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In-depth reviews

Volvo V90 Recharge hybrid performance, top speed, engine

The plug-in hybrid Volvo V90 Recharge T6 serves up great cross-country pace, but is more relaxing than thrilling to drive

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, engine & drive rating

4.0 out of 5

Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
5.5s112mphFour345bhp

When the Volvo V90 plug-in hybrid launched, it featured the brand's range-topping T8 powertrain. This variant was dropped in early 2020 in favour of the less powerful T6 model. This is no bad thing, however – it's very nearly as fast, but more affordable to buy and run. Most drivers will never miss the extra performance the T8 offered.

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All versions of the V90 Recharge are versatile and fast, with performance-car-rivalling pace, at least in a straight line. A lot of that is down to the huge amount of torque generated by the hybrid powertrain, pairing instant electric shove with petrol power picking up the slack at higher speeds. This car isn't the last word in driving engagement, however, and still steers towards being comfortable rather than thrilling in corners.

Volvo V90 Recharge T6 hybrid engine, 0-62mph and acceleration

The V90 Recharge T6 hybrid is a variant of the regular V90 and not a model in its own right. As such, there's only one powertrain option – despite the fact it was previously offered in more powerful T8 form.

The V90 Recharge T6 is based around a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder petrol engine. This sends drive to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and it’s joined by a rear-mounted 143bhp electric motor that's fed power from an 18.8kWh battery, making for a four-wheel-drive powertrain with a total system output of 345bhp.

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Set it up for 'maximum attack' using the Power drive mode and you’ll find out just how fast petrol and electric power can feel when combined, thanks to the low-down torque from the electric motor and all-wheel drive traction. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 5.5 seconds and like all new Volvos these days, top speed is capped at 112mph. The V90 Recharge is quiet on the move and under acceleration; it's a car you’ll easily see off motorway miles in.

Handling

From behind the wheel, the V90 Recharge can best be described as solid, but not overtly sharp. Both the older T8 and newer T6 pack enough punch to be performance-car bruisers, but they err on the side of caution when it comes to handling and never feel as sporting as the performance figures suggest. The steering is well weighted, and weights up further if you push the car into Power mode.

However, there’s not much communication as to exactly what the front wheels are doing, and again, the Volvo's considerable weight means this isn’t a car you can hurl into corners at great speed. It's a comfortable cruiser, not an outright performance machine. So take things steady and rely on the power and torque in a straight line where necessary.

Underpinning the V90 Recharge's credentials as a motorway car is its list of standard driver-assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control and semi-autonomous capability. When enabled, this feature helps you keep the car in its lane on motorway-style roads.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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