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ELECTRIC DREAMS (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Volvo's XC90 showcases cutting edge technology in Recharge T8 plug-in hybrid guise. Jonathan Crouch checks it out in improved form.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 39
Volvo must adapt to survive as an independent car maker. Proof of that has been delivered by this model, now usefully improved, the XC90 Recharge T8 Plug-in hybrid. It's a family-sized luxury seven-seat SUV for a very different world.
Backgroundword count: 123
The second generation XC90 was a car that fans of the brand anticipated impatiently and what we got when it arrived was worth the wait. Absolutely everything about this MK2 model was fundamentally new and engineered to set fresh class standards. Nowhere is this more evident than with the Recharge T8 Plug-in hybrid petrol/electric variant we're going to look at here. Here, you get the potential of supermini-style running costs. On top of that, there's the sort of proper full-sized seven-seat versatility that few rivals can credibly offer and the kind of cool, authentic Scandinavian charm we haven't really seen from a new Volvo in a very long time. It all sounds promising doesn't it? Time to put this car to the test.
Driving Experienceword count: 295
The 'Recharge T8' badging applied to this car denotes its petrol/electric powertrain and plug-in hybrid usability. In fact there are three engines if you're going to be pedantic about it and count the 25bhp starter motor/generator that pitches in from time to time to smooth any gaps in torque delivery between the two main power sources. One of these is the 303hp turbocharged/supercharged petrol unit borrowed from the conventional T6 model that drives the front wheels. In an XC90 T8 though, it's assisted by a separate engine at the back, an 87bhp electric motor powered by a battery pack neatly packaged away in the transmission tunnel. It's all enough to deliver a set of stats that it's rather hard to get your head around. So, 386hp and 62mph from rest in just 5.8s - the kind of storming performance you'd get in this segment from, say, a Porsche Cayenne S - matched with real world fuel and CO2 readings that could potentially equal those of a frugal supermini. That's assuming you select the most performance-orientated of the five driving settings that T8 owners are offered - the 'Power' mode that sees both petrol and electric units permanently working together. Alternatively, there are four other drive choices: a 'Hybrid' setting that sees the two engines cutting in and out as necessary: an 'AWD' mode that gives you permanent 4x4 traction off road: plus a 'Pure electric' setting that only uses the battery power and can take you up to 26 miles (more than most people's daily commuting distance) on a single charge. There's even a 'Save' option so that on a longer trip, you can hold that charge until you get to the city driving you might have to do at the end of the journey.
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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen
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