2020 Volvo XC90 T8 review: Energetic, efficient and pretty extravagant

Maria J. Danford

Primarily in array-topping Inscription trim, the Volvo XC90 is 1 of the nicest a few-row utility vehicles accessible right now, with classy design, impeccable excellent and far more refinement than a white-tie gala. The XC90 T8 builds on people laurels with an sophisticated powertrain that’s not only incredibly potent and refined, it truly is impressively successful to boot.


  • Interminable interior silence
  • Highly effective drivetrain
  • Lovely interior
  • Sound effectiveness

Don’t Like

  • Quirky Sensus infotainment process
  • The ride could be a touch far better
  • Uninspired steering

Delivering an advertised 18 miles of electric-only array is an 11.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. This vehicle’s typical TurboCord makes it possible for you to demand it from 110- or 220-volt residence outlets. Hook it to a typical 110-volt socket and it will consider all night to demand. Tap into a 220-volt electrical power source, nonetheless, and Volvo claims it can be entirely juiced in as minor as 2.5 several hours. Thanks to its J1772-model connector, you can very easily plug your XC90 into public charging stations for on-the-go replenishment.

At the time its battery pack is depleted, the XC90 operates as a typical hybrid, which suggests it truly is continue to impressively cost-effective, returning an EPA-believed 27 miles for every gallon mixed. When driving like a sane human being and entirely utilizing that electric-only array, I was in a position to typical close to 34 mpg during my time with this automobile.

As in other Volvos, a turbo-and-supercharged 4-cylinder motor is nestled less than the hood. Displacing 2.-liters and matched to an eight-velocity automated transmission, this device provides 313 horsepower and 295 pound-toes of torque, although it truly is not operating alone. A crankshaft-mounted starter-generator throws an more 111 lb-ft of torque into the combine, although a independent, rear-mounted motor spins the aft tires, giving both equally all-wheel push and 87 extra horses. Insert almost everything up and the XC90 T8’s drivetrain is rated at 400 hp and 472 lb-ft, figures that examine favorably to the Volvo’s major rival, the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring plug-in hybrid. The Lincoln is endowed with 494 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque, additionally it provides an electric-only driving array of 21 miles. Other plug-in opponents include things like the Land Rover Vary Rover Activity PHEV and the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid.

This Volvo’s acquired adequate kibbles ‘n bits to strike 60 mph in the mid-5-2nd array, and it feels just about every little bit that quick. Easy and almost silent, its electric motors offer a wallop of lower-conclude torque to get factors shifting, although the motor is nearly as refined. Extremely peaceful and almost vibration no cost, Volvo’s 2.-liter is an complete gem. In reality, the same could be reported about this whole powertrain, which is so seamless you won’t even notice it truly is a hybrid. In comparison, the Aviator Grand Touring is nowhere close to as nicely calibrated, herking and jerking at odd times. 

Plug-in XC90s come with about 50 % a dozen driving modes. These change its steering really feel, braking general performance, local weather regulate process and far more. Hybrid is the typical mode, which operates this automobile as, you guessed it, a typical hybrid. The gasoline motor and electric motors function collectively to deliver excellent general performance and effectiveness. Click on the classy minor roller switch on the heart console around to Pure, and the XC90 will operate solely on electrical energy, although there is a caveat. This placing even more enhances effectiveness by placing the local weather regulate process in eco mode and lowering the air suspension, if equipped. What is the catch? Properly, in Pure mode the gasoline motor will kick on in particular circumstances, this kind of as when you request far more electrical power than the electric motors can offer or if you exceed 78 mph. Stay clear of flat-footing the accelerator or ripping down the interstate and you will have no difficulty preserving this Volvo running purely off the battery.

Underway, the XC90’s interior is tomb-like in its silence. Even at freeway speeds this automobile remains pretty much eerily hushed, which is ideal for the accessible Bowers and Wilkins sound process, a $3,200 extra. Crystal obvious but pounding, you can crank the quantity up devoid of any distortion or junky rattling appears to detract from your most loved tunes.

This Volvo’s steering has some heft to it, but it truly is regrettably uninvolving no matter which driving mode you choose. Fortuitously, the brake pedal feels all-natural, seamlessly switching from regenerative to friction braking as wanted. It is totally transparent and nicely weighted, remaining neither mushy nor grabby.

