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Volvo EX90 Electric SUV Reveal

The 2024 Volvo EX90 is the company’s vision of a large family SUV in the electric age. Pricing will start at around $80,000.

The 2024 Volvo EX90 is the company’s vision of a large family SUV in the electric age. A home energy management system features a bi-directional wall box to power a home.

The 2024 Volvo EX90 is the company’s vision of a large family SUV in the electric age. A home energy management system features a bi-directional wall box to power a home. (Photos courtesy of Volvo Cars USA)


Volvo revealed its battery-electric EX90 SUV Nov. 9, 2022, in downtown Stockholm. The much-anticipated seven-seat SUV represents the start of a new era for Volvo as a carmaker of battery-electric vehicles.

Volvo has only one other battery-electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge. However, the company plans to offer only battery-electric vehicles by 2030 and expects to be carbon-neutral by 2040. The Sweden-based carmaker is now owned by Geely Automobile, a major automotive brand based in China

Though the EX90 debuted in Sweden, U.S. models will be built in Charleston (Ridgeville), S.C., beginning next year.

Volvo CEO Jim Rowan said, “The Volvo EX90 is a statement for where we are, and where we are going. It’s fully electric with a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge, designed to further raise our safety standards, the first Volvo car to be truly defined by its software and part of a wider ecosystem, connecting to your home and your other devices. The Volvo EX90 is the start of something new for Volvo Cars in many ways.”

Rowan also said that EX90 would be sold online or by going to a retailer. “You decide how you access it,” he said, “whether that is through outright ownership, by subscribing to it, or by leasing it. Whatever works for you.”

Front seats with the large vertical infotainment screen

Interior materials are made of recycled plastics and bio-materials that Volvo calls Nordico. The 14.5-inch vertical center screen has Google built-in for apps and services.

Battery-Electric Powertrain

The powertrain at launch will be a twin-motor all-wheel drive version. It is powered by a 111kWh lithium-ion battery and two permanent magnet electric motors. Total power is up 496 horsepower and 671 foot-pounds of torque, though a lower horsepower version will be available.

The frunk, or front trunk

Charging cable storage in the “frunk.”

Volvo says that the battery pack can be charged from 10 percent to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. However, the release did not mention which level of pubic charger could supply that charge rate, whether 150kW, 250kW, or 350kW, or if that charge rate requires a Level 3 DC fast charger, which is hard to find.

Also advantageous is bi-directional charging. The battery pack in the Volvo EX90 can be tapped as an extra energy supply, such as to power a home, other electric devices, or another electric Volvo. The company says that bi-directional charging will be available in the future and in select markets.

A side view of the ex90 connected to a battery charger.

The 111kWh lithium-ion battery pack can be charged from 10 percent to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.

EX90 Safety Technologies

The Volvo EX90 is the smartest and safest vehicle the company has ever made. And it can get smarter and safer over time as it learns from new data and receives over-the-air updates.

The company says that the latest network of Volvo’s sensing technologies creates an invisible shield of safety. Cameras, radars, and lidar function through high-performance core

Thor's Hammer headlight design.

“Thor’s Hammer” lighting.

computers. NVIDIA DRIVE runs Volvo Cars’ in-house software to create a real-time, 360-degree view of the world.

The lidar system, by Luminar, can sense the road ahead, whether day or night, and at highway speeds, Volvo says. The system can see small objects hundreds of yards ahead, which gives more time to inform, act and avoid. Volvo’s Pilot Assist driving function has been improved with a new steering assist while changing lanes.

Unsupervised Driving

Volvo says the EX90 is hardware-ready for unsupervised driving in the future.

Inside, special sensors and cameras track eye-gaze concentration. The technology can determine when the driver is distracted, drowsy, or inattentive. And if that fails and there is a collision, the Volvo EX90 is designed to safely stop and call for help.

San Diego-based Qualcomm Technologies’ Snapdragon Cockpit Platforms runs most of the core interior functions, from safety and infotainment to battery management.

A 14.5-inch vertical center screen has Google built-in for apps and services, including hands-free help from Google Assistant and Google Maps. And the Volvo EX90 will also be compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay.

Digital phone key technology will function as the car key through a smartphone app.

The second row back seat area

New interior radar developed by Volvo is sensitive enough to detect the tiniest movements at the sub-millimeter scale — such as those of a sleeping toddler. The radar feature covers the entire interior of the car, including the trunk.

Volvo EX90 Preordering Now

Pricing for the 2024 Volvo EX90 will start at around $80,000. Vehicles can be preordered in the U.S. with a $500 deposit. Get the details at Customers placing preorders will be asked to configure their cars in the fall of 2023 and will receive prioritization when deliveries begin in early 2024.

Other information and full specifications will be available closer to the on-sale date.

The EX90 cargo space with the tailgate raised

Flexible cargo capacity.

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Volvo XC40 Recharge Review

The XC40 Recharge is the best of Volvo’s past and the brightest from Volvo’s future, the company says

The 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge small SUV.

The 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge is sold in two trim levels of Plus and Ultimate with permanent all-wheel drive. Pricing starts at $56,395. (Volvo Cars photos)

Table of Contents

Rebates and Incentives
Electric Power
Safety Features
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
The Good, the Bad, and the Awkward
Why Buy the Volvo XC40 Recharge?


To look at the Volvo XC40 Recharge, you might not see a 402-horsepower all-wheel-drive electric SUV. But at 4.7 seconds to 60 mph, it is a new-age muscle car with Swedish politeness. The XC40 Recharge is quicker to 60 than most of its EV colleagues — and even a few gasoline-powered muscle cars.

Volvo says the XC40 Recharge will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds.

But with quickness comes compromise. Despite Volvo’s posted driving range of 233 miles, the XC40’s two 201-hp electric motors suck the juice at a concerning rate. Along the way, however, the XC40 Recharge is a real charmer — at a price.

Welcome to Volvoland. Things here are not always as they seem.

Interior design is minimalist.

XC40 Recharge Overview

The XC40 Recharge is Volvo’s first battery-electric vehicle. It debuted in 2020 as “the future of Volvo Cars,” and it is the company’s most decisive step to date on its drive toward being “climate neutral” by 2040.

“Rather than just building and selling premium cars, we will provide our customers with the freedom to move in a personal, sustainable and safe way,” Volvo Car Group CEO Håkan Samuelsson said in the press kit.

Volvo C40 Recharge EV

The Volvo C40 Recharge.

Joining Volvo’s campaign to all-out electrification is the just-released 2022 C40 Recharge. It is a sport-roof variant of the XC40 and has a one-trim-level comprehensive starting price of $59,845. Its battery powertrain and driving range are the same as the XC40 Recharge.

Driver area of the XC40

Headroom is surprisingly accommodating for tall drivers.

