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In-depth reviews

Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 hybrid performance, top speed & engine

The Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 delivers strong performance and comfort, putting it up there with the best in class

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, engine & drive rating

4.0 out of 5

Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
5.4s112mphFour448bhp

The Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 has an appealing duality of nature, delivering great comfort and refinement when you want it, and also serving up potent acceleration and enjoyable handling if you fancy it. As the car was designed as a plug-in from the outset, there are very few drawbacks compared to a regular XC90, although the Jaguar I-Pace handles far better if you want a sports SUV with a plug and don't need the XC90's space and versatility.

Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 hybrid engine, 0-62mph and acceleration

There’s just one engine available in the XC90 hybrid: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol that’s both turbocharged and supercharged to boost power on full throttle without harming efficiency when cruising. The electric motor produces 143bhp and drives the rear wheels, while power from the petrol engine is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. That means four-wheel-drive capability and a total of 448bhp.

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The car will accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds but top speed is limited to 112mph; if you do accelerate heavily then the petrol engine makes an appealing but rather intrusive supercharger whine, but on a steady throttle refinement is great and in electric mode it is very quiet. The XC90 can maintain motorway speeds in electric mode, too, so if your commute is short enough then you needn't wake the petrol engine at all. 

Handling

On standard suspension, the car feels relaxed and composed in most situations, riding over the majority of surfaces sweetly. The higher ride height compared to a saloon car means more travel in the suspension, so unlike a regular car that can struggle to absorb bumps, the XC90 feels mostly plush and smooth over damaged tarmac.

You can tell the wheels are sizeable, though, because they bounce back with more energy if you hit a nasty bump, but otherwise the T8 feels settled. We'd still find the extra for air suspension if you can – it's standard on the Ultimate trim – since the extra cushiness and lazy, long-wave feel of the suspension with this adaptive setup fitted does improve general comfort as well as off-road potential.

There’s loads of grip courtesy of the four-wheel drive system and chunky tyres, but through faster corners body lean is very noticeable – if only to be expected in such a big, heavy car. The steering is light and has a lovely build of weight, so is a pleasure to use both in town and along fast country roads; you always feel nicely connected to the car and get the impression it's a surefooted vehicle.

Brake feel, too, is good by the standards of cars fitted with regenerative braking, so you rarely have to give much thought to the pedal pressure needed to smoothly come to a stop.

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