Viewed : 10,323 times

04 Feb 2021

What We Dislike
Quite pricey
Requires regular charging to fully exploit the car's PHEV capabilities

With a smooth plug-in hybrid powertrain, ample equipment and plenty of refinement, there's plenty to like with the XC90 T8.

The launch of the second generation XC90 in 2015 was a key moment for the Volvo brand. Not only did the car debut the new Scalable Product Architecture platform, the XC90 was also the first car to feature Volvo's bold new design language.

The brand has been hard at work trying to shed its 'old man' image, with bold and futuristic designs, high-tech and sleek cabins, and a clear focus on electrification. Volvo has outlined its plans to have 50% of its sales be fully electric cars by 2025. 

The XC90 was lightly facelifted in 2020, and the updated model range in Singapore now features a new, top-of-the-range model - this XC90 Plug-in Hybrid T8 Inscription.

Wait, the what??

The T8 powertrain allows you to drive in all electric mode, with power sent solely to the rear wheels
There's a lot to break down in the name. So let's go through it quickly.

This is still the large, seven-seater XC90 model that has continually impressed with its high levels of comfort, practicality and safety. It's a big and imposing car, but its sleek lines help maintain a level of coolness in spite of its somewhat behemoth size.

The 2020 update brought some mild changes, including a slightly redesigned front grille, some extra chrome at the rear, and some new exterior colours and wheel designs. Nothing ground-breaking on this front.

Charging the 11.6kWh battery at a standard wall charger will take about three hours
For Singapore, the refreshed XC90 range gets a new powertrain - the Plug-in Hybrid T8 model. It's the same powertrain found in the S60 T8 and the XC60 T8 - you have a 2.0-litre powerplant under the bonnet that drives the front wheels, as well as an electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

The T8 powerplant delivers plenty of punch, with a combined output of 402bhp and 640Nm of torque. The car is a plump 2,311kg, so it doesn't feel as quick as the numbers would suggest, but when you put your foot down, acceleration is urgent yet smooth.

And Inscription?

The crystral gearshifter adds a touch of opulance to an already classy cabin
With this T8 model, you also get a wealth of equipment and features. The T8 model comes solely in the highest Inscription trim level, which isn't available on the T5 and T6 models.

The exterior features extra chrome trim, as well as silver roof rails and twin chrome tailpipes. Inside, there's lush Nappa leather upholstery throughout the cabin, which really lends the interior an extra touch of luxury.

On top of all the other standard equipment, such as the 12.3-inch Adaptive Digital Display and 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, you also get wireless smartphone charging and active noise reduction on this Inscription trim. And, as an extra touch of opulence, there is also a crystal gearshifter.

The glove compartment is chilled, allowing you to store your cold drinks or desserts
The cabin is a charming place to be in. It's light, minimalist and spacious, while still packing plenty of equipment, practicality and functionality.

So is it much more efficient?

If you're expecting spectacular all-electric range from this XC90 T8, then you'd better have regular access to a charging point. Otherwise, it's decent at best, offering about 35km to 40km of range per full charge. 

On paper, Volvo claims that the XC90 T8 has a fuel economy figure of 43.4km/L. That's outrageous, of course, unless you are regularly charging the car and mostly drive short distances using only electric power.

The Pilot Assist feature is highly effective and useful for highway driving
In reality, you should expect around 11km/L with sensible driving, which is pretty okay for a 2.3-tonne car. Charge it every now and then and you can bump up that figure. And, you would be inclined to charge the car, because in all electric mode it's really smooth, refined and pleasingly quiet.

What's the point?

This is the most powerful, most luxurious and most well-equipped XC90 you can buy right now. And it's quite a delightful package - comfortable, practical and classy. And of course, you also get a full gamut of safety systems (it's a Volvo, we expect nothing less).

The XC90 is a classy, refined and highly-equipped seven-seater SUV, though it comes with a rather hefty pricetag 
But, it is quite pricey. It's $380,000 asking price is a full $34k more than the T6, and that's quite an eye-watering premium. A little too much, if we're being honest.

The truth is, unless you have regular and easy access to charging points, your long-term cost savings with this PHEV model isn't going to be that significant. This is still a big, two-tonne SUV after all.

What you are paying for, then, is the elevated sense of quality, luxury and refinement that this T8 model affords. And if you can afford to do so, power to you.
Car Information
Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T8 Inscription 7-Seater (A)
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Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged and Supercharged

Engine Cap








640 Nm



8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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xc90  volvo  volvo hybrid  xc90 t8  t8  volvo t8  plug in hybrid  phew  volvo prev  xc90 phev