Swedish Unique

Volvo’s XC40 began life as a 2019 model with a turbocharged four-cylinder gas-powered engine. When I tested that version, its interior gave the impression of an electric vehicle — lean and open with reconfigured space. Most obvious was the open door-panel storage. The audio speakers were moved from the lower door panels to create voluminous storage space.

The XC40 Recharge slips into those same shoes, with its own innovations. My first excursion behind the wheel was an awakening. There is no ignition button. The driver’s weight on the seat starts the car. Just buckle up and go. To turn off the car, just step out and lock the door.

And there is no physical parking brake. It engages automatically when parked and releases on driveaway.

This utterly new procedure seemed odd and more of a gimmick than an enhancement. But after a few days’ experience, it seemed a smart bypass to get me on the move a few seconds quicker.

Volvo design applies some of the more thoughtful features in a vehicle. One example is the little wastebasket in the front center armrest console. It is so much classier than wadding up papers and stuffing them into a cup holder, or door panel. And then there are the jacket hooks built onto the B-pillars, or the folding hook on the glove compartment door to hold take-out bags.

Volvo claims to be the first major automaker to bring Google Services into the car, which Volvo says is a paradigm shift in the way people interact with their vehicles. It is a suite of Google Maps, Google Voice, Google Assistant, and Google Play Store.

XC40 Panoramic roof

The panoramic moonroof is a standard feature.

XC40 Recharge Pricing

The XC40 Recharge is sold in two trim levels of Plus and Ultimate with permanent all-wheel drive. The Plus starts at $56,395, including the $1,095 freight charge from Ghent, Belgium. The Ultimate, today’s tester, is a $2,850 package. Included with the MSRP are 250kW of DC Fast Charging and a year’s subscription to discounted energy with Electrify America.

Both models are luxury class in standard equipment and include such features as keyless entry with push-button ignition, Nubuck and fabric upholstery, heated front seats, front seat cushion extenders, high-performance audio system with Bluetooth phone and audio, smartphone charging, and a laminated panoramic moonroof.

Features in the Ultimate package include keyless entry and keyless drive; a heat pump for cabin heating (rather than electric heating); 360-degree surround-view camera; Harmon Kardon audio system; removable and folding cargo floor; a power tailgate; power front passenger seat; headlight pressure washing and heated washer nozzles; Pilot Assist driver-assistance system; adaptive cruise control; heated rear seats; and 20-inch black-diamond cut alloy wheels

The new-vehicle warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles with roadside assistance. And there is free factory scheduled maintenance and wear coverage for the first 4 years or 40,000 miles. Among the wear items are brake rotors and brake pads (as needed), and, front and rear wiper blades.

Charging cable storage in the front trunk.

Charging cable storage in the front trunk.

Rebates and Incentives

Easing some sticker shock of the XC40 Recharge is a still-available $7,500 federal tax credit. And there also might be regional rebates, such as the Clean Fuel Reward of $750, presented by the California Air Resources Board.

Also available for low- and moderate-income residents in San Diego County is the MAAC Electric Vehicle Access Program (Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee). Interested buyers can apply for incentives and rebates of up to $11,000 to lower the purchase price of pre-owned and new EVs, including plug-in hybrids.

In addition, a $1,000 point-of-sale rebate is available from San Diego Gas & Electric to teachers and first responders in San Diego County.

XC40 Recharge Electric Power

Powered by two 201 horsepower electric motors, the XC40 Recharge has a total system output of 402 horsepower. And the robust 486 foot-pounds of torque are instantly available. As with most all-wheel-drive electric vehicles, one motor powers the front wheels, and the other drives the rear. The motors, controller, and battery are liquid-cooled.

The 78 kWh lithium battery pack, of which 75 kWh is usable, is EPA-rated for a driving range of 223 miles. But that range is when the battery is charged to 100 percent, which Volvo does not recommend. To prolong battery life, Volvo recommends charging to 90 percent, which translates to a driving range of around 190 miles. But that range will vary with the terrain or driver enthusiasm.

Comprised of 78 modules of 12 cells each in three parallel stacks, lithium battery pack is integrated into the floor and what was the exhaust-AWD tube). The modules are individually repairable, Volvo says. And the battery pack is protected by an extruded aluminum safety cage.

Volvo XC40 Recharge driveline.

A second view of the skateboard battery showing the seats.

What Is a Heat Pump?

The entry-level Volvo XC40 Recharge has an electric cabin heater, but the Ultimate model gets a heat pump. The difference might be a bit more range with the heat pump, which does not draw electrical power from the battery pack.

EVs don’t produce much heat and require special heating systems. Heat pumps prevent excess heat created by an EV’s battery and drivetrain from going to waste. They absorb the excess heat generated by the EV‘s battery and drivetrain to improve the car‘s efficiency, range, and driving experience.

The heat pump functions somewhat like an air conditioner in reverse. This means that the EV doesn’t need to use its battery to power a traditional resistive or electric heater, to warm the cabin. The heat pump helps maintain optimal battery temperature, and thereby real-world range.

Unfortunately, whatever energy conservation is provided by the heat pump, its savings are not reflected in EPA testing.

XC40 Recharge Fuel Economy

For electric vehicles, the EPA includes a miles-per-gallon equivalent or MPGe. The XC40 Recharge is rated for 85 MPGe combined, 92 MPGe city, and 79 MPGe highway. That compares to the gas-powered, front-wheel drive XC40 at 26 mpg combined, 23 city, and 32 mpg highway on the recommended regular fuel. The XC40 AWD has ratings of 25/22/30 mpg, on the recommended premium fuel.

XC40 Recharge Performance

The quickness of the XC40 Recharge is easy to control with the so-called one-pedal driving. The electronic function integrates regenerative braking and electric motors. Just by lifting the gas pedal, the driver can slow the car to a stop without using the brake pedal. It can even hold the car on an incline.

Or, the system can be switched off for traditional driving. In this mode, there is greater benefit from the car’s rolling kinetic energy when driving at higher speeds on a highway, Volvo says. And this setting allows the “creep” function, as when the car starts to roll forward when the brake pedal is released.

The AWD setup of the XC40 Recharge is rear-wheel biased. During acceleration, more torque goes to the rear for traction. And when decelerating, the front wheels recapture more energy.

LED lighting with Thor’s Hammer detail

LED lighting with Thor’s Hammer detail.

XC40 Recharge Ride and Handling

With a minimum curb weight of 4,741 pounds, the XC40 Recharge feels heavy on takeoff but lightens as it gets rolling. From about 30 mph, torque is the driver’s friend. Mash the pedal to impress friends with the potent acceleration. And the quickness is sharp at 50-70 mph on the highway when defending your space.

The XC40 Recharge is not sporty to drive, but it is comfortably sprung. It can be a clunky ride, too. Managing the curb weight of a short (174.1 inches) and tall (65 inches) vehicle challenges the suspension of front MacPherson struts and a multi-link rear. And it has a lot of highway noise in the cabin.

