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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

XC90 Recharge Review: Is Volvo's PHEV Worth the Investment for Fuel-Efficiency ?

This week, we are reviewing the 2024 Volvo XC90 Recharge. Our vehicle was assembled at the Torslanda plant in Sweden with an MSRP of CAD $94,500.00.

Volvo XC90 Recharge #xc90 #xc90recharge #phev #
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

The last time we reviewed the Volvo XC90 in 2019, the automaker was still in the early stages of developing plug-in hybrid technology. A lot was going on with the 2.0L engine; it was supercharged and turbocharged. There was room for improvement, and everyone still wondered how reliable it would be. Volvo has proven the durability of its engines over time. The automaker has fine-tuned transmission programming to ensure smoother transitions.

Fun Factor: 9

Fast forward to 2023, and we see that Volvo has made even more significant changes to their PHEVs; the electric engine makes a respectable 145 hp and an impressive 228 lb-ft of torque, and the 2.0L turbocharged engine gives us a combined power output of 455hp and 523 lb-ft of torque. The result is fascinating not only on a performance stance, reaching 0-100 km/h in an astonishing 5.3 seconds, which gives the perception of a rear-wheel-drive bias. As a result, the massive XC90 feels sporty and has no trouble putting a smile on your face while driving it.

Volvo XC90 recharge 2nd row
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Can it Family: 9

We tested the XC90 in the 7-seater option, but for those who prefer captain's chairs, the 6-passenger option is also available. The seats in the cabin are incredibly comfortable and provide a luxurious feel; Volve did not cut corners to ensure a secure and pleasant driving experience. The 2nd row seats are also heated, which is a huge plus in our climate. The best option, however, was the integrated center booster, which offers versatile functionality without carrying a cumbersome extra seat. If you plan on using the third row for young children, it's important to note it's challenging to access the back row with the 7-seater option. Therefore, the 6-seater option is the best choice for using these seats comfortably, providing extra space to get to the third row; this will ensure you and your family have a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

Fuel-Friendly: 8

Volvo announced a 53km range, which we were almost able to reproduce driving on the HWY at 52.3 km. City driving could result in an even better number. We saw this with the XC60 recharge that had a 10-15% better range than announced. During our week, we averaged 5.0L/100km, including a 200 km road trip where the engine ran 3/4 of the trip. It's worth noting that the fuel economy figures for this vehicle are as follows when it's out of electrical juice: 9.1L/100km in city driving, 8.6L/100km on the highway, and a combined 8.9L/100km.

HWY-warrior: 8

The XC90 is an excellent choice for highway driving as it comes equipped with adaptive cruise control that hugs the road nicely and smoothly decelerates the vehicle when traffic slows down. The vehicle's attentiveness to the traffic around you is praiseworthy, so you never need to be more careful. In EV mode, the cabin is quiet and relaxing, providing a peaceful environment that shields you from exterior noises. The heated front emblem is a new and useful feature that hides all the security features packed inside the XC90. It helps to make these features more usable during the winter, preventing false alarms or system malfunctioning during lousy weather.

XC90 recharge 3rd row
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Karaoke Friendly: 9

Our model was equipped with the Harman Kardon Premium sound system, which is good, but in comparison, it's not as exceptional as the Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System, an option we do not see for the 2023/2024 models. As for the infotainment, it has been updated, and Apple Car Play is now functional and well-integrated. This should be a cautionary tale for manufacturers planning to remove these features. Android and Apple have perfected something that automakers have not been able to. The system that Volvo offers is all right; however, all of our lives and playlists are connected to our smartphones. Needing a separate login for everything is what people are looking for.

Volvo XC90 Recharge
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Baby-friendly: 8

When it was time to seat seven people inside the XC90, we faced a little challenge with the 7-seater version. The door opening was wide enough, so that wasn't the problem. The challenge was figuring out how to accommodate two car seats and some teenagers comfortably. To ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers, we provided the third-row passengers with an accessible exit. After carefully rearranging the seats, we placed two seats, one behind the other, thus allowing one side to remain open for easy entry and exit.

City Cruising: 10

The XC90, along with other rechargeable vehicles from Volvo, is highly efficient in urban settings thanks to its dual motors. It excels in stop-and-go traffic by regaining most of the lost energy into the battery. Switching your gear lever from D to B utilizes the electric engine's braking power. When driving at slow speeds, the steering becomes lighter, making parking a breeze. The 360-degree camera ensures you have a clear view of everything around the car. If you need assistance parking, the XC90 can do it for you, even in the tightest spaces.

Why would we buy the Volvo XC90 Recharge, or what did we like about it?

A range of 53km each morning can potentially provide many people with the opportunity to commute without any harmful emissions. Additionally, charging options available at the destination during work hours can further enhance the emission-free travel experience. If you're in the market for a 6-7 seater, the XC90 recharge should be on the top of your list. Not only is it comfortable, it looks stylish and rides like a charm.

Volvo XC90 Recharge side view
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Why would we not buy the Volvo XC90 Recharge, or what did we not like about it?

It is worth noting that some competitor PHEVs in 2023 have a faster level 2 charge capability than the XC90, which is capped at 3.6 kWh, despite having a massive 18.8 kWh battery. This may seem puzzling to some, especially since it takes approximately 5 hours to charge such a battery. Some of the competition, however, has begun offering DC/fast charging or a faster level 2 capability of up to 7.2 kWh. Opting for these options could significantly reduce charging time by up to half.

Volvo XC90 recharge J1772 outlet
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Volvo has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Volvo Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion of the car referred to above.

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