2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 AWD Review: The 3-Row Plug-In Hybrid

The 2023 Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge plug-in hybrid represents the pinnacle of Scandinavian automotive engineering, seamlessly blending luxury, performance, and sustainability into a single package. With its sleek design, cutting-edge technology, and environmentally conscious powertrain, this flagship SUV sets a new standard for eco-friendly luxury vehicles. From its refined interior to its exhilarating driving experience, the XC90 T8 Recharge delivers on all fronts, promising a guilt-free journey without compromising style or sophistication. In this review, we will have a look into the standout features and qualities that make the 2023 Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge a true contender in the 3-row luxury SUV market.

Volvo is on a path to full electrification. However, it’s not fully there yet. So, in the meantime, we get cars like the XC90 T8 Recharge, which still uses traditional gasoline engines but with help from electric motors and small battery packs. Volvo offers fully electric vehicles like the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge, in addition to other plug-in vehicles like the XC60, S90, S60, and V60 Recharge. Volvo is also introducing a new three-row fully electric flagship SUV called the EX90, which will go on next year, and a yet-to-be-released smaller SUV called the EX30.

Front view of a 2023 Volvo XC90 T8 on a dirt road

A Brief History of the Volvo XC90

The first-generation Volvo XC90 was introduced in 2002 at the NAIAS (North American International Auto Show), and production of the first generation XC90 lasted until 2014. Volvo introduced the second-generation XC90 in 2014, and sales began in 2015. The 2nd generation XC90 is still in production, and that’s the one we got the keys to last week for our regular weekly review. 

2023 Volvo XC90 Canadian Prices

The Volvo XC90 is available with a gasoline-only (mild hybrid) or plug-in hybrid powertrain. The gasoline-only XC90 B6 AWD has a starting price of $70,950 and comes in three trims. The XC90 Recharge T8 AWD plug-in hybrid is also offered in three trims. The base XC90 T8 has a starting price of $82,650, the XC90 T8 Plus starts at $87,600, and the top-of-the-line XC90 T8 Recharge Ultimate starts at $93,550 Canadian.

Our review car was the 2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate; the as-tested price was $99,650 plus Freight & PDI of $2,315. Our review car came with the Lounge Package ($1,700), Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system ($3,750), and 4-Corner Air Suspension with Four-C Active Chassis ($2,350).

What Powers the Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 Plug-In Hybrid?

Like the Volvo S90 Recharge, S60 Recharge, and XC60 Recharge, the XC90 Recharge is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged and supercharger engine that features an electric motor. The gasoline engine produces 312 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and the electric motor produces 143 at 5,900 rpm. The combined output is 455 horsepower. The gasoline engine produces 295 pound-feet of torque between 3,000 – 5,400 rpm, while the electric motor produces 228 pound-feet between 0 – 3,280 rpm, for a combined output of 523 lb.-ft. Power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.

Volvo XC90 Driving Range & Efficiency

The XC90’s claimed all-electric range is 53 kilometers, slightly lower than the 58 kilometers range of the XC60 Recharge and the 61 km range of the S90 Recharge. The XC90 is a bigger and heavier vehicle and is boxier than the aforementioned. The all-electric driving range will vary depending on driving style and the ambient temperatures. Click here to check the official government fuel economy number.

Our review took place in warm spring weather, with the onboard computer showing a range of 55 to 59 kilometers when fully charged. With the batteries fully depleted, the XC90 T8 is rated at 8.1 liters/100 kilometers of fuel consumption in combined driving.

When I picked up the XC90, the batteries were fully depleted, and the onboard computer showed an all-electric range of 0 kilometers. I drove about 50 kilometers with the batteries fully depleted; I averaged 9.0 l/100 km in about 80/20 highway/city driving. After charging it overnight, using a standard 120-volt outlet, I didn’t need to use the gasoline engine for the remainder of the week, with my normal commute being around 40 kilometers per day.

Charging the XC90 T8 using a 120-volt outlet is slow, but the batteries were fully charged daily after my regular commute. Using a 3.6 kW AC charger reduces the charging time to 5 hours.

Driving the 2023 Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge

Driving the XC90 T8 is a relaxing experience; with our optional air suspension, the ride was silky smooth. The suspension tuning is on the softer side for a comfortable ride on the road; I didn’t get the opportunity to drive it on rocky/dirt roads, but I would think the ride would be quite comfortable.

The electric motor is more than enough to motivate this large SUV in city traffic and can easily keep up with traffic on the highway. However, pressing the accelerator hard will bring the gasoline engine to life to assist with acceleration if you need to accelerate in a hurry. The transmission shifts gears smoothly, and the transition from electric to gasoline power is smooth and unnoticeable. Overall, it’s a relaxing driving vehicle that should transport the entire family in comfort and luxury.

Volvo XC90 Exterior Styling & Interior

Side view of Volvo XC90 Plug-In hybrid in a forest

The Volvo XC90 has been on sale for 8 years, yet it doesn’t look like an “old” design. The design still looks fresh and is quite stylish. Over the last 8 years, there have been minor tweaks here and there, but the overall design is still the original. The new EX90 looks quite similar to the XC90’s design. The XC90 shares the same Volvo family design language, with “Thor’s Hammer” headlights and an overall elegant style. The XC90 has a sleek and modern look. Volvo’s signature grille dominates the front end, while the rear end features LED taillights. Our test car came with beautiful 21-inch wheels; these wheels are quite attractive and reminded me of Sweden (I’ve never been to Sweden, but every time I looked at them, I felt like I was in Sweden.)

The interior hasn’t had any significant changes over the years other than using Google’s UI for the infotainment system. The interior uses the same minimalist Swedish design, it looks great, but the infotainment system does look small now, with most manufacturers offering the biggest screens they can fit in their interiors.

Looking at the interior of the XC90

The overall quality of the interior is excellent, with soft-touch material, beautiful leather, and excellent fit and finish. The interior is extremely quiet and a comfortable place to be in. The seats look great, provide the perfect amount of support, and would be great on long trips. Our car came with the built-in booster seat in the second row, a great addition for families with children needing booster seats.

The XC90 also comes with all the latest tech consumers expect from modern cars, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, park assist, heated/cooled seats, massage seats (optional), multiple USB ports, panoramic sunroof, and more. For a complete list of all the available features on the XC90, please visit the Volvo Canada website.

Final Thoughts

The Volvo XC90 is an excellent choice for families looking for a large 3-row SUV that can be had as a mild hybrid or a plug-in hybrid with a decent all-electric range. The XC90 is a styling SUV with a beautiful interior that’s luxurious and spacious.

If you’re in the market for a vehicle like this, make sure to put the XC90 on your list of vehicles to test drive.




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Meet Faisal, the co-founder of the uber-cool men's lifestyle site Unfinished Man. With a wicked 10+ years in the game as a pro automotive photographer and reviewer, he's got an eye for capturing those sleek rides like nobody else. Oh, and when he's not behind the camera, you'll find him dishing out some serious horology love, writing about all things watches.

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