- Quietly elegant, luxurious interior
- Restrained exterior design
- Sensus interface intuitive, pad-like
- Top safety ratings and features
- Plug-in hybrid powertrain option
- Design may not say luxury
- Certain safety systems optional
- One USB port for seven seats?
- Plug-in hybrid efficiency lacking
- It's not German
features & specs
The 2017 Volvo XC90 is comfortable, capable, and only whispers its virtues—reinterpreting the Volvo brand as quiet sophistication in comfort, style, and efficiency.
New last year, the 2017 Volvo XC90 large luxury SUV appears to be succeeding in its mission of redefining where Volvo sits in the growing global luxury market. Its an understated and modest exterior design hides is a quietly elegant, supremely ergonomic, and easy-to-use family utility vehicle with many virtues. The XC90 comes in four trim levels, though not all are offered with every powertrain: the base Momentum (T5 and T6), the upper-level Inscription (T5, T6, and T8), the sporty R-Design (T6 and T8), and the T8 Excellence.
The result is far from the typically severe, tech-heavy Teutonic interpretation of luxury offered by Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. The XC90 is a thoroughly modern premium SUV with its luxury inside, using high-quality materials and a thoughtfully designed infotainment system that's one of the more intuitive and easy to use of any high-end vehicle. And of course it has the latest in new and updated safety features, both active and passive, and gets unsurpassed safety ratings.
Overall, the Volvo XC90 gets a rating of 7.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars this year.) It's a quietly competent and surprisingly comfortable SUV that should win over not only existing buyers, but those tired of proliferating high-end Asian and German utility vehicles of every shape, size, and segment. It scores 7 out of 10 or higher on design, performance, quality, safety, and features, and gets a green rating of 6. Overall, it's above the 6.8 of the the competing BMW X5, but below the new Audi Q7's 8.0.
Volvo XC90 styling and performance
The XC90 is clearly a Volvo, but it offers a new take on Volvo's traditional values of conscientious design and solid durability. It's more fluid and crisper than its predecessor, which launched way back in 2002. Its design also disguises its bulk; it simply doesn't look as large as other seven-seat SUVs, although its interior is at least as capacious as the average (and seven-seaters vary a lot in size and usability). It also refuses to underscore its premium positioning. Instead, it's a car for people who “do not look for a brand that defines them," in the words of one Volvo executive.
It's the widely lauded interior design that distinguishes the XC90 from German and Japanese competitors, blending sensible design and luxurious details in a way no other brand has managed. It blends remarkably comfortable seats and a prevalent scent of leather with interior shapes layered to suggest Scandinavian furniture, combining stitched leather, textured metal, and matte wood. And the central 9.0-inch touchscreen is relatively intuitive compared to competing systems based on knobs and cursors, responding quickly to tablet-style commands—not just tap, but also swipe, pinch, and stretch.
This year there are three powertrains, all using the same 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on all but a new base model, where it's optional. The base T5 is turbocharged, for an output of 250 horsepower, while the T6 is both turbocharged and supercharged, at 316 hp. Fuel economy ratings are 23 and 22 mpg combined, respectively.
The T8 "Twin Engine" plug-in hybrid model uses the T6 engine with added boost from a rear-mounted 60-kilowatt (82-hp) electric motor that replaces the mechanically driven rear axle of the other two. This lets the car run on its gasoline engine, on the electric motor alone, or on both when needed. It's the priciest XC90, but also the quickest, with an output of roughly 400 hp, and Volvo notes it's also the sole seven-seat plug-in hybrid on the market. The EPA rates its all-electric range at 13 miles, and its fuel economy running in hybrid mode (after its battery is depleted) at 25 mpg combined.
Comfort, utility, safety
On the road, the XC90 handles like a car, with good steering feedback, predictable roadholding, and relatively sprightly performance despite its small engine. Perhaps its sole drawback is the noise level, which under full power and on certain road surfaces is simply higher than that of many competitors.
The XC90 has room for up to seven people and their goods. Stepping inside, the front seats adjust in multiple axes, and we found them supremely comfortable. The second-row seats slide backward and forward, and the third row is capable of holding two adults if second-row riders will give up a bit of legroom. Each row is slightly higher than the one in front, providing good outward vision for all—aided by large windows and the standard panoramic sunroof.
