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Volvo XC90 – T8 Twin Engine R-Design Review

I never quite got to grips with the older ‘Boxy’ XC90 – so, when Volvo announced that they were going for a bold new move on updating the old model – I was a little worried that it would be no more than some new door handles and a new lighting system.

So, when I first got a glimpse of the new XC90 – I was actually jumping for joy because Volvo had made good on all its promises of producing something bold and new and what you now see before you is something that I can only describe as a thing of beauty and will have you basking in all its beauty for some time to come.

Also, people used to think that owning a Volvo was boring or just for people on pensions – but you would be wrong, because owning a Volvo is now classed as being cool and hip and many people are now seeing the error of their ways and they‘re now like a Cruise Missile which is locked onto a path to their nearest Volvo dealer.

The Exterior: the new XC90 is a car that stands out from what everybody else is driving around you. It is very futuristic looking, but it does keep some of the standard Volvo appearance that I loved so much about the older model – such as being Big & Bold.

Inside: is a real pleasure to behold. It’s well equipped and has some very nice touches around the centre console. To be honest, sitting in here is like sitting in the Royal Suite at the The Goring, where everything you will ever need is just a button push or arm’s reach away. Volvo really has done the most brilliant job of making you feel like it was made just for you.


Standard equipment on the New XC90 starts with – 9″ Centre Console Touch Screen, Sensus Navigation – full European mapping with traffic information and lifetime map updates, Volvo On Call function that also acts as an emergency and tracking service, LED Headlights with Active Beam, two zone climate control with ‘CleanZone’ Air Quality System, Power Operated Tailgate with Handsfree Opening, Keyless Entry and Start, Power Drivers Seat, heated front seats, seven seats three second row individual folding seats with fore/aft adjustment and two third-row individual folding seats, City Safety – includes Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection and Front Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, including at junctions and Run-off Road Protection. As you can see that’s just the start. There are also additional option packs you can add in to create even more luxury such as Xenium, Winter and Family.

Space:  inside the cabin is a big plus point for the XC90, it has plenty of room for everyone. Boot space is brilliant and even better with its split folding seats. There is more than enough space in here for your entire family, even with the use of the seven seats, there is still enough room for a few bags etc… not like some seven seat cars I have come across in the past, where you see the third row passengers faces being contorted against the glass in the rear window due to lack of rear seating space.


On the road: the XC90 is comfortable and is agile enough to keep up with the demands of a heavy foot – but to be honest you don’t drive around in a luxury XC90 with your hair on fire – you simply glide. If you do decide to push the car a bit ‘gung ho’ down a smooth country lane or even around some twisty curves you will find it’s actually very smooth with just a hint of body roll here and there.

Hybrid mode: The T8 can be run just on the electric motor alone and by using just this function – it will provide you with an average range of about 24 miles. But, because I’m a petrol head – I used a combination of the two and decided to let the cars computer switch between the 320hp petrol engine which drives the front wheels and the large 87hp single electric motor that drives the rear axle – also, while we are at it – the XC90 is able to generate electricity under braking which will all help in recharging the system to gain a few extra miles.


Power & performance: is a key part of the XC90 T8. Volvo claims a 5.6sec 0-62mph and I would agree with that because it feels immense and when you think about it – that’s Porsche beating territory, also if you own a Ferrari I would think twice about a race from the lights to 60mph. But remember the XC90 comes in at around 2,300kg, so it won’t keep up for long.

If you are a person who only lives 15 miles from where you work – then you could in all possibility effectively run it entirely on electricity alone by charging it from a mains supply – but of course in the UK will are still finding our feet in the new age of Hybrid Technology and finding a charge station when you live in a remote village somewhere in North Wales will be quite difficult.

If I was you – I would opt for the ‘Hybrid’ mode setting as this allows you to use the best of both worlds. (I did for most of the time)

Safety: Well let’s just say it’s a Volvo and it has you covered. No worries here then.

Would I buy one? A big fat YES, but I can’t afford one – but as a man – I really, really, really do want one of my own.

Price: £70,875 as tested, including fitted options
Top speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 5.6sec
Economy: 134.5mpg (combined) emissions g/km (49)
Engine: 1969cc
Power: 320hp at 5,700rpm
Torque: 400 Nm at 2,200rpm – 5,400rpm
Electric Motor Power: 87hp & 240Nm of Torque
Gearbox: Auto (8 Speed)

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