- P11D Value, £76,390 (as tested)
- 5-door, 7-seat SUV
- Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol + electric motor
- Power/torque: 303ps/400Nm + 240Nm electric motor
- Economy/CO2: 80-113mpg/55g/km
- Performance: 0-62/mph, 5.8 secs/140mph
What is it?
Probably one of the finest large SUVs on the road packed with some very cool safety and driver assist systems.
The Twin Engine is basically Volvo-speak for Plug-in Hybrid adding the option of electric motoring to what is a very functional seven-seater.
Cool, but not particularly cheap. Off the shelf this model starts at £70,895 although our test model came with just over £5,000 of options.
These included Harman smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, premium sound, powered sunroof, 360 degree parking camera and park assist.
There was also Polestar Performance Software Optimisation which provides heightened engine power, faster, more precise gear capability and fine-tuned throttle response – I know because I looked it up.
This alone adds £745 to the price while an additional fast charging cable costs £50.
The XC90 has recently been facelifted for 2019 and the T8 Twin Engine is the flagship of the range with its turbo and supercharged 2.0-litre petrol delivering 303bhp to the front wheels, while an 87bhp electric motor sends power to the rear.
A larger battery now allows Volvo to claim a 28.6-mile electric range which accounts for those economy and CO2 numbers at the top of the page.
All versions are 4WD, have eight-speed automatic gearboxes and seven seats spread across three rows.
Why would you want an XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD?
- Great looks
- Sturdy build quality
- Volvo’s renowned safety features
- Surprising mpg and CO2 figures
- Interior comfort
- Commanding driving position
- Seven seat option
- Reasonable cargo space even with all seats in use
- Off-road ability
What might put you off an XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD
- Cost – especially with those extras, but arguable better value than a Land Rover Discovery
- MPG if you don’t take advantage of the hybrid system
- It’s a big car to park, so park assist and 36 degree camera are useful
Verdict on the XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD
I concur that this is probably one of the best SUVs on the road, although this might be a somewhat biased opinion having been a serial Volvo owner on and off for more than 25 years.
My ‘fleet’ has been three different 740s, a V50 and currently an XC60.
The XC90 is more than a stretched XC60, however, is has become something of a technological showcase for Volvo.
It’s big and its two litre engine has its work cut out, although it is well backed up by supercharger and turbo which means that the drive is never a struggle.
To get the most out of it you really do have to plug it in and charge regularly from mains.
The petrol engine may be wonderfully refined and comfortable but it soon becomes very thirsty if you don’t have EV back up – it struggled to achieve 30mpg when operating as petrol-ownly during our test.
It runs in Hybrid mode by default, which automatically manages the energy stored in the battery and recharges through engine and road braking.
The battery can be saved for use later and it can be recharged on the move using the petrol engine to turn the starter motor into a generator – hence the low fuel consumption and it only charges to around 30%.
Volvo has a range options for buyers, whether they’re at home or at work, and has teamed up with charging specialist Pod Point to provide high-voltage charging.
There’s an Eco mode that enables the car to run on electricity alone, and when fully charged, you should get a range of 25 miles or so.
Volvo’s all wheel drive system means the XV90 can go off road, but don’t expect Land Rover style agility. Provided you are not too adventurous, it will do a job and if the performance of my XC60 AWD is anything to go, it will handle snow very well.
Power mode combines the petrol and electric motors for maximum performance – you get instant response from the throttle and reasonably quick and smooth performance.
What is particularly good is that the hybrid set-up doesn’t compromise passenger space and the XC90 remains a full seven-seater.
The battery actually eeks into the fuel tank space leading to smaller 50-litre capacity over the conventional XC90.
As for ride, it’s smooth, quiet and comfortable with very comfortable seats and an uncluttered instrument panel and cabin.
There’s plenty of room as well following Volvo’s decision to mount that 2.0-litre engine crossways – making the bay smaller and the cabin bigger.
This means that even with all seven seats in use there is still usable cargo space behind the third row – just over 300 litres of it.
The hybrid battery pack does increase the floor height slightly but with all seats folded the boot space grows to a whopping 1,856 litres.
Folding the seats is simple and can be done with one hand.
Residuals are 47% after three years and 60,000 miles meaning contract hire is cost effective – from £499 a month.