The electric steering has adjustable steering weight, but the standard “firm” setting felt light to me. But the car’s rather long wheelbase of 106.4 inches and the Ultimate’s 20-inch tires created a wide turning circle, which Volvo says is 37.4 ft with 19-inch tires.

Four-wheel-disc brakes of 13.6-inch front rotors and 13.4-inch rotors rear are large for a small SUV but necessary to ensure braking force for the 2,000-pound tow capacity.

XC40 tire and wheel

The Ultimate package adds 20-inch Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires.

Charging the XC40 Recharge

Volvo’s XC40 Recharge uses the CCS charging standard, which consists of a combined AC and DC inlet port. The top portion of the inlet is for the Type 2 connector for charging at home or public stations.

Both sockets are used when using rapid DC charging from a CCS connector.

The XC40 Recharge has an 11 kW onboard charger that can be used with a standard household 110-volt outlet. Charging on 110 is slow, like filling a swimming pool through a drinking straw. Newer homes with 220-volt circuits can provide about 4 to 8 miles of range per hour.

An 11kW AC wall box or public charging point will provide about 31-37 miles of range per hour.

A DC fast-charging station will provide between 19 and 62 miles of range in 10 minutes, depending on wattage. Charging from zero to 80 percent at a 150kW DC fast charging station will take approximately 40 minutes, Volvo says. But those are not easy to find.

Public Charging

I charged at two 50kW public charging stations, Blink (Level 2) and EV Go.

The Blink charger, which is swipe-a-credit-card easy, gave a 4 percent charge in 47 minutes for a cost of $3.54. A day later I visited an EV Go fast charger, which boosted the battery reserve from 83 percent to 90 percent in 11 minutes for a cost of $6.77. But the EV Go chargers, six of them in a parking garage, were filthy and the hoses were gritty and grimy.

That poor upkeep would be motivation for me to buy a home charger. A ChargePoint Home Flex charger starts at about $700, not including installation. The 240-volt charger is nine times faster than a normal wall outlet, Volvo says.

A U.S. federal tax credit might be available, too, which covers 30 percent of the costs of a home charger and installation (up to $1,000). Check to see if you can combine this credit with other incentives in your area. Learn more here.

Charge port on the XC40

The XC40 Recharge has a combined charging socket for AC and DC.

XC40 Recharge Safety Features

Standard XC40 safety features and technologies include seven air bags, low- and high-speed collision mitigation (which detects vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists), automatic braking after a collision, run-off-road protection and run-off-road mitigation, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist.

And when electronic updates are required, the XC40 Recharge can receive over-the-air updates. As with smartphone OS updates, the user can schedule the update or let it occur automatically.

The XC40 Recharge is also the first Volvo model equipped with the new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems sensor platform. The system combines cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors. And those software systems can be updated for future autonomous-driving technologies.

XC40 Recharge Interior Function

Volvo does good design engineering to make a subcompact cabin feel larger than it is — at least for those in the front seats.

Cabin design is a minimalist presentation. Most cabin controls are accessed on the large, vertical touchscreen, or steering wheel controls. Frequently used climate controls settings are conveniently accessed on a strip just below the touchscreen. And there are separate audio volume and tuning knobs.

Opening and closing the pano roof is by a touch-sensitive switch.

The leather-free Nubuck upholstery looks like leather and is supple and attractive. Interior plastics are generally pleasing in appearance and their graining, but not completely for a $60,000 car.

Front headroom of 37.6 inches with the panoramic roof is somehow surprisingly accommodating for taller drivers. And the seats, with seat-bottom tilt, provide all-day support for butt and thighs, with a seat-cushion extender on the Ultimate.

Sightlines are open over the hood and fenders, but less so over the shoulder with the upswept rear door skins. Saving the day for parking visibility is the 360-degree camera in the Ultimate, which helps navigate tight spaces, and it includes a curb view.

Cargo space in the XC40

Square cargo space of 20.4 cubic feet. (Mark Maynard photo)

XC40 Recharge Back Seat and Cargo

The back seats are where the XC40 Recharge feels subcompact. Rear headroom is good at 38.3 inches, but legroom of 36.1 inches is cramped with a tall driver in the front seat. The seat bottoms are very short (to help legroom).

The center tunnel for battery storage takes from the precious three-across foot room. And shoulder room is impacted by the bench that is inset a few inches from the doors. That’s a benefit for side-impact protection, but the whole back seat area feels downsized.

Conveniences include a fold-down center armrest and charging USBs.

Cargo space is flip-and-fold functional with the folding back seat and folding cargo floor, which is useful to corral grocery bags. Fold the seatback for almost 5 feet of length, with 29.4 inches floor to headliner.

Fold the back seat for about 5 feet of length.

The Good, the Bad, and the Awkward

There is still much resistance to those uninitiated to the intangible pleasures of driving a battery-electric vehicle. Among the big impediments are the driving range that is less than in a gas-powered vehicle and battery manufacturing that is bad for the environment.

“I couldn’t live with less than 300 miles,” a businesswoman said to me when asking about the XC40 Recharge. And she followed up with: “And EV batteries are so bad for the environment.”

All vehicle manufacturing creates emissions and waste. But it is less invasive for electrics, which concentrate the effects of pollution in a central location, which aids in clean up. And the energy is not being trucked to a network of fuel stations.

In the manufacturing process, electric vehicles will produce more global warming emissions than the average gasoline vehicle, because electric cars’ large lithium-ion batteries require a lot of materials and energy to build. (For example, manufacturing a midsized electric car with an 84-mile range, results in 15 percent more emissions.)

However, once the vehicles get on the road, it’s a whole different energy story, according to

Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Electric vehicles make up for their higher manufacturing emissions within, at most, 18 months of driving — and continue to outperform gasoline cars until the end of their lives

An electric car on average has the same greenhouse-gas emissions as a car getting 88 miles per gallon. And that is far greater than the average new gasoline-powered car (31 mpg) or truck (21 mpg), according to analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

And there are major concerns with sourcing the minerals. Mining is a destructive industry, long responsible for human rights abuses and environmental devastation, according to  And lithium, cobalt, and nickel are key elements used to make the lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles,

Battery Recycling

End-of-life battery recycling is limited but gaining attention. Ford Motor Co. and Volvo Cars are the first automakers to directly support a program to recycle EV batteries.

The automakers are working with Nevada-based Redwood Materials. The company recycles batteries, electronics, and other end-of-life products “with environmentally sound processing and refining technologies to produce key elements for circular supply chains,” according to its website.

According to the release, the program will begin in California and will accept all lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries in the state.

Why Buy the Volvo XC40 Recharge?

Driving range becomes very manageable because your vehicle can always be topped off at home. Power companies offer reduced rates for off-peak charging. And a driver who has solar panels at home will reap additional savings.

The XC40 Recharge is very convincing to go electric. But the buyer would have to be very committed to Volvo to buy or lease a $60,000 small SUV.

