The quintessential Swedish wagon is back with a sophisticated hybrid powertrain, but how does it measure up?
The Volvo V90 T8 Twin Engine certainly brings its A-game, and attention should naturally focus around the powertrain. It’s a similar set-up to that seen in the T8 XC90 SUV. A four-cylinder petrol engine drives the front axle while an electric motor drives the rear. Between those two power sources is a 10.4kWh battery pack, and 8-speed transmission comes fitted as standard.
So, what’s good about performance?
- The battery pack can be topped up in just two and a half hours.
- You’ll make zero to 62 mph in a relatively zesty 4.8 seconds for a top-track-speed of 155mph – that’s about the same as a V8-engined B7 Audi RS4.
- CO2 emissions come in at just 46g/km, so you’ll pay no tax for your first year of ownership.
- Combined fuel economy is a more than generous 141.2 mpg.
- Electric range is a reasonable 28 miles.
- Electric power persists all the way up to 78mph.
- Four-wheel drive mode is available for excellent low-speed traction and all-weather, all-terrain peace of mind.
Those are some pretty compelling pros, but they’re accompanied by a few drawbacks:
- Four-wheel drive isn’t always well managed thanks to the vehicle’s two-tonne-plus heft. Body roll is noticeable.
- Brakes feel a little spongy thanks to regenerative braking technology.
- The engine sounds a little flat when pushed.
Overall, these slight quibbles shouldn’t give you pause for thought unless you’re into more performance-focused driving.
Perhaps the biggest drawback is price – options add up, with adaptive damping with rear air suspension coming in at £1500 and the Bowers & Wilkins sound system demanding £3000. That said, the cabin is comfy, and the battery pack is shrewdly placed along the middle of the vehicle, so it doesn’t take up any boot space. Clever Scandinavian design apparently applies to vehicles as well as flatpacks.
Finally, keep in mind that you really don’t have many other options. With Mercedes yet to apply the 350e powertrain to their E-Class Estate and BMW seemingly in no mood to make a Touring version of its 530e, the large luxury estate hybrid isn’t exactly a segment thriving with competition. Even the promised Audi A6 Avant e-tron remains relegated to a very distant horizon. The Volvo V90 T8 Twin Engine isn’t just a great option thanks to a lack of rivals, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.