The NHTSA gives the XC90 five stars overall, and the IIHS has designated the XC90 a Top Safety Pick, with its highest score of "Good" on every crash test it performed. The IIHS designation indicates that the big Volvo has all the latest electronic active-safety equipment the institute recommends, including both traditional safety systems and a pair of world firsts: Run Off Road Design, which works to keep occupants safe if the car goes off the edge of the road, and automatic braking in intersections if a car drives into the path of travel from another angle.
All models of the XC90, starting with the base T5 Momentum at less than $50,000, include all-wheel drive and the panoramic sunroof. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are optional on the T5, standard on the T6 and T8. Third-row seating is standard on the T6 and T8, but not available on the T5. The more luxurious Inscription and the sportier R-Design version plus a series of option packages can bring the total for a well-equipped T6 model to about $60,000. The high-end XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid model adds $10,000 more, and its R-Design version is pricier yet.
2017 Volvo XC90
The 2017 Volvo XC90 is elegant but low-key on the outside, but its interior uses simple Scandinavian design and elegant materials to redefine luxury in a soothing, sensible way
The designers of the 2017 Volvo XC90 have pulled off a neat trick: they've made a large utility vehicle appear to be much smaller than it is—meaning it’s the least obvious luxury SUV in the segment. This fresh interpretation of Swedish auto design has an exterior that's modern, and timeless, but remarkably unassuming. It's the antithesis of well-known and prestigious luxury brands—consider it the counterpart to a Mercedes GLS, or the anti-Escalade.
We rate the XC90 at 8 out of 10 points. Starting with 5 as the average, we added 1 point apiece for its overall coherence in design, its attractive exterior, and its excellent interior. The XC90 pulls off a tough trick: it's calm and elegant on the outside, soothing and luxurious yet sensible inside. (Read more about how we rate cars this year.)
The design language clearly signals that the XC90 is a Volvo, but with crisper and more aerodynamic shapes even as it stays true to the classic SUV form. The windshield isn’t aggressively raked, and while the tailgate is slanted, that’s concession to airflow is camouflaged by a long roof spoiler. The designers are quietly proud that their new utility vehicle has the proportions of a rear-wheel-drive car, not the long front overhang of vehicles that have front-wheel-drive underpinnings. The XC90 has less front overhang than even a rear-wheel-drive BMW X5, they note. Finally, the glass area is generous, unlike many competitors, which offsets the tall sides endemic to seven-seat SUVs.
Instead, the luxury is all on the inside, and the Volvo's interior completely stands out from any other premium utility vehicle. The materials and shapes convey luxury through touch, smell, and texture without the garish, chrome-laden accoutrements of some competitors. The designers say they put a great deal of thought into the nature of Swedish modern design—its creativity, quiet authority, and adaptability to active uses—to come up with their own spin on a practical interior.
It shows in a few added “Easter egg” features to underscore Volvo's brand values—in this case, a small Swedish flag tab sticking out from a stitched seam in the front passenger seat, the words “Since 1959” on the seat-belt tang to underscore Volvo’s role as the creator of the three-point safety harness, and even a frameless glass rear-view mirror that’s reminiscent of high-style spectacles.
The new XC90 comes with either all-black or two-tone interior, and the combination of a standard panoramic sunroof and generous windows makes the interior light and airy. Along with supremely comfortable seats and carefully layered leather, metal, and optional wood surfaces that evoke modern Scandinavian furniture design, those qualities all add up to a car that’s far more soothing and premium-feeling than you’d expect from the outside—as long as your definition of luxury isn’t the amount of chrome on the dashboard.
The Sensus 9.0-inch touchscreen is the central focus of the dashboard. Its operation is intuitively obvious to anyone who’s ever touched, stretched, or swipe on a pad tablet, and it can be operated with gloves on—a nod to the frequently frigid weather of its homeland. But Volvo also added a rotary volume knob below the screen, so that while most ancillary functions are done by touch, you can adjust your audio and other functions from either the steering wheel or that conventional knob. That one knob contrasts well with Tesla, whose 17-inch screen has larger lettering and graphics but requires multiple touches for most functions.
2017 Volvo XC90
The 2017 Volvo XC90 uses two types of boost to wring good power out of a small engine, while its on-road behavior is car-like—which is remarkable for a seven-seat SUV
The 2017 Volvo XC90 offers three different powertrains, all of them with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive standard on all except the new base model, known as the T5.