In time, sitting on 15 gallons of flammable gasoline will seem ludicrous.

A rear view of the Volvo XC40 Recharge small SUV

Welcome to Volvoland.

Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate Specifications

Body style: compact, 5-seat, 5-door battery-electric AWD SUV crossover

Motors: Two water-cooled 150kW permanent magnet synchronic electric motors; 402 total horsepower; each motor is fed by one of two 500A inverters, to convert DC current from the battery to AC current for the motor; 486 lb.-ft. torque from 0 to 4,350 rpm

Battery: 78kWh (or 75kWh usable) lithium-ion (liquid-cooled)

Transmission: 1-speed automatic

0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds; 112 mph top speed

Driving range: up to 223 miles at 100 percent charge; or about 200 miles on the recommended 90 percent charge to help preserve battery life

Charging times

DC 50-150kW: 40 minutes, to 80 percent

Household plug: 34 hours

Home 240-volt: 7-10 hours


Max trailer weight: 2,000 pounds

Cargo space: 16-31.5 cubic feet

Front trunk space: 1 cubic foot

Front head/leg room: 37.6/40.9 inches

Rear head/leg room: 38.3/36.1 inches

Length/wheelbase: 174.1/106.4 inches

Curb weight: 4,741 lbs.

Turning circle: 37.4 ft.


Standard equipment includes: keyless entry with push-button ignition, Nubuck textile upholstery, heated front seats, front seat cushion extenders, high-performance audio system with Bluetooth phone and audio, rear park assist camera, charcoal headliner, inductive smartphone charging, laminated panoramic moonroof with power sunshade, 12-inch driver gauge display (w/2 appearance modes), 9-inch center infotainment display, 360-degree camera system, LED exterior lighting, 4-year subscription to Google Automotive Services, Google Maps, and Google Play, tinted side and rear glass

Ultimate equipment: heat pump for cabin heating, 360-degree surround-view camera, Harmon Kardon premium audio system removable and folding cargo load floor, keyless entry and keyless drive, power tailgate, Homelink controls, front and rear park assist, power passenger seat, headlight pressure washing and heated washer nozzles, Pilot Assist driver-assistance system, adaptive cruise control, heated rear seats, 20-inch black-diamond cut alloy wheels

Safety features include: 7 air bags, low- and high-speed collision mitigation (detects vehicles and pedestrian/cyclists), automatic braking after collision, run-off-road protection and run-off-road mitigation, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, road-sign information,


Base price: $59,245, including $1,095 freight charge; price as tested $60,090

Options on test vehicle: Thunder Grey metallic paint $695; heated steering wheel $150

Where assembled: Ghent, Belgium

Warranty: 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper with roadside assistance; free factory scheduled maintenance and wear coverage for the first 4 years or 40,000 miles; 8-years/100,000-miles limited drive battery coverage (or 10-years/150,000-miles in California)

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2022 Volvo XC60 B6 AWD R-Design Review

The Volvo XC60 SUV has polite manners and efficient engine technology, but its purity of Volvoness separates this SUV from the competition

An exterior view of a white Volvo XC60 SUV crossover.

The Volvo XC60 SUV has had a few exterior updates for 2022 and some significant advanced technology additions, such as CleanZone air filtration. (Photos courtesy of Volvo unless otherwise credited.)

Table of Contents

Volvo XC60 Overview
New for 2022
2 New Engines
Volvo Vehicle Warranty
Performance and Fuel Economy
Pilot Assist
Ride and Handling
Safety Features
CleanZone Air Filtration
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
Why buy the Volvo XC60 B6?


The Crystal White metallic paint of the 2022 Volvo XC60 tester is a popular conversation starter. The handsomely styled XC60 prompted comments of praise by several female passers-by as it sat parked in my driveway. It is an approachable and tastefully styled midsize SUV crossover.

Volvo says the XC60 was not designed to look down on others but to drive. In some ways, it is the missing link that merges a car with an SUV for uncompromising Scandinavian design. This five-seat SUV crossover has polite manners, efficient engine technology, and family function. But its allure is more than function and style; it is its purity of Volvoness that resonates.

The front seats of the XC60

The 10-way power seats are gently contoured and supportive for the long haul.

Volvo XC60 Overview

The first-generation XC60 for North America debuted in 2010, and it has continued as Volvo’s top-selling model — around the world. The second-gen debuted for 2018 and was made 1.8 inches longer and about the same width, but with a roofline that is 2.1 inches lower. In addition, the wheelbase lengthened by 3.6 inches, now at 112.8 inches.

The freshened 2022 model builds on that midsize footprint and adds a few significant updates. While the exterior changes for 2022 are subtle, Volvo’s attention to detail and some unique extras reinforce ownership.

The gas-engine XC60 models now have “mild hybrid” engines helping Volvo reach its goal of total electrification by 2030. By then, the company intends to sell only fully electric cars and phase out any vehicle in its global portfolio with an internal combustion engine, including hybrids.

And a unique addition is Volvo’s CleanZone air filtration system. The system can stop up to 95 percent of pollutants from entering the passenger compartment.

An overhead view from the multiview camera

The 360-degree surround view camera system includes overhead.

New for 2022

Highlights of the 2022 changes include:

  • Updated grille with updated and heated logo (for a clear Pilot Assist camera in all weather conditions);
  • Restyled front fascia with stronger horizontal lines in the lower fascia and a restyled rear fascia with hidden tailpipes;
  • New wheel designs and some new paint colors, including Silver Dawn Metallic;
  • Next-generation Android infotainment system integrated with Google. Included are Google Assistant with natural voice recognition, Google Maps with real-time traffic information, Google Play Store for media apps, and Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity.
  • Over-the-air software updates using the Volvo Cars app for such areas as propulsion systems, new features, bug fixes, and infotainment enhancements. In addition, Volvo says drivers of the pure electric XC40 Recharge should see an improved driving range. Its Range App will help maximize battery usage and give cold weather warnings for optimal battery performance.

Other XC60 infotainment features include 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot, USB input, Google keyboard, and full Apple iPhone compatibility

The engine bay of the XC60

The 295-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder B6 engine is turbocharged and supercharged.

2 New Gas Engines

The Volvo XC60 is sold in gas-powered or gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid models.

Two new 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines debut mild hybrid electrification through a new 48-volt system. The system combines a 13-hp ISG or Integrated Starter Generator.

The ISG is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it provides a silent, fast and refined start/stop function, Volvo says. And it facilitates the engines’ idle stop-start operation and gives a torque boost at low speed.

What were engine designations of T5 and T6 are now B5 and B6. As before, the B5 engine is turbocharged, and the B6 is turbocharged and supercharged. The B5 has 247 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque from 1,800 to 4,800 rpm.

The 295-hp B6 engine gets a new electric supercharger, or e-Charger, which replaces a mechanical supercharger. The e-Charger is quieter and provides enhanced engine response, Volvo says.

