camera.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge Ultimate

Price:£83,130

Mechanical:455bhp,1,969cc 4-cyl petrol engine + electric motor driving all wheels via 8-speed auto transmission

Max Speed:112mph

0-62mph: 5.4 seconds

Combined MPG:235.4

Insurance Group:44

C02 emissions:29g/km

Bik rating:10%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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