Volvo is a manufacturer known for its superb estate cars, and is also becoming well-regarded for its range of plug-in hybrid models, which are proving increasingly popular.
So by combining them together, you’d be right to think it’s a recipe for a winning formula – something that’s been proven on its V90 T8 hybrid.
And now things are having a bit of a revamp, with Volvo lightly updating its large V90 estate car with full LED rear lighting, new colours and wheels, along with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain. The latter we’ll explain more about shortly, so can these changes improve this Volvo further?
The old T8 plug-in hybrid was always known for its perfect blend of performance and efficiency, though it’s no more on the V90 and is instead replaced by the new T6.
It’s very similar, though, as it continues to use a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (albeit with a bit less power than the T8) and blends it with an electric motor and 11.6kWh battery to produce a combined 335bhp and 590Nm of torque. While lacking the ‘wow’ of the T8 when you put your foot to the floor, it’s still quick – 0-60mph taking only 5.6 seconds. A smooth eight-speed gearbox is also used, while the positioning of the motor on the rear axle means that the T6 comes with all-wheel-drive.
But it’s efficiency that stands out here, with Volvo claiming a 35-mile electric range, which could allow for a fuel economy figure of up to 134.5mpg, and CO2 emissions of 47g/km. The latter figure will be of interest if you’re looking at the V90 as a company car, as it gives it a benefit-in-kind of just 10 per cent.
Ride and handling
Volvos have always stood out when it comes to comfort and refinement, and despite the V90 serving up plenty of performance, it’s at its finest when you treat it like the refined and relaxed cruiser that it is.
Even in the sportier R-Design grade and on our test car’s optional 20-inch alloys, the ride is impressively comfortable, while class-leading refinement meaning the T6 is just as good to drive around town as it is on a motorway. The powertrain itself is also very smooth, and delivers a seamless switch between electric and petrol power.
Interior and equipment
When it comes to quality, the V90’s interior feels equally on par with rivals from Audi and Mercedes, with superb materials used throughout to give it a truly premium feel. The cabin itself hasn’t really changed since the V90 arrived in 2017, though, so while it still gains a touchscreen and digital dials as standard, it perhaps lacks the more modern cabins you’d find in the Audi A6 Avant and Mercedes E-Class Estate.
Elsewhere it ticks all the boxes needed for an estate car – a big and useful boot and loads of rear seat space. With 560 litres of cargo room with the seats up, it’s not quite as big as the one in the Mercedes, though.
All V90s come very well-equipped, with standard kit including LED headlights, keyless start and leather upholstery, though the T6 is only available in sportier R-Design or more luxurious Inscription trims. The former gains a host of black accents and larger wheels, while the latter gains upmarket touches like massaging seats and a crystal gearlever.
This is an upmarket estate car, which means it’s never going to be a bargain, but even with that considered, the T6 is undoubtedly pricey. It starts from £55,305, but our test car cost nearly £10,000 more with every option box ticked.
However, it’s worth considering the amount of car you get for your money, with a punchy yet economical powertrain (providing you keep the battery charged up), a high-quality interior, loads of standard kit and generous amounts of space.
Volvo has more experience than most when it comes to plug-in hybrids, and this knowledge pays dividends when it comes to the V90 T6. It remains a brilliant estate car that’s only even better when you select an electrified setup.
Sure, it comes at a price, but given its potentially low running costs and fact it’s not really much more expensive than a less powerful petrol version, it’s the V90 model to go for.Enquire on a new Volvo V90