In addition, the B5 and the B6 now have electronic shifting and braking “by wire.” The latter allows brake energy to be banked and used to boost overall efficiency and fuel economy.

Volvo’s thoughtful engineering includes one of the most orderly engine bays I’ve seen. The engine shows off with a large, black plastic shroud and the secondary hood release is easy to find. Dual struts easily raise the hood to a near-vertical position.

The midsize Volvo SUV's back seats.

Back seat space has adult-class legroom of 38 inches.

Volvo XC60 Pricing

The gas XC60 is sold three trim levels of Momentum, Inscription, and R-Design. All models have a choice of B5 or B6 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines and Volvo’s eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.

Front-wheel drive is the standard drive layout with the optional advanced AWD system. (The AWD system has “instant on,” with little chance for the wheels to begin slipping on startup.)

Starting MSRPs range from $43,745 to $51,245 to $49,895. Today’s tester is the XC60 B6 AWD R-Design that was $65,890. Pricing includes the $1,095 freight charge from Gothenburg, Sweden.

The price difference between the B5 engine and the B6 is about $6,500. AWD adds $2,300.

The plug-in hybrid XC60 Recharge is sold in three 400-horsepower trim levels with starting prices ranging from $55,345 for the Inscription to $61,495 for the R-Design and up to $70,595 for the 415 hp XC60 Polestar T8 eAWD. The hybrid system allows about 19 miles of electric driving before switching to the 2.0-liter gas engine.

Check here for current pricing and incentives.

Volvo New Vehicle Warranty

The Volvo warranty package is for four years or 50,000 miles with roadside assistance and free scheduled maintenance for 3-years/36,000-miles. Also unique is that Volvo pays for four years of Google Assistant and Google Maps with its ever-helpful road sign information.

A seats folded view of the cargo area

Cargo space is wide and square.

Underfloor storage of the cargo area.

The 48-volt lithium-ion battery is in the upper left corner below the cargo floor. (Mark Maynard photo)

XC60 B6 Performance and Fuel Economy

Dual “charging” of the B6 engine gets the most out of its 2.0-liter engine. But moving away from a stop can seem sluggish — the tester weighs 4,238 pounds — until the e-supercharger kicks in. Then, the turbocharger carries the power into the higher rpms.

Once moving, the acceleration is responsive at all speeds. The eight-speed automatic gives easy downshifts, though timed to maximize fuel economy.

Dial up Sport mode and the performance attitude sharpens, but it is not hell-bent. I used the Sport mode in traffic to keep the power on point and then dialed back to Comfort on the open road for more fuel economy.

Fuel economy estimates for the B6 AWD are 21 mpg city, 27 highway and 24 mpg combined, on the recommended premium. I was averaging 23.4 to 24 mpg. Front-drive models have mileage ratings of 23/30/26 mpg. And the 18.8-gallon tank gives a substantial cruising range.

The electric steering has smooth rotation with adequate road feedback. In addition, the level of steering-wheel resistance can be made lighter or heavier by accessing the drive mode categories through the touchscreen. The turning circle is tight at 37.4 feet — an engineering accomplishment with all-wheel drive, the long wheelbase and 21-inch Pirelli Scorpion tires (an R-Design upgrade).

XC60 Pilot Assist

The Pilot Assist (part of the $2,050 Advanced package) is a suite of driver-assist systems for hands-on-the-wheel semi-autonomous driving. The assist system works on highways and at speeds up to 80 mph, and does not require a car in front to follow. The system will steer, accelerate and brake as needed.

The guidance calibrations work well enough, but the vehicle still crossed over the white line a few times and then gave me loud tones as a warning (as if I did something wrong). That’s why the driver must always stay vigilant and keep hands on the steering wheel. Pilot Assist is best used on major highways in stop-and-go commuter traffic.

These systems can also be prone to shutoff in low-light or shadowy conditions (such as under a highway overpass) and low sunlight into the camera, such as sunset. I’ve also experienced assist cancellations when traveling alongside a white semi-trailer. And California’s light gray concrete can confuse when the white lines are faded or disrupted.

XC60 R-Design Ride and Handling

Among the significant options on the tester was the four-corner air suspension, a stand-alone extra at $1,800. Volvo’s active chassis maintains ride height automatically and adapts each shock absorber to current road and driving conditions.

The suspension gently yields when stepping over speed bumps or along sections of broken road. Power hard into a corner and the nose follows the trajectory with a flat attitude and no unwieldy suspension rebound. But under light load on lumpy or crumbling road surfaces, the air suspension gets busy trying to balance the heaves and unevenness.

At higher speeds, the air suspension lowers the vehicle automatically to reduce drag and enhance stability. In addition, an Off-Road mode increases ground clearance. And loading or unloading cargo or tailgating, the cargo height can be lowered by 3 inches by pushing a button inside the load area.

The cabin is well soundproofed and the big Pirellis are a delicious upgrade for quiet rolling and supple grip. Braking is absolute and without grab or dive from 12.7-inch front discs, 11.9-inch rear.

XC60 Safety Features

Volvo is a safety champion, but I’m still not a supporter of the iPadlike touchscreen. The vertical screen in the center of the instrument panel is used to access just about everything, although there is a knob for audio volume. But making adjustments to temperature, fan speed, or seat heaters is a two-touch process, which usually takes eyes from the road.

However, the XC60 has an arsenal of other safety features, including City Safety. The collision avoidance system recognizes pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals. It also adds lane-keep assist and oncoming lane mitigation, which will take over steering if needed to avoid a head-on or front-corner impact.

Other standard safety features include six air bags, blind-spot warning, and cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping steering assist, oncoming lane mitigation (with steering assist), and hill-descent control.

The 9-inch touchscreen in the Volvo instrument panel

Hey Google!

CleanZone Air Filtration

For people prone to breathing ailments, Volvo’s CleanZone air filtration system can mean the difference between going out and staying.

The advanced filter system (a world first, the company says) will trap airborne particles as small as 2.5 microns (PM 2.5). There are about 25,000 microns in an inch. The widths of the larger particles in the PM 2.5 size range would be about 30 times smaller than a human hair. The smaller particles are so small that several thousand could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.

The system’s multifilter also helps reduce dust, pollen, particles, and chemical odors.

The cabin can be pre-cleaned before entering the car using the Volvo Cars app. And on a warm day, the automatic CleanZone helps ventilate the passenger compartment when the vehicle is unlocked.

XC60 Interior Function

The interior design is artful but functional — mostly. The cabin is roomy with considerable headroom of 38 inches, even with the panoramic roof. Sightlines are unobstructed across the hood or over the shoulder. And the 360-degree surround-view camera system is a worthwhile addition to the Advanced package, $2,050, which includes Pilot Assist with adaptive cruise control.

The 10-way power seats, including seat-bottom tilt, are gently contoured and supportive for the long haul.

The switch controls for the front map lights and sunroof are touch-sensitive and require just a light touch to activate.

