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Volvo S90 Recharge T8 Plug-In Hybrid AWD (2020 - 2022)

PLUGGING INTO THE NINETIES (some text hidden) --NONE--

By Jonathan Crouch

Introductionword count: 72

Volvo has never really cracked the full-sized executive sector and this S90 model never did so either, but it had its charms, especially in the Recharge T8 Plug-in hybrid AWD form that S90 customers had to have from 2020 onwards. Based on the brand's well established SPA platform architecture and 2.0-litre drivetrain format, this electrified Swedish saloon aims to tempt luxury saloon customers with what Volvo describes as 'elegant and functional' appeal.

Modelsword count: 5

4dr Saloon (2.0 petrol PHEV)

Historyword count: 264

One thing's pretty certain. If you're a typical business buyer looking at a full-sized Executive saloon, you probably won't be considering this one, Volvo's S90. Sales figures suggest that models like the Mercedes E-Class, the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6 are more likely to be on your radar. But sales figures are rarely an accurate indication of excellence. And Volvo says that's what's been delivered here. Other brands have tried and failed to upset German dominance in this sector, Volvo being one of them. The brand certainly wasn't much of a segment player back in the Nineties, when it campaigned with the old 900 Series, an archetypal old fashioned big Volvo, renamed 'S90' in its saloon form just prior to the end of production in 1998. Two subsequent generations of that car's S80 saloon replacement (launched respectively in 1998 and 2006) didn't do much better, but hopes were higher when the 'S90' badge was revived and this current design first appeared in the showrooms in 2016. This, after all, was a Volvo of the new Chinese-owned era, based around the 'SPA' 'Scalable Product Architecture' modular underpinnings the brand these days uses to underpin all its designs, including the 'V90'-badged estate version of this car. That station wagon model's sold steadily, but this saloon derivative has proved to be a rare sight on our roads. So much so that in 2020, Volvo slashed the S90 range back to just one variant, the Recharge T8 Plug-in hybrid AWD version we're going to test here. It sold until the end of 2022 and wasn't replaced.

What You Getword count: 362

This S90 was the most credible full-sized executive saloon Volvo had brought us to date. The design language here was apparently taken from contemporary Scandinavian culture and from most angles, the resulting shape looks elegant and sophisticated. With its short overhangs, long wheelbase and low roofline, there's an air of confidence assurance here, yet also a look that's uniquely Swedish. Step inside an S90 and it'll all be pretty familiar if you're conversant with Volvo's modern design language, though a difference over the brand's SUVs lies with smart air blades that stand vertically on each side of the Sensus centre monitor user interface. The tablet-like 9-inch centre touch screen plays a key role in creating an interior that feels modern, spacious and uncluttered. Changes made to this 2020-onwards-era model were minor - restricted to detail stuff like the availability of an exclusive tailored wool blend for the upholstery for those not wanting the normal leather. You'll glimpse more hi-tech screen technology through the three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, where the binnacle houses a 12.3-inch 'Progressive Driver Display' screen, which can show almost full-width navigation mapping as one of its two customisation options. There's also a head-up display. Given the extra body length that this S90 enjoys over some of its rivals, you'd expect it to feel pretty spacious in the back and, by and large it is, a clever design of front seatback further freeing up leg and knee room for rear seat folk. As is unfortunately quite common on cars in this class, you'll struggle to accommodate three adults over longer distances because of this very prominent centre transmission tunnel. Two folk though, should be very comfortable indeed, and they're provided with a neatly designed central armrest incorporating pop-out twin cup holders. The power-operated boot lid rises to reveal the welcome news that trunk space isn't as restricted by the Plug-in hybrid system's battery as it usually is with PHEVs. The conventionally-engined S90 we tested back in 2016 had 500-litres of capacity; this car has 461-litres. There's a ski hatch so that you can push longer items into the cabin. And if you need more space, there's a power-folding rear seat backrest.

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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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