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Volvo’s flagship is here: the XC90 T8


The Volvo brand is experiencing a massive resurgence in the global market, which has perhaps not been mirrored in quite the same way locally however, we’ll catch on eventually.

The reason for the brand’s recent form is the fact that its new XC90 has everyone excited about the brand and what future models may hold. I recently had a go in the best that the brand has to offer, the XC90 T8.

Exterior and interior

I won’t go into too much detail here because in terms of interior and exterior styling and trim, the T8 offers very little difference from the existing XC90 range locally.  Although there is a crystal gear lever inside and of course, the instrument cluster now has more figures pertaining to the hybrid drive system. Outside, the only visual aspect that differs - apart from the badge - is a port at the front left quarter panel of the car where one will charge the electric motor, but I won’t get ahead of myself here.


The T8 has a very serious party piece; an exceptionally advanced hybrid powertrain. The total output available when both the electric and petrol motors are being used is 300kW/640Nm. The power split comes from a 235kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo and supercharged motor and then the remaining 65kW/240Nm from an electric motor, which uses a 9.2 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack.


The petrol motor drives the front wheels while the electric power unit drives the rear, making the T8 all-wheel-drive when used in the correct mode. The fact that the car features an all-wheel-drive system of sorts and a fairly large battery pack, made me think that space would be compromised however, Volvo claims that due to its scalable architecture, even with  seven seats in place, it still has luggage space, which varies from 262 to 1 005 litres.

What’s the benefit?

The Swedish manufacturer listed the benefit of electrification in combination with internal combustion as being two-fold: performance and consumption, which are mutually exclusive, of course. Yes, the car will get from 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 230km/h but not while consuming the claimed 2.1 litres/100km.

The idea is that the car can be set-up using various modes to be able to offer zero emissions driving (up to 43km all-electric driving), low fuel consumption or performance or even off-road ability. I could see that ultra-low consumption figures were achievable in hybrid mode and also that a great deal of performance was on offer in power mode however, it’s all dependant on how the vehicle is set up and of course, how one drives,

What do you mean by Mode?

There are several modes the driver can select in the centre console, which affects the vehicle’s driving persona. These settings include:Pure, which means that the vehicle is running on electricity only; Hybrid, which makes use of both power units in the most efficient way possible and Power, which utilises all the power from both motors to provide as much performance as possible. There are two other modes too, namely: AWD, which provides drive to all four wheels by forcing both motors to run and Off-road,which takes AWD to the next level by engaging the Hill Descent Control system as well as an electronically-controlled limited slip differential, at speeds up to 40km/h.

Is it overly complicated to charge?

From my experience…No. It can be charged at any earthed, two-pin Schuko-type power outlet in South Africa. Don’t have a Schuko adapter? Volvo assured us that one can be easily installed at very low cost by any certified electrician. The car can be charged in around three hours from empty however, the amperage on the transformer can be adjusted so that the batteries life - as well as your electricity costs - can be controlled by the owner. 

Safety for days...

Contributing to its five-star Euro NCAP safety rating is IntelliSafe with City Safety. This includes: Pedestrian and Cyclist detection (day and night), Front Collision Warning with full Auto Brake, Auto Brake at Intersections, Run-off-road mitigation with impact-absorbing seats, Driver Alert control with Lane Departure warning, Road Sign information as well as six airbags amongst many other features.

Warranty and service

The XC90 T8 is available as standard with a five-year/100 000km warranty and a five-year/ 100 000km Volvo Plan, Tracker Connect and laminated glass.


Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD Momentum  R1 053 400
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD Inscription     R1 092 100
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD R-Design  R1 117 700                     



Article written by Sean Nurse
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