There is open access to the wireless charging pad on the shift console. Storage areas are somewhat limited, but there is a huge, nonlocking glove box and door panels with separate spaces for a large bottle and catchall space. The center armrest has a small storage box, which houses two USBs, including one C-type.

The 12.3-inch driver gauge array.

12.3-inch configurable driver gauge array.

Back Seat and Cargo Space

Back seat space has adult-class legroom of 38 inches, but with a slight butts-down, knees-up position with no seatback recline. There are numerous conveniences, including the coat hooks on the B-pillars. The broad, fold-down armrest is padded with pop-forward cup holders and covered but slim storage.

Back-seat B pillars have a vertical vent that provides airflow that is so helpful for passengers prone to motion discomfort. And there also is a pair of vents in the center floor console, along with fan and temperature controls, seat-heater switches, and a USB. Overhead grab handles include a hook for dry cleaning.

Cargo space is wide and square, with 17.1 cubic feet of space behind the second row or up to 29.4 cu.ft. with the back seat folded. The 60/40 split rear seat has release tabs in the cargo that drop easily. A handy hook and strap are provided to hold up the cargo floor when looking for the jack and flat-tire inflator. There also are dual side lights and a 12-volt plug. A side storage space has about a cubic foot of stash space, separated by a net.

Road Sign Information

How often do we drive and see no or very few speed-limit signs? Enter the eye-in-the-sky Road Sign Information. It might be one of those extras that the uninitiated might see as unnecessary. And Volvo pays for the subscription for the length of the warranty. The system alerts to speed limits, “no passing,” “do not enter,” and various types of supplementary signs.

The road sign is displayed on the speedometer or in the head-up display. It can also inform you about speed cameras. And if you drive in the wrong direction on a one-way street, you’ll be alerted with a no-entry sign icon.

Panoramic Moonroof

The dark-tinted laminated glass roof has a front section that opens or tilts and a power-operated fabric sunshade. When the vehicle is parked outside in hot weather, the sunshade closes automatically when the outside temperature reaches 77 degrees. And the roof can be closed from outside the vehicle with the remote key.

The panoramic roof in the XC60

The dark-tinted laminated glass roof has a front section that opens or tilts and a power-operated fabric sunshade.

What’s not to like?

  • For the as-tested price of nearly $67,000, savvy luxury-segment drivers might expect ventilated seats to go with the optional heated front seats.
  • A cargo area roller cover is a $295 option.
  • Modest fuel economy.
  • The sun visors are inadequate on driver’s left. The lower left edge is contoured to fit neatly into the headliner, which leaves a wide margin of the windshield where the sun invariably shines through.
  • Volvo’s distinctive head restraints, somewhat forward-leaning, can bother some taller occupants.

Why Buy the Volvo XC60 B6 R-Design?

A statement of style is important to this owner, and there is a genuine resonance to the gentleness of Volvo design and engineering.

While the Inscription trim level is luxurious, I prefer the sportier tone of the R-Design. I’d fret less about children scuffing the interior and I’d feel less guilt using it as a utility vehicle, as the Norse god Thor intended.

At nearly $67,000, the tester was fully priced, but it also has unique pleasures to relieve the price-point pain.

A rearview of the XC60

The 2022 Volvo XC60 has a restyled rear fascia with hidden tailpipes.

Volvo XC60 B6 AWD R-Design Specifications

Body style: midsize, 5-seat AWD

Engine: 295-hp, direct Injected and turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with idle stop-start; 310 lb.-ft. torque from 2,100-4,800 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed Geartronic

Fuel economy: 21/27/24 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium required

0-60 mph acceleration: 5.9 seconds

Coefficient of drag: 0.32


Fuel tank: 18.8 gallons

Cargo space: 17.1-29.4 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 38/41.5 in.

Rear head/leg room: 38*/38 in. *w/panoramic roof

Length/wheelbase: 185.4/112.8 inches

Curb weight: 4,238 lbs.

Turning circle: 37.4 ft.

Tow capacity: 3,500 lbs. braked trailer; 1,600 lbs. unbraked


Standard equipment includes: keyless locking with push-button ignition, 12.3-inch configurable driver gauge array, surround-view camera with front parking assist, adaptive cruise control, wireless smartphone charging, heated steering wheel, illuminated door handles, laminated panoramic moonroof with power sunshade, heated grille emblem (to help optimize front camera visibility in all conditions), head-up display, headlight washers, front cornering fog lights, park assist (front, rear, and sides), spray-arm wipers

R-Design Features: Front park assist, power-folding rear head restraints, HomeLink garage door transmitter, tailored dashboard, high-level interior illumination, 4-zone climate control with CleanZone, charcoal headliner, 10-way power (heated) front seats with lumbar and memory presets, 19-inch R-Design wheels, Nappa leather front sport seats, and leatherette rear seats, leather gear shift grip and metal-trimmed pedals, sport tailored steering wheel, high gloss black window trim, and mirror caps, high gloss black grille

Safety features include: 6 air bags, blind-spot warning and cross-traffic alert, Pilot assist (to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane and at a set speed), lane-keeping steering assist, oncoming lane mitigation (with steering assist), hill-descent control


B6 AWD R-Design base price: $57,290, including $1,095 freight charge; price as tested $65,890

Options on test vehicle: Climate package, $750, includes headlight washers, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel; Advanced package, $2,050, includes head-up display, Pilot Assist driver-assistance system with adaptive cruise control, 360-degree surround-view camera, a 12-volt outlet in the cargo area, air quality with advanced air cleaner; metallic Crystal White paint $695; 4-corner air suspension $1,800; power tailgate $200; 21-inch double-spoke black diamond-cut alloy wheels $1,000; 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio $3,200

Where assembled: Gothenburg, Sweden

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Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 Review

There are roomier 3-row SUVS, but $4 a gallon gasoline will keep the Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid a sustainable choice

An exterior view of Volvo's XC90 plug-in hybrid

The Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge eAWD has starting prices of $64,545 to $71,345. (Volvo)

Table of Contents

2021 XC90 Updates
Future Volvo
Safety Features
Fuel Economy
Ride and Handling
Hybrid modes
Pilot Assist System
Room to Improve
Back Seats and Cargo Space
Why Buy the Volvo XC 90 Recharge?


There is something special about tooling along in a 5,300-pound Volvo XC90 SUV on battery power. Of course, it would be more special if the driving range was farther than just 17 to 21 miles, but that still leaves a lot of daily driving that can be done without gasoline or exhaust. The energy assets of the plug-in Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 will be even more relevant as the price of gas in California crests $4 a gallon.

Volvo packs a lot into this large-midsize SUV. The two-box body has three rows of seats for six or seven occupants. The vehicle feels solid, and the tester had no squeaks or itchy vibration noises.

The refined interior of the Inscription trim level.

