Review: Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV – Thief in The Night

The XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV is a glorious SUV that oozes Scandinavian luxury from every angle. It has always always been one of the very best-looking and safest ways to move your family about in the city or on the open road. With excellent design and build quality, more than 50 variants launched over the past decade, and a variety of modifications and accessories available for it, it’s little wonder why. And the time is nearing for the launch of only the third generation of the XC90 later in 2022. Before then, we’ve had the fortune to sample the XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV finished in Thunder Grey with full leather Charcoal interior.

Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV in Thunder Grey

What is the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV?

I’ve never been able to get my head around the naming conventions of Volvo models we’ve tested here at Thanks to my time with the XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV, I turned to Google to fill me in.

The T5 is turbocharged, while the T6 is twin-charged, meaning that it is both turbocharged and supercharged, and can offer more power. The engine used for the T6 is the exact same engine as the T5 but with the addition of the supercharger. Both engines offer great performance, so it really just depends on your personal preference.

The T8 represents Volvo’s hybrid twin engine technology and is part of the Recharge lineup of models which are PHEV units.

Thanks to Goodwins Volvo in Topsham, Maine for the answer.
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV

So the XC90 T8 RECHARGE PHEV really is the absolute pinnacle of what Volvo can deliver in a proper 7-seater that costs less than $125,000. But that’s just the beginning. This is not just an energy-efficient stunner for taking the kids to school and running about on weekends.

This is a luxuriously appointed “beast” (in the most flattering way!) that in my opinion, will set the benchmark by which all premium SUVs will be measured for many years to come. Embodying a hybrid engine and drivetrain combination capable of moving its 2.1-tonne bulk from zero to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds and on to a top speed – now limited across the entire Volvo range – of 180km/h, whilst releasing just 49g of C02 into the atmosphere with every kilometre travelled. That’s how it’s done in 2022.


Under the bonnet, there’s a silky-smooth 2.0-litre in-line 4-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine that’s capable of producing 246kW of power and 440Nm of torque which in its own right is impressive. To that, by introducing an electric motor and 11.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack into the equation, Volvo sees these impressive numbers rise to 340kW and 709Nm, respectively.

Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV

Best of all the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV triumphs over the PHEV competition from BMW and Land Rover. The XC90 holds more passengers, is faster, more fuel efficient, kinder to the environment, and is quite a bit cheaper. All good signs as the new model approaches.

Critical Specifications

The specification sheet on this XC90 is long and distinguished. Here are the highlights:

  • 8-speed Geartronic; Electrical Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)
  • 22” 5-Double Spoke Black Diamond-cut Alloy wheels (which are stunning!)
  • Air Suspension with Four-C Active Chassis
  • Sensus Connect Premium Sound System by Bowers and Wilkins with 1400W pumping through 19 speakers
  • Apple Car Play and Android Auto via the 9” vertical touch screen centre display
  • USB, AUX and full Smartphone connectivity; Induction Charging for your smartphone and devices;
  • Keyless drive with power tailgate opening; Power child lock, rear side doors; Tempered glass side and rear windows; Electronic engine immobiliser
  • Leather clad remote-control key with Care Key

Volvo Care Key 🔐

I want to write about this innovation from Volvo as a lover of intelligent technology and the parent of two driving children.

Volvo Care Key enables owners to pre-set and lock in the top speed of their car before the driver (i.e the kids) gets behind the wheel. The technology is designed to reduce the risk when handing the keys to relatives who may be less familiar with the car or to younger drivers who are less experienced behind the wheel.

Volvo Care Key

Research conducted by Volvo found that 47% of parents worry about their teenager speeding, while 52% of parents say they would like to be able to control the speed of their teenager’s car. Nearly a fifth (19%) of parents of teenagers also agree that they would rather catch a taxi than get a lift from their teenager.

Volvo Care Key comes as standard on all Volvo cars from model-year 2021, allowing any owner to set a speed limit for themselves, their family members or friends.

The launch of the Care Key follows the Volvo’s decision to limit the top speed on all its new cars to 180km/h from 2020 to send a strong signal about the dangers of speeding.

Bravo Volvo!

Safety Systems 🦺

  • Pedestrian, Vehicle, Large Animals and Cyclist Detection (very handy in the city)
  • Intersection Collision Mitigation and Brake Support
  • Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake (CWAB) including Queue Assist
  • Lane Keeping Aid, Distance Alert, Speed Limiter function
  • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA) and Rear
  • Collision Warning; Emergency Brake Assist (EBA);
  • ISO-FIX outer position rear seat; Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS)
  • Run-off road protection; Hill start assist
  • Park Assist Pilot with Front and Rear Parking Sensors; Rear Parking Camera; Rain Sensor

Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV Performance and Handling

The first thing that you will notice about the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV is that it looks just like the regular one. The car feels very planted on the road while offering plenty of feedback to the driver. The suspension is soft enough to absorb even the busiest city streets and the car’s monster energy recovery brakes can bring the vehicle to a halt jolly fast. Whilst the XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV might not be the most engaging vehicle on the road, it is definitely one of the best when it comes to everyday use.

In EV mode, you can expect to get 25-30kms from a full charge in the city. Out on the open road with a full tank of Premium Unleaded you can expect a range will over 1,000km and fuel consumption south of 5.0L/100km. The 70L fuel tank is a little small. Another 10-15L would make this such an incredible Tourer.

Pros of owning a Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV ❤️

  • Excellent design – This vehicle is a true testament to the Volvo design philosophy, incorporating aesthetic elegance and Scandinavian practicality. The XC90 has always been associated with the highest levels of quality, and the XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV is no exception. The efficient and clean design will always blend in with any environment, while the cabin is as comfortable to sit in as it is spacious enough to accommodate a large family.
  • Reliability – With a 10-year/200,000-mile powertrain warranty, Volvo has proven time and again that its cars are dependable. Even though you will have to pay a premium to get all those features, the odds are that you will get years of reliable service from the XC90 PHEV.
  • A Powerful and efficient hybrid system – The Volvo XC90 PHEV is a plug-in hybrid system that uses a 48V battery and a 2.0L combustion engine. The idea of this concept is to use the combustion engine only when needed and to recharge the battery whenever possible. With this setup, you get excellent fuel economy, a smooth drive, and a low CO2 emissions profile.
  • Sinister Looks in The Dark – One of the greatest joys of the time we spent with the XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV was walking up to it at night. Unlike all the BMWs, Mercs, Land Rovers, and Land Cruisers, the XC90 in this colour combination has a sinister Al Capone vibe about it. Nothing looks better under a street light on a rainy night.
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV

Bottom line

The Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV is one of the best-driving hybrid SUVs available in the market right now. If you are looking for a luxury hybrid SUV that offers excellent fuel economy and driving dynamics, the Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge PHEV is a great option.

About Author
Mike is the Australian editor of with a lifelong passion for cars, technology and engineering. He reviews and writes about all kinds of motoring and tech products for our readers. Follow Mike on Instagram or send him an email:
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