We rate the XC90 at 7 out of 10 points for its performance. Starting with 5 as the average, we added 1 point for its innovative and high-output engines and another for its car-like braking, steering, and handling. It's peppy when needed, though we haven't driven the less-powerful T5 model yet, and its most powerful—and expensive—model is a plug-in hybrid. Despite its size and capacity, it still handles like a car. (Read more about how we rate cars this year.)
The engine of the new T5 version is turbocharged for a power output of 250 horsepower. But Volvo expects the more common version to be the T6, which adds a supercharger to the turbo to get a 316-hp output rating along with 295 pound-feet of torque, exceeding the T5's 258 lb-ft. The T6 includes a start-stop function to switch off the engine when the vehicle is at rest. Like the same system in other Volvos with the same engine, it’s unobtrusive and fast to switch the engine back on smoothly when the driver starts to lift a foot off the brake. It’s worth noting that Volvo recommends that premium gasoline be used in all XC90s.
The third, and most expensive, powertrain is the T8 “Twin Engine” plug-in hybrid. It adds a 34-kw (46-hp) starter-generator motor between the transmission and the engine used in the T6. The motor recharges the battery during regenerative braking or engine overrun, and can also provide additional torque to the transmission when maximum power is required. The battery and both electric motors are liquid-cooled, and the battery coolant can also be refrigerated if additional heat must be shed. The overall system produces roughly 400 hp, and torque of 472 lb-ft. The T8 is notably faster under full-throttle acceleration than the T6, especially from a standstill.
In addition, the T8 replaces the mechanical all-wheel-drive system with a 60-kilowatt (82-horsepower) electric motor on the rear axle. The XC90 T8 can run on the engine, the rear motor alone, or both, depending on circumstances. A lithium-ion battery pack with a capacity of 9.2 kilowatt-hours, of which 6.5 kwh is usable, sits in the tunnel between the two front seats. Volvo expects 7 to 10 percent of its new XC90 sales will be the plug-in hybrid T8 model.
We haven't yet driven the base T5 version, but the other two powertrains are pleasant and engaging to drive. Their car-like handling and roadholding combine with a very responsive small engine to make them seem almost nimble for their size. Only in the tightest corners does the big SUV produce enough body roll and tire noise to indicate how hard the wheels are working to keep its 4600 pounds on line. The feedback simulated by the electric rack-and-pinion steering is lifelike, and it feels as though it’s coming directly from the front wheels. Otherwise, the handling is distinctly car-like—although experienced from a higher seating position than any Volvo sedan, given its 9.3 inches of ground clearance.
Drivers can choose among several drive modes. The T6 offers Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, Individual, and Off Road settings. The standard Comfort mode is fully adequate for most uses, while the Dynamic mode adds more aggressive throttle mapping and keeps the transmission in a lower gear for better response. We found it noisier without adding a lot of extra punch. The Eco mode predictably turns the big SUV sluggish, cutting throttle response and lowering the shift points, though it should boost fuel efficiency if driven consistently in this mode. The Off Road setting engages all-wheel drive under all circumstances and monitors wheel slip, and the Individual mode will let those few drivers who feel the need to specify their own mix of settings do so.
The T8 plug-in hybrid has four of its own modes. It defaults to the Hybrid mode, meaning it runs on the battery at lower speeds and then becomes a conventional hybrid, using the electric motor alone when possible and supplementing engine output with electric torque where possible. Its Power mode is truly quick, using both the engine and the motor for maximum torque at the wheels. It let the big SUV all but leap away from stoplights, and provided fast acceleration at any road speed.
The Pure mode uses electric power alone, delivering slightly slower acceleration but keeping the car in zero-emission mode more of the time until its battery energy is depleted—while still offering engine power for emergencies if the accelerator is floored. The Save mode runs the car as a hybrid from the start, not only conserving battery energy but in fact recharging it up to 42 percent of capacity for later use. Finally, the T8's AWD mode uses both powertrains for better traction in bad weather or slippery road conditions.
Like any car with a many-geared automatic transmission, the XC90 cruises at low engine speeds—1,400 to 2,000 rpm—and can require multiple downshifts for maximum power. But the T6's supercharger boosts engine response at low revs until the turbo spools up, and we found it eminently usable in any traffic we encountered. Towing capacity for the conventional T6 model is rated at 5,000 pounds.