The Swedish design ethos is upscale and manicured. (Volvo)

Volvo XC90 Overview

The second-generation Volvo XC90 was introduced in 2016 and had a major refresh in 2020. The update restyled the front and rear fascias and added a new waterfall grille design. The six-seat configuration was also added, along with a slightly larger hybrid battery and other tech updates.

The body shell seems fairly generic “SUV” (like a Ford Explorer), but with well-applied Volvo features. Luxury competitors include the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, Range Rover P400e, BMW X5 xDrive45e.

Volvo's 9-inch Sensus Connect touch screen

The 9-inch Sensus Connect touch screen. (Mark Maynard)

2021 XC90 updates

Volvo added minor updates for 2021, including two USB-C ports in the back seat, wireless phone charging on the shift console, and front parking assist. And the Digital Care Key was added, which can be used to set a speed limit, such as for young drivers in the family.

The crowded shifter console

Updates for 2021 included the addition of wireless phone charging on the shift console. (Mark Maynard)

Future Volvo

Volvo is on the threshold of delivering a wave of emissions-free models. The company hopes to have battery-powered vehicles account for half of its global sales by 2025.

In the second half of this year, Volvo has plans to launch a small coupe-style crossover. In addition, Automotive News reports that the XC90 will be redesigned sometime in 2022 for the 2023 model year. And other industry rumors talk of a longer XC100 SUV on the way.

Volvo XC90 Pricing

The XC90 is available in many trim levels with seats for six or seven, in front- or all-wheel-drive models. The powertrains for gasoline or gas-electric plug-in hybrid models are “charged” direct-injected, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Depending on the model, the engines are either turbocharged or turbocharged and supercharged. All powertrains are paired with an eight-speed Geartronic transmission.

The entry XC90 T5, with a 250-horsepower turbocharged engine, has starting prices that range from $50,095 to $52,595. All MSRP pricing includes the $1,095 freight charge from Gothenburg, Sweden.

The midrange XC90 T6 AWD has a 316-hp turbocharged and supercharged engine and a starting price of $58,045.

And the XC90 T8 Recharge eAWD plug-in models have a 400-hp turbo and supercharged engine with an 87-hp electric motor. Starting prices range from $64,545 to $71,345.

Today’s tester, an XC90 Recharge T8 Inscription, had a starting price of $70,845 and was $79,560, as tested.

Check on current XC90 pricing here.

Volvo's panoramic roof in the XC90

The front headroom is tall with the panoramic roof. (Mark Maynard)

Volvo XC90 Safety Features

Volvo has long been a safety innovator. It is well known for inventing the three-point seat belt in 1959. The carmaker also was among the first to add rear-facing child seats and side-impact air bags. Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has designated every Volvo model a Top Safety Pick Plus.

The XC90’s safety features and advanced technologies are extensive. Among them:

Volvo’s City Safety System focuses cameras and sensors on accident avoidance or mitigation. The system integrates intersection autobrake, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert with autobrake, and cyclist and large animal detection with automatic braking.

Forward Collision Warning. Drivers are alerted by a pulse of the brakes, an audible tone, and an illuminated warning in the driver display and head-up display.

See the Specifications chart below for more features.

A hood-up view of Volvo's T8 hybrid powertrain

The T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid powertrain. (Mark Maynard)

Volvo XC 90 Recharge Performance

The Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 applies a sophisticated handoff of supercharging and turbocharging. The supercharger engages first for immediate off-the-line power and then shuts down as the engine revs increase. Then the turbo takes over for power in the higher rpm range. There is some engine noise on hard acceleration, but the force feels brisk and the gear changes are fluid.

Total system power defies the concept of a four-cylinder with power ratings of 400-hp and 427 foot-pounds of torque for near-instant pulling

The 21-inch tires on the Volvo XC90

The Inscription tester came with 21-inch Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season tires and alloy wheels. (Mark Maynard)


The powertrain integrates an 87-hp electric motor at the rear axle (for all-wheel drive) and a smallish 11.6 kWh battery pack. Packaging of the hybrid battery does not compromise interior space, Volvo says. And cargo cubic footage is the same as other XC90s.

Volvo XC 90 Recharge Fuel Economy

Fuel economy ratings on premium fuel — with all-wheel drive — are 27 mpg combined city and highway driving; premium fuel is recommended. Those ratings translate to a combined 55 mpg-e with electric and engine power.

The 18.5-gallon take should provide nearly 600 miles of range. My driving returned 25-26 mpg around town and up to 30.8 with highway driving, which might have gone higher on longer commutes.

A hold-and-charge function allows the driver to bank the current battery charge for later use. The charge function uses the gas engine to charge the battery to a certain level.

Back seats in the 2021 XC90

This is a spacious five-seat SUV, but there is a crunch of space when trying to put passengers in the second and third rows. (Mark Maynard)

Volvo XC 90 Flex Charging

Volvo works with ChargePoint to offer the Home Flex charging system. The 240-volt Level 2 home charger can provide up to 50 amps of power, depending on the capacity of the home’s electrical panel. Pricing for the unit starts at about $700, not including installation or other electrical work.

  • Volvo includes a Level 2 120- or 240-volt cable (22.9 feet long) for charging at home.
  • Plugging into a 110-volt household connection will take 6 to 8 hours.;
  • Using the 3.6kW AC fast charger (240-volt) will take 3 to 4 hours;
  • Plugging into a public DC fast charger (50-150kW) will take about 40 minutes to 2 hours.

Volvo XC 90 Recharge Ride and Handling

The ride is carpet-quiet around town, but there was more ambient noise on the highway than I expected. The air suspension provided a comfortable ride around town, but it felt less confident and a little busy at 70 mph and in sporty maneuvers.

The all-wheel-drive system launches with traction to all four tires and then adjusts to mostly front-drive until more pull is needed.

Shift points from the eight-speed Geartronic transmission are well-timed for power on demand. There are drive modes of Comfort, Dynamic, Eco, Individual and Off-Road, but the power was strong enough that I drove in Comfort most of the time.

According to Volvo, the 5,100-pound XC90 Recharge T8 can hustle to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

Braking has refined stopping force and is free of an on-off action when engaging the brake pedal; that gap in grip is a common side effect of some regenerative brake systems. The disc brakes are up to the 5,000-pound towing task and above-average stopping distance. With the XC90’s 14.4-inch discs front and 13.4 inches rear, Volvo cites a stopping distance from 62 mph to zero in 36 meters or 118.1 feet. According to a recent Consumer Reports analysis, that distance puts it well below the average of 134 feet for comparable midsize luxury SUVs.

Cargo space in the XC90

The third-row seats fold flat into the cargo floor. (Mark Maynard)

Volvo XC 90 Recharge Hybrid Modes

There are layers of usability to the hybrid system. I like that when the battery runs out, there is no difference in the driving attitude as the system switches to the gas engine. It functions as a standard gasoline-electric powertrain.

In the default Hybrid mode, the system uses the electric motor and gas engine individually or in parallel, depending on the need for power.