2020 Volvo XC90 T8 eAWD

This powertrain is clean, potent and cost-effective. What far more could you ask for?

Craig Cole/Roadshow

My top-shelf Inscription product is equipped with optional 21-inch wheels, an $800 extra. These rollers glance good, but I really don’t necessarily recommend them. Even when equipped with the accessible $1,800 height-adjustable air suspension, my XC90’s ride is not very as clean as it ought to be. No, it truly is not brutal by any suggests, but there is a little bit far more influence harshness than I would like, in all probability since people wheels are so hefty.

That a little clopping ride is not the conclude of the environment, but there are a pair other annoyances well worth mentioning. For occasion, people lovely, leather-wrapped solar visors do not increase to include the width of the front home windows, a curious security omission. This is a automobile that will sound an alarm if you so substantially as have a dirty thought, but shielding taller drivers’ eyes from glare isn’t really crucial? The XC90’s typical automated substantial beams are not good… at all. On various situations although driving at night I recognized the process switching on when a automobile was right in front of me and the beams failing to dip when oncoming website traffic acquired substantially way too near. At some point, I just stopped employing this function. Lastly, my tester is equipped with a crystalline shifter, which appears to be like a minor piece of artwork mounted to the heart console, although you continue to have to double-click it to choose the equipment you want, which is sort of silly.

By natural means, the XC90 T8 consists of plenty of other driver-aid systems like blind-place monitoring, automated unexpected emergency braking and rear cross-website traffic inform, to title a number of. They all function well, together with Pilot Assist, the automaker’s title for adaptive cruise regulate with lane centering. On the interstate at better speeds, this process is rock strong, preserving the XC90 locked in the middle of its lane although efficiently altering velocity to match surrounding website traffic. Curiously, it truly is significantly less assurance inspiring on two-lane roadways, exactly where it can ping-pong from 1 lane marker to the other. 

2020 Volvo XC90 T8 eAWD

There are significantly even worse areas to commit time than the XC90’s cabin.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

If you like lots of swiping and scrolling, you can in all probability enjoy Volvo’s Sensus Join infotainment process. This is not the worst multimedia featuring accessible right now, not by a lengthy shot, but neither is it my most loved given that it can lag from time to time and the menus are quite confusing. I essentially experienced to look for the owner’s handbook since I couldn’t recall how to conserve radio presets and it truly is not apparent how you do that. At least there’s plenty of serious estate on the nine-inch screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle are provided.

As I alluded to earlier, the rest of this Volvo’s cabin is gorgeous. The all round design is tremendous thoroughly clean and classy. The Nappa-leather upholstery is in all probability the nicest you can locate this facet of a Rolls-Royce and there’s charming stitching in all places. My tester’s gray-hued, open-pore ash-wooden trim is lovely to glance at and touch.

Ease and comfort in the XC90 is a little bit of a mixed bag. The front chairs are absolutely throne-like, heated, ventilated, adjustable in far more ways than you can count, and they are even in a position to give you a massage. The 2nd-row buckets are a little bit on the slim facet and not almost as soft as the fronts, additionally they are very tricky to tilt and slide for accessing the 3rd row. Talking of the XC90’s aft-most lodging, they are a restricted squeeze for older people, which is no shock, but oddly adequate the decrease cushion is at an exceptional height and provides plenty of assistance, some thing that’s very unusual in this segment.

2020 Volvo XC90 T8 eAWD

See? I explained to you the XC90 T8 was lovely. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2020 Volvo XC90 T8 is presented in a few trims: entry-stage Momentum, midrange R-Design and style and top-shelf Inscription. The base value is close to $68,000, although my tester drove off the assembly line in Gothenburg, Sweden with an MSRP of $86,790, a whole that consists of a alternatively modest destination demand of $995 and $18,295 in choices. If you crave this Volvo’s refined design, tasteful interior and nice demeanor but are unwilling or not able to shell out almost 90 grand really don’t fret. You can get a non-hybrid T5 front-wheel-push variant for about $fifty,000, which ought to deliver substantially of the same basic excellence if not very as substantially opulence.

This Volvo is an absolutely charming piece of function, 1 of the very best of its breed accessible right now. Luxurious may be antithetical to environmentalism, but the XC90’s plug-in powertrain goes a lengthy way to enhancing both equally the driving dynamics and, far more importantly, gas effectiveness.

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