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In-depth reviews

Volvo S90 Recharge T8 hybrid review

The Volvo S90 Recharge T8 offers big executive-saloon practicality, a beautiful interior, low CO2 emissions and useful electric range

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£46,505 - £62,805
Fuel Types:
Electric, Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Beautiful interior
  • Low CO2 emissions
  • Great performance and refinement

Cons

  • Low-speed ride comfort
  • Expensive purchase price
  • No dedicated cable storage
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid46-55 miles257-353mpg18-25g/km

Volvo's S90 Recharge T8 is a mid-size executive saloon that these days is available solely with plug-in hybrid petrol-electric power, pairing a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a total output of 448bhp. Its main rivals are the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class plug-in hybrids.

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Big saloons like these have fallen out of favour with the car-buying public in recent years, with many more likely to be looking at one of Volvo's plug-in hybrid SUVs, such as the XC60 or XC90, instead. But for those who still appreciate the appeal of the classic three-box saloon, the S90 hybrid offers a understated yet stylish and still modern take on the formula.

With CO2 emissions as low as 18g/km, claimed fuel economy of up to 353mpg and a pure-electric driving range of up to 55 miles, it promises ultra-low running costs for a car of this size and luxury. In reality, the economy you get will depend on how often you charge and how long your journeys are.

When the petrol engine is running, you're likely to see around 35mpg even in gentle use, but if you charge regularly and do mostly shorter journeys, you could offset the underwhelming economy on longer journeys with virtually fuel-free travel the rest of the time.

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The car's 18.8kWh lithium-ion battery and can be charged from a household socket using the 4.5-metre cable supplied in around eight hours. If you want to top-up faster than that, you can get a home charging point installed to cut the duration to just over three hours.

The S90 Recharge is available only in two trim levels: Plus and Ultimate. It's not cheap, starting at over £63,000 for the former and nearly £68,000 for the latter – but the ultra-low CO2 emissions make it an appealing prospect for company-car drivers, who care more about BiK rates than list prices.

Both trim levels feature Volvo’s City Safety package, a nine-inch tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system,  sat nav, dual-zone climate control, an eight-speed automatic transmission and cruise control.

Inside, the S90 presents a masterclass in fit, finish and ambience – nobody does modern interiors quite like Volvo. There’s space for four adults, with the rear middle seat fine for occasional use. And because the S90 was designed from the ground up with the hybrid system in mind, you get the same 500 litres of boot space as the you did in the now-discontinued petrol and diesel versions.

Safety comes as standard in a Volvo, so the five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating was almost a given. The car performed particularly well in the adult occupant and safety assistance categories, scoring 95 and 93% respectively. Only the Volvo XC60 scored higher in 2017.

It doesn't offer the zero-emission range of a pure electric vehicle, and fuel economy isn't great with the petrol engine running, but low CO2 emissions, punchy performance, great interior quality and useful practicality make the S90 Recharge a compelling prospect in the luxury saloon class. For a more detailed look at the car, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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