2017 Volvo XC90
Comfort & Quality
The 2017 Volvo XC90 holds seven adults, has comfortable seats and uses high-quality materials, and is smooth underway, let down only by more noise than competitors
If you're getting tired of the predictably plain, functional, slightly severe German approach to luxury interiors—and their Asian premium imitators—the 2017 Volvo XC90 will likely be a refreshing alternative. Its interior cossets rather than impresses, imparting a sense of calm that drivers and passengers alike will likely value in their everyday travels.
We rate the XC90 at 7out of 10 points for its quality, comfort, and utility. Starting with 5 as the average, we added 1 point for its exceptional front seats and another for its overall comfort, fit, and finish. (Read more about how we rate cars this year.)
Getting into the XC90, the scent of the leather upholstery is immediate and soothing. Despite the lack of secondary knobs, dials, and levers on the dashboard, the intuitive pad-like operation and speedy response of the Sensus in-dash touchscreen gives the big SUV a very modern feel despite its traditional stitched leather, metal, and wood trim. Volvo has put a lot of thought into what constitutes Swedish design, and the feel of each knurled metal control, the calm but legible onscreen graphics, and the crisp feel of controls like the turn signal all add up to a kind of warm luxury that sets this car apart from the Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes-Benzes against which it will compete.
Volvo says it spent seven years developing the XC90's front seats; we can only say we found them supremely comfortable, with electric adjustments in virtually any direction we could think of. Volvo has some tall Swedes among its engineers, and we suspect the seats were made to be as comfortable for them as we found them during our test drives. So the “Comfort seat” option includes electrically adjustable lower cushions, which lengthen the under-leg portion of the seat from short to obviously longer than the legs of a conventionally shaped 6-foot adult.
The second row of seats is almost as good, and it adds a feature we're fond of: not only does the 40/20/40-split seat back fold down in multiple combinations, the entire seat slides back and forth. Even better for drivers, its headrests flip down as it folds forward, removing them from rearward vision if the second seat is empty. Volvo’s renowned optional child booster cushion is included in the center seating position; it raises a child to the height at which the seat belt is most effective (and improves the child’s view out as well).
Two adults will fit into the third row, assuming the second-row riders will sacrifice a bit of legroom so those behind don't find their knees wedged against the seat backs. But certain competing large luxury SUVs have far less accommodating third-row seats, and its ability to hold seven adults at all just shows off the XC90's trick of packing far more space inside than is visible from the outside. The three rows of seats are progressively higher—known as “theater seating”—which gives each set of occupants a view over and past the ones ahead.
With all three rows of seats upright, cargo volume is 15.8 cubic feet. With the third row folded flat, that rises to 41.8 cubic feet—and folding the second row provides a cavernous 85.7 cubic feet. The various XC90 models we've driven were solidly assembled, with no extraneous rattles, squeaks, or buzzes. Signaling traditional Volvo solidity, the doors took a little extra push to seal tightly.
Road and wind noise is mostly suppressed at speeds up to 70 mph, even in test cars fitted with optional 19-, 20-, 21-, and 22-inch wheels with low-profile tires. Larger wheels tend to be harsher and noisier than the XC90’s standard 18-inch wheel would likely have been. The optional air suspension, which functioned imperceptibly and gave no hint that its springing and damping included air bladders. But on some surfaces and under maximum power, the XC90 became noisy in a way that some competitors simply didn't—possibly the downside of working a small engine very hard to move a large vehicle.
Still, the XC90's interior has largely received largely rave reviews across the board. We had only three minor criticisms. First, the XC90 has only a single USB port—versus the new Land Rover Discovery with seven, one per seat. At minimum we'd suggest two, one per front-seat passenger.
Secondly, the steering column tilts and telescopes, but the adjustment is manual, not powered—meaning its position isn’t recorded in the memory settings for the seats and mirrors. Volvo engineers say their data indicates drivers don’t change the wheel position when they adjust seats, but virtually every competitor in the large luxury category has it.
Finally, in such a nice interior, the sun visors were surprisingly basic—and lacked a built-in extender panel to block the outboard upper corner of the windshield. That's a feature that’s now standard even on some $15,000 economy cars from Asian brands.