The Pure mode maximizes driving on the hybrid battery and is functional to 78 mph. But performance is reduced and the air conditioning is partly disengaged, though it can be activated manually.

In Power mode, the gas engine and electric motor work together to drive the front and rear wheels. Steering and braking are set to Dynamic performance, and the gauge display changes to a red Sport mode.

The off-Road mode can be used at speeds below 12 mph and not above 25 mph. The split of power front to rear is locked at 50/50.

Volvo XC 90 Pilot Assist System

Pilot Assist is a hands-on-the-wheel driving assistance system to assist with steering, acceleration, and braking. It is designed for use on highways and at speeds up to 80 mph. I find the system is most helpful in stop-and-go commuter traffic.

It is a trustworthy system that has been improved since I first tested it in 2016. Pilot Assist will keep the vehicle centered in the lane and, in my experience, did not let it drift across the white highway lines or Botts dots.

But do not become complacent. A variety of situations can cause random but brief shutdowns. For example, I experienced system shutoff in such conditions as direct sunlight into the sensors, faded and light-colored or faded concrete highways, and white semi-trucks and trailers alongside the XC90 in traffic.

Volvo XC90 Recharge Interior

There is a Swedish design ethos to the interior that is upscale and manicured. But it is not too precious for children to scuff up. The cabin is broad enough to provide a range of storage areas and logical placement of controls and switches, what few of them there are.

There are many technologies layered into the electronics, but I struggled with the 9-inch touch screen. Volvo uses a vertical screen for less scrolling, but it still takes eyes from the road. Also, finding the touchpoints takes time to master, and the camera screen is narrower than a horizontal format.

Touch screens might be sexy to designers — and to product planners for their reduced hardware costs. But a few more buttons would be helpful to make simple adjustments without having to reach over and tap twice to make one change.

The front headroom is tall at 38.9 inches with the panoramic roof (standard on the Recharge). Driver sightlines are completely open across the hood, over the shoulder, and out the rear glass. The steering weight is light for tooling the mall parking lot or it can be adjusted to be made firmer. The turning circle of 38.7 feet is tighter than some midsize sedans.

The seats are power-adjustable with lumbar and thigh extension of the cushion. In addition, the XC90 Recharge T8 offers an attractive wool blend upholstery as a no-cost option to Nappa leather.

Volvo does excellent leather — it’s the full leather treatment, not “leather-trimmed.” But the fabric upholstery is a refreshing choice and seems somewhat “sustainable” for those who care. Fabric is not sweaty in hot weather or chilling in the cold; however, front-seat ventilation is not available with cloth. The T8 Inscription includes heated front seats, and the Climate package, $750, adds heated wiper blades, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel.

Room to Improve

The sun visors give inadequate coverage at the windshield pillars and do not slide or have extension panels, but they have covered and lighted mirrors.

The shift console is crowded with the crystal gearshift handle, ignition stub, brake release, cup holders, and the newly added wireless charging pad. There also is a 12-volt plug for a cigarette lighter and a nearby tiny ashtray.

Back Seat and Cargo

The XC90 is a spacious five-seat SUV. Three rows with seven seats is the standard configuration, but for $500, it can be configured as a six-seater. Add an integrated center seat booster cushion for $300.

By the numbers, second-row legroom is generous at 37 inches, but there is a crunch of legroom with passengers in the second and third rows, no matter their sizes. Scooting the second-row forward to accommodate those in the third row (with a short 31.9 inches of legroom) feels claustrophobic with the seat is so close to the front seatbacks.

But the space has good foot room and the seatbacks recline a few inches, but the bench is short for adult thigh support.

Folding the tip-and-slide second row to gain access to the way-back takes manual muscle that will not be easy for some.

Cargo space is wide at 46 inches and tall at 32 inches. With the optional four-corner air suspension ($1,800), the loading height can be lowered several inches to a comfortable 29 ½ inches.

The second row folds and drops the head restraints in one easy maneuver, but there is no power folding option, nor is there a strap or leverage device to raise the third-row seats from the cargo area.

A rear view of the 2021 model.

The XC90 was completely refreshed for the 2020 model year when a six-seater variant was added. (Volvo)

Why buy the Volvo XC90 Recharge?

Volvo expects and extracts much from its plug-in XC90. It has compelling luxury features and engaging Swedish influences, but there isn’t much that hasn’t already been applied to most evolved SUVs.

Young, upward evolving families will value its safety reputation and the many around-town trips in complete electric mode.

Volvo has evolved this generation XC90 Recharge T8 as far as possible, and a redesign will be welcome. But the ever-rising price of gasoline will keep this plug-in a sustainable choice.

Volvo XC90 Recharge Specifications

Body style: full-size, 6- or 7-seat AWD SUV

Engine: 313-hp, 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged, direct-injected 4-cylinder

Motor: 87-hp

Battery pack: 11.6 kWh

Total system power: 400-hp and 427 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: 8-speed Geartronic with drive modes

Fuel economy: 27 mpg combined gasoline-engine only; 55 MPGe with electricity and gas engine


Fuel tank: 18.5 gal.

Cargo space: 11.2-34.1 cu. ft. (loaded to the ceiling)

Front head/leg room: 38.9*/40.9 in. *w/moonroof

2nd-row head/leg room: 38.5/37 in.

3rd-row head/leg room: 36.3/31.9 in.

Length/wheelbase: 195/117.5 in.

Width/height: 79.1*/69.6 *84.2 mirrors not folded

Tow capacity: 5,000 lbs.

Curb weight: 5,355 lbs.

Turning circle: 38.7 ft.


Standard Inscription equipment includes: keyless entry with pushbutton ignition, panoramic moonroof with power sunshade, wood-blend seat upholstery, wireless charging, power front seats with lumbar and cushion extension, hands-free power tailgate, 2 USB ports front, 2 USB-C ports rear, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, Harman Kardon audio system, 12.3-inch driver gauge display, 9-inch Sensus Connect infotainment touch screen, Wi-Fi hot spot, 20-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires

Safety features include: 8 air bags, Pilot Assist system; roll stability and electronic stability controls; lane-keeping assist; drowsy or distracted driver alert control; oncoming lane mitigation; automatic braking after collision; run-off road mitigation and run-off road protection


Base price: $64,545, including $1,095 freight charge; price as tested $79,560

Options on test vehicle: Inscription package $6,300; Air quality package with advanced air cleaner $250; Denim Blue Metallic paint $695; Climate package, $750 (heated wiper blades, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel); Advanced package, $1,700, adds head-up windshield display, high-level interior ambient lighting, and 360-degree surround-view camera; Integrated center seat booster cushion, $300

Where assembled: Gothenburg, Sweden

Warranty: 4-years/50,000-miles with roadside service and free scheduled maintenance for first three services (10,000 miles, 20,000 miles and 30,000 miles) for 3 years or up to 36,000 miles

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