Volvo V90 Recharge hybrid review
The Volvo V90 Recharge T8 has been replaced by the less powerful T6, now an even better package if you need low running costs and practicality
- Decent ride quality
- Beautifully finished interior
- Smooth and powerful performance
- Expensive to buy
- Short electric range
- Not fun despite power
|Car type||Electric range||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions|
|Plug-in hybrid||46-53 miles||105-353mpg||19-25g/km|
No matter your requirements, there's now a plug-in hybrid or fully electric version of every Volvo model on sale. That goes for all three of its SUVs, both of its saloons and each of its estate models – including its range-topping V90. However, while the maker pitched its initial offering as a performance-orientated flagship, in 2020 it changed tack – replacing the powerful Recharge T8 with the less-potent Recharge T6.
The V90 Recharge – both the old T8 and current T6 version – is probably the most bread-and-butter plug-in hybrid that Volvo serves up, given its tradition of making large estates. In the past decade or so, the brand has charged upmarket to take the fight to the established German players; becoming a bona-fide premium manufacturer, it now produces cars of high enough quality to potentially sway Mercedes, Audi and BMW buyers.
The V90 Recharge is no exception, with a sharp design, a wonderfully finished interior, great infotainment and technology, a healthy spread of driver-assistance features and a powerful enough plug-in hybrid powertrain. Its direct competitors include the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class hybrid estates.
As the range-topping engine for the V90, the T6 is only available in two trim levels: Plus and Ultimate. Plus models get 19-inch alloy wheels, a Harmon Kardon sound system, heated rear seats and sun blinds for the rear seats. Meanwhile, Ultimate trim includes a more advanced chassis, with rear air suspension, openable panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, privacy glass and an even more powerful Bowers & Wilkins stereo with 18 speakers.
Power for the T6 comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine plus an electric motor, making this an all-wheel-drive estate capable of all-electric running over shorter distances, while also being able to crack 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds. The petrol engine powers the front wheels, while an 143bhp electric motor powers the rears.
By default on start-up, the V90 runs as a hybrid, using electric power at low speed before the engine kicks in. Flick the V90 into ‘Pure’ mode and it’ll rely on electric power alone, using which it's good for 78mph and over 50 miles of driving.
To unlock maximum power, you need the 18.8kWh battery fully charged and the car primed in Power mode, which sets it up to achieve that claimed 0-62mph time and adjusts the steering to feel sportier. A permanent all-wheel-drive setting is the final drive mode; designed for use in slippery conditions, like getting off a snowy driveway.
While the V90 Recharge has pace aplenty, it isn’t that sharp to drive. If you’re expecting hot hybrid thrills, this maybe isn’t the car for you – it feels a little heavy in corners as a consequence of its weighty powertrain, while the steering is dull as well. Instead, this is a sumptuous cruiser with fantastic high-speed refinement. Its part-electric powertrain makes it excellent around town, too, with smooth acceleration and plenty of power from its electric motor alone to keep up with urban traffic.
The strong straight-line pace combines with excellent comfort and quietness on the move, making the plug-in V90 a great car to whittle away motorway miles in. Ride quality is especially strong, even if you go for some of the larger wheels available on the options list. Optional air suspension helps out in this regard as well. For more on the Volvo V90 Recharge, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Volvo V90 Recharge T8 has been replaced by the less powerful T6, now an even better package if you need low running costs and practicality
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingImpressive MPG and CO2 figures underline the Volvo V90 hybrid's day-to-day capability as a premium plug-in family car
- 3Running costs & insurancePure-electric running means short commutes can be done without burning fuel, but the Volvo V90 Recharge T6 hybrid will be expensive to insure
- 4Performance, engine & driveThe plug-in hybrid Volvo V90 Recharge T6 serves up great cross-country pace, but is more relaxing than thrilling to drive
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortWith one of the best interiors in its class, the Volvo V90 Recharge T6 hybrid is a comfortable place to be
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Volvo V90 T6 Recharge hybrid's boot space isn't quite on par with regular rivals, but trumps plug-in opposition
- 7Reliability & safety ratingVolvo equips the V90 Recharge plug-in hybrid with plenty in the way of driver-assistance and safety features, and reliability should be good