2017 Volvo XC90
The 2017 Volvo XC90 lives up to its brand's reputation, with a complete package of safety features and some of the best safety ratings anywhere
The 2017 Volvo XC90 follows in the footsteps of the very first utility vehicle to demonstrate that an SUV could be just as safe as a car, with groundbreaking safety systems that included rollover detection and prevention—way back in 2002. The proof of Volvo’s relentless focus on engineering cars to protect occupants, not just in crash tests but in all types of real-world accidents, was that the predecessor to the current car aced the tough new IIHS small-overlap frontal crash test introduced 10 years after it hit the market.
So it's hardly surprising that the IIHS named the newest XC90 a Top Safety Pick, with its highest score of "Good" on every crash test it performed—only the headlights were rated at "Marginal." The NHTSA has given the XC90 five stars overall, with only a four-star rating in the calculated rollover test.
We rate the XC90 at 8 out of 10 points for safety, as close to perfect as virtually any vehicle still capable of crashing will get. Starting with 5 as the average, we added 1 point each for its five-star overall NHTSA five-star rating, its uniform five-star ratings on every NHTSA test, its IIHS Top Safety Pick status, and its pair of new safety features that are world firsts. (Read more about how we rate cars this year.)
The latest XC90 includes two world-first safety systems. One is automatic braking at intersections, which slows or stops the car if a vehicle emerges into its path from the side or oncoming traffic. It’s been added to the standard City Safety package. Volvo calls its other world first Run Off Road Design: both the vehicle structure and its seats are designed to protect occupants against the forces experienced when a car leaves the surface of the road, whether it lands on soft ground or heads into a ditch, which may include flipping over or landing hard on its belly. Volvo took seven years to develop front passenger seats with a crushable member specifically to absorb the force of those hard landings, reducing spinal injuries to the occupants after their seatbelts have tightened to hold them firmly in the correct posture in their seats.
Other safety systems include expanded Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, first introduced in 2008 and now fully functional in daylight or at night; Pilot Assist, which is what Volvo calls its adaptive cruise control; and Park Assist Pilot, which will now let the car park itself not only in spaces parallel to its direction of travel, but also those perpendicular—as in stall parking. Also standard are lane departure warning and the very useful Road Sign Information system, which displays the prevailing speed limit and flashes the sign if the driver exceeds it by a significant amount. Then there’s Rear Collision Warning, which flashes the taillights if it senses a car behind approaching too fast, as well as pre-tensioning the seat belts and pre-charging the brakes to keep the car from being accelerated forward if hit.
Visibility from inside the new XC90 is good, considering its size and height. Unlike most competitors, its rear three-quarter windows actually provide a view to the rear sides. The rear-seat headrests can be flipped down when occupants aren’t in the seats—we did it by moving the seat forward and back, but we were told it could also be done from the driver’s seat—and a rear-view camera is standard.
The XC90's passenger-protection structure comes standard with seven airbags, and the usual suite of traction and stability control systems, anti-lock brakes, and so forth. It uses various different types of high-strength steel, with a few frontal members made of aluminum for better weight balance. The T8 plug-in hybrid model’s battery is located in the tunnel between the front seats, keeping it low and in the center of the car to protect it during collisions.
Finally, Volvo offers its trademark optional child booster cushion in the rear center position, which can pivot the seat cushion up and rearward to raise a child higher in the seat so the seat belt is optimally positioned on a smaller body.
2017 Volvo XC90
Against German competitors, even the $50,000 base model of the 2017 Volvo XC90 is well-equipped; luxury, sporty, and plug-in hybrid versions broaden the range
The 2017 Volvo XC90 adds a new T5 base model at a lower price to the T6 and T8 versions that introduced the new luxury SUV last year. The T5 has a less powerful engine—at 250 horsepower against the T6's 312 hp—but retains both all-wheel drive and a panoramic two-panel sunroof that lets a huge amount of light into the cabin as standard equipment. It starts at less than $50,000.
We rate the XC90 at 8 out of 10 points for its features, which come in slightly less expensive than German competitors. Starting with 5 as the average, we added 1 point each for excellent base content, smartly packaged options, and the excellent Sensus infotainment system. (Read more about how we rate cars this year.)
Last year, Volvo said its T6 Momentum model would represent fully 70 percent of all XC90 T6 models delivered, though the new T5 Momentum may take a few of those sales. All-wheel drive, leather upholstery, and heated seats come standard on the T6, but are separate options on the T5. But if you want the third row that offers a sixth and seventh seat, you'll have to start with the T6, which also offers a top-level Inscription package.
