2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid

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$63,450

starting MSRP

2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid
2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid

Key specs

Base trim shown

SUV

Body style

27
Combined MPGe Combined MPGe

Miles per gallon-equivalent is how the EPA provides efficiency ratings for battery-electric vehicles in a way that can be used in comparison with gasoline-powered vehicles. Actual mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, driving habits, elevation changes, weather, accessory usage (lights, climate control), vehicle condition and other factors.

Related: Top 10 Most Efficient Electric Cars
18 mi.
EPA-est. range EPA-est. range

EPA-estimated range is the distance, or predicted distance, a new plug-in vehicle will travel on electric power before its battery charge is exhausted. Actual range will vary depending on driving conditions, driving habits