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Volvo XC90 T8 road test | efficiency boost for flagship plug-in

"Once the 2.0-litre petrol engine fires up, fuel economy falls quickly."

6 Volvo XC90 T8 R Design
Volvo
BIK List Price
£66,575
Volvo XC90 BIK list price
BIK Percentage
19%
Volvo XC90 BIK Percent
CO2
52g/km
Volvo XC90 CO2
Combined MPG
113.0 (WLTP)
Volvo XC90 MPG

Review

Having spawned an entire model range of high-tech new Volvos after its launch in 2015, the XC90 has received a mild update for 2020.

The visual revisions have been kept to a minimum, so there’s little more than a new grille, colours and wheel choices.

It is still an attractive SUV and easily as modern-looking as any of its rivals.

By designing the car from the ground up to be a hybrid, Volvo has managed to package the battery pack and two powertrains neatly within the chassis – optimising weight distribution and passenger space.

Versions with air suspension (a £2,150 option) have a more gracious ride, complementing the comfortable seats and overall relaxing ambiance of the interior.

The flagship T8 plug-in hybrid, which we’re testing here, gains a larger battery for better efficiency.

Volvo says the updated model is 15% more efficient, with a claimed fuel consumption of 94.2mpg.

In reality, that figure will be difficult to achieve by anyone that travels more than around 15 miles at a time. A full charge registers around 22 miles of range (Volvo claims 25 miles is acheiveable), but travel at higher speeds and it dips rapidly.

Once the 2.0-litre petrol engine fires up, fuel economy falls quickly too. While it doesn’t match the claimed numbers, our achievement of 30mpg over 400 miles – from a large seven-seat all-wheel-drive SUV – isn’t too bad.

With CO2 emissions of 66g/km (WLTP) the XC90 T8 falls into the 16% BIK band for 2020/21, meaning higher rate taxpayers will only have to fork out about £350 per month to run one.

A combined power output of 390PS gives a mighty turn of speed when requested, but the power delivery is hampered by a sluggish transmission. It doesn’t move with the heft of a big V6 diesel, but, considering the tax breaks available, drivers would be mad not to take a look.

Specification shown for Volvo XC90 T8 R Design

Top Speed
140mph
Volvo XC90 Top Speed
VED band
C
Volvo XC90 Ved
Fuel Type
Petrol Hybrid
Volvo XC90 Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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