Volvo expects a majority of its Momentum models to include the Momentum Plus package, which wraps together LED headlights, high-pressure headlight washers, the “Thor’s Hammer” daytime running lights, wood inlays for the interior trim, illuminated sill plates, and interior lighting enhancements. Those features are also included in the R-Design and Inscription models.
Both the T5 and the T6 can also be specified with the sportier look of the R-Design trim level, which is purely a trim package, with no modifications to the powertrain or suspension. It consists of special sport seats with contrasting inserts, a choice of 20- or 22-inch alloy wheel designs, and various interior and exterior trim enhancements. Those include brightwork on the exterior, a unique grille and front fascia, twin tailpipes, and embellishments like a unique gear knob, pedals, and floor mats.
Options are combined into packages, plus a short list of individual items.
The Convenience package adds features that give the car some semi-autonomous driving capacities, including adaptive cruise control and the self-parking system that now handles both parallel spots and perpendicular stall parking. The Vision package bundles those electronic systems that give the XC90 “situational awareness,” including blind spot monitors, cross traffic braking, rear collision warning, and an upgraded surround-view camera.
The Climate package, expands on the standard heated front seats by adding a heated steering sheel, heated rear seats, and a heated windshield. Finally, the Luxury package for the T6 adds front seats with backrest massaging and a host of premium interior materials, including leather and Nubuck.
Among standalone options, the premium Bowers & Wilkins audio system may be most notable. It includes eleven speakers, one in a small round pod on top of the dashboard, plus a CD player—which is otherwise unavailable on the XC90, a progressive and perhaps daring stance for Volvo. Other separate options include air suspension, a very good head-up display for the driver, and and the integrated center booster seat in the second row.
At the top end of the model range is the XC90 T8 "Twin Engine" plug-in hybrid version, which comes standard with the Inscription trim from around $72,000. The sportier T8 R-Design version is available on this model too, but only the T8 has the Excellence trim level, the sole XC90 with a price of more than $100,000. It has everything under the sun, and no options at all. The plug-in hybrid XC90 models compete against the low-volume plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE (nee ML), which are priced in roughly the same league.
Finally, two U.S. accessory packages are available, installed either at the port or by the dealer: The Rugged Luxury package adds skid plates, running boards, contrasting rubber fender flares, and 22-inch all-season tires, while the Urban Luxury package includes color-coordinated fender flares and 21-inch polished alloy wheels.
2017 Volvo XC90
The 2017 Volvo XC90 gets decent fuel-economy ratings from its small engine, and it's the sole seven-seat SUV that offers a plug-in hybrid model
Seven-seat SUVs aren't known for their fuel economy, but the 2017 Volvo XC90 achieves decent ratings with its segment—and it offers a plug-in hybrid version too.
We rate the XC90 at 6 out of 10 points for fuel efficiency, given its combined EPA ratings of less than 25 mpg for the volume models. Its low-volume plug-in hybrid model is slightly better, but has no more range than competitors. (Read more about how we rate cars this year.)
In base all-wheel-drive trim, the XC90 T5 manages 22 mpg city, 25 highway, 23 combined, according to the EPA. (Last year's base version had only front-wheel drive and a 24-mpg combined rating, but it's not offered for 2017.) The more powerful T6 version uses the same 2.0-liter engine, but in addition to the turbocharger, it's supercharged as well—dropping the numbers to 20 city, 25 highway, 22 combined.
Note that premium fuel is recommended for all versions of the XC90. The T6 model also comes standard with Volvo’s start-stop function, which is unobtrusive in operation and both smooth and quick to restart the engine when a driver’s foot starts to lift off the brake.
At the top of the range is the XC90 T8 'Twin Engine' plug-in hybrid model, with a rated 13 miles of all-electric range and a combined fuel-economy rating of 25 mpg when running as a hybrid after its battery is depleted. Running on electricity alone, the EPA rates the T8's energy efficiency at 54 MPGe. (Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, or MPGe, is a measure of how far a car can drive electrically on the same amount of energy as contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.) The best plug-in hybrid this year, the Toyota Prius Prime, is rated at 133 MPGe, but it's a very, very different type of vehicle. Still, 54 MPGe is low across the full spectrum of plug-in hybrid vehicles.