With many vehicle owners aware of the changing motoring landscape making way for electrified vehicles, there isn’t denying the hesitance of many taking the plunge of ditching their internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in exchange for those that are fully electric. Hefty pricing aside, charging infrastructure is also a deterrent for many. CAR contributor Mpho Mahlangu believes that plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are perhaps the perfect bridge to fully electric vehicles, for South Africans. Here are his thoughts on Volvo’s XC90 T8 AWD Recharge Ultimate Dark.
Volvo XC90 T8 AWD Recharge Ultimate Dark Fast Facts
- Price: R1 808 000
- Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, 107 kW electric motor
- Power: 340 kW
- Torque: 709 N.m
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Fuel consumption: 7.2 L/ 100 km (Claimed)
- 0-100 km/h: 5.3 seconds
- Top speed: 180 km/h
- Rivals: Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV X-Dynamic HSE, BMW X5 xDrive50e M Sport
What are we driving?
Dubbed the most powerful Volvo ever, the XC90 T8 Recharge is a premium family-hauling SUV which combines an internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor. This essentially allows for a well-put-together recipe that sees drivers enjoying benefits such as reduced fuel consumption and pure electric driving. Of course, Volvo aims to offer a 100% electric vehicle (EV) line-up by 2030, thus making the XC90 T8 Recharge an ideal stepping-stone into full electrification.
Why is the Volvo XC90 T8 AWD Recharge Ultimate Dark significant?
The range-topping Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge employs a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine paired with a 107 kW electric motor on the rear axle. The former produces 233 kW, resulting in a combined total system output of 340 kW and 709 N.m of torque. Power is sent to all four corners via a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge also employs an 18.8 kWh battery, which has been increased from what was previously an 11.6 kWh battery, allowing for a claimed pure-electric driving range of up to 77 km when fully charged. A real-world figure of up to 50km was achieved during testing, which is a under the manufacturer’s claim. Noteworthy, fuel consumption figures are kept relatively low thanks to the electrified drivetrain, with the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge returning figures around the 8 L/100km mark in realistic day-to-day settings.
Commendable to the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge is just how well refined and premium it is. Most of the touchpoints in the cabin are of a high quality, and the overall fit and finish is second to none too. A unique feature found in the cabin is a crystal gear shifter handcrafted by Orrefors, a Swedish glass maker.
Centered in the cabin of the XC90 T8 Recharge is a portrait-style infotainment touchscreen with embedded Google services. Pairing up with the infotainment touchscreen is a 19-speaker 1 410 W Bowers & Wilkins audio system which is perhaps amongst some of the best-quality audio systems found in vehicles. Audiophiles will be quite pleased!
What’s new on the Volvo XC90 T8 AWD Recharge Ultimate Dark?
The Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge only receives a handful of improvements which include the above-mentioned 18.8 kWh bigger battery along with improved performance, with the premium family SUV now boasting power outputs of 340 kW and 709 N.m of torque, making it the most powerful Volvo ever.
What does the Volvo XC90 T8 AWD Recharge Ultimate Dark cost?
- Volvo XC90 T8 AWD Recharge Ultimate Dark – R1 808 000
What is the Volvo XC90 T8 AWD Recharge Ultimate Dark like to drive?
Upon stepping into the driver’s seat, one instantly realizes how pleasant the nappa leather pews are. Comfort, adjustability and support of the seats are all impressive. The driving position is quite commendable too, with one being able to be seated perfectly with near-perfect visibility around the entire vehicle too.
By default, the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge fires to life in its electric driving mode, which may be beneficial for driving out of your home early in the morning without waking the neighbours. Tootling around in suburbia in the Volvo’s electric driving mode is quite pleasing. The sensation of piloting the large premium SUV without the internal combustion engine (ICE) being called to action is heartwarming. Of course, it also leaves bystanders scratching their heads in confusion as to why or how there is an omission of an engine sound from the vehicle.
Overtaking manoeuvres either in busy urban areas or out on the open road are rather effortless with the vehicle in its electric mode. The instant torque available on tap results in manoeuvres which hardly require careful planning. Power delivery from the electric motor is blistering! With the turbocharged engine summoned to life, the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge still offers a refined and comforting experience. The 8-speed automatic transmission goes about shifting up and down the cogs with ease.
It’s quite remarkable to experience how calming it is to pilot an electric vehicle and this feeling is of course translated to the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge. Being extremely well refined, the loudest noises that one hears in this vehicle are the climate control system and at times, harsher than usual road imperfections. Speaking of, the active air suspension fitted to this SUV performs its duties with aplomb. Most road imperfections are ironed out without fuss, and only the worst are experienced and felt in the cabin.
The Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge is a well-packaged and refined family SUV. With the added benefit of a hybridized powerplant, this makes it ever so more appealing in the changing landscape which is electrified vehicles. The Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge also represents a good step in the direction that is a fully electric line-up of Volvo’s by the year 2030.