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