Should I buy?

Volvo XC90 T8

Launched in 2002, the original Volvo XC90 set high standards for the SUV segment – it was good to drive, had a huge boot even with the 7 seats up and could actually drive on the rough stuff with ease.  So when Volvo launched the second generation in 2015, there was a lot of expectation that it would be better.

Now, as I already have a fast twin turbo diesel , I am no longer in the market for the D5 version and the T5 version is way too expensive to run.  But the new T8 hybrid has my attention – I think it looks good and if it holds up to the claims made by Volvo, it should be quite a car to drive.


The T8 has a 2.0 litre inline 4 cylinder petrol engine that boasts both a turbocharger and a supercharger to deliver 314bhp and 400nM of torque.  By itself, those figures are impressive from a 2.0 litre powerplant, but the T8 also benefits from an 81bhp electric motor that also adds 240nM of torque.  This means we are looking at an SUV that can deliver nearly 400bhp and 640nM, resulting in a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds (faster than my XF 3.0 D S in a massive SUV that weighs so much more).

This means that I’ve potentially found an alternative to the twin-turbo diesel torque curve.  If specified with air suspension, these cars supposedly have sublime handling too.  With a claimed fuel efficiency figure of 134mpg, this is worth a look.  I like the idea of a high driving position and comfortable cruising while also being able to press on when the situation demands.  Coupled with an interior I like and a modicum of offroad ability, and this is a worthy contender on my list.  

Or at least it was until I read up on what could go wrong – see the list below.  Oh well.

What to look out for on an XC90 T8

As per usual, there are a few things to watch out for

  1. Ensure all the electrics are operational
  2. Ensure all the on board systems work – apparently these cars suffer badly from poor quality software.  Each software update fixes some issues but creates new ones …
  3. Ensure that the electric only mode from starting off works – there are reports that this stops working over time
  4. Ensure the hybrid battery charges and operates correctly in the various driving modes 
  5. Look for a full service history as these cars are temperamental when not serviced properly
  6. Check the actual fuel economy – the XC90 gets nowhere near its claimed 134 mpg average but instead achieves something like 35mpg.  My XF does better than that!

Volvo XC90 T8 (2015) – Vital Statistics

Power300 kW (400 bhp) @ 5700rpm
Torque640 Nm (472 lb/ft) @ 5500rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)5.6 seconds
Maximum speed230 km/h (143 mph) 
Fuel consumption (average)1.8 l/100km (134 mpg)
Fuel type, tank capacityPetrol, 50 litres
Weight2394 kg
EngineVolvo VEP4 B4204T28,
Transverse mounting,
Turbocharged, Supercharged,
Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD)
Displacement1969 cc coupled with 9.2 kW Li-ion battery
Cylinders and valvesInline 4, 16v
Transmission8 speed Aisin AW-TG81SC automatic
transmission with paddle shift
DrivetrainAll wheel drive

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