Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Volvo XC90 T8 Test Drive Review
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Volvo XC90 T8 Test Drive Review

Date: 03 March 2016   |   Author:

Category: Large 4x4
Key rival: BMW X5 PHEV
P11D: £60,400
On sale: December 2015

Despite being one of several large plug-in hybrid off-roaders, none can match the Volvo XC90's 49g/km emissions, with the BMW X5 PHEV emitting 77g/km, the Porsche Cayenne S E-hybrid 79g/km and the Mercedes GLE500e 84g/km - meaning 13% BIK for those models compared with 5% for the XC90 T8.

As a result, 40% taxpayers will pay just £101 per month for the XC90 compared with £226 to £281 for German rivals.

It's performance rather than economy that leaves the first impression, however, with the Volvo's combination of powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor catapulting the 4x4 along with Porsche Cayman-matching speed.

The electric motor offers silent progress when the batteries are charged, but transitions between engine and motor could be smoother.

The brake pedal also requires a disconcerting amount of force, and the ride isn't as cushy as you'd expect either, with some bumps in the road making themselves felt in the cabin.

With a vast amount of space front and rear, and well-sculpted seats, the XC90 is very comfortable inside, with plenty of room for three in the middle row of seats. It feels well built too, although the pared-down media system isn't as intuitive to use as rival systems.

The XC90 T8 is expensive to run at 100.7ppm in base Momentum form. The X5 PHEV SE, in contrast, costs 89.0ppm, partly thanks to 5.5% higher residual values, while the hybrid Lexus RX450h SE is 89.1ppm. PHEV models from Merc and Porsche, however, both top 112ppm.

The XC90 T8 offers no performance or practicality compromises, while undercutting several PHEV rivals and offering huge BIK savings over only slightly cheaper diesels. However, in our test, economy started at around 75mpg with a full battery and fell to 35mpg after the battery's charge depleted - which doesn't take long considering the claimed 27-mile electric range.

Regardless, the XC90 is appealing for users who want a hefty 4x4 without the associated tax bills. The BMW X5 PHEV does make it seem pricey, however.

Volvo XC90 T8 Momentum

Model price range £46,250-£64,205
Residual value 34.5%
Depreciation £39,575
Fuel £2068
Service, maintenance and repair £3272
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £1750
Cost per mile 100.7p
Fuel consumption 134.5mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 49g/km (5%)
BIK 20/40% per month £50/£101
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 262/1816 litres
Engine size/power 1969cc/320hp +87hp electric
*excl. £2500 Govt. Plug-in Car Grant


High monthly costs are masked by rock-bottom BIK charges and a plush cabin
  • Zero emissions capability, low tax
  • Huge power and comfortable interior
  • Ride could be smoother for a luxury vehicle
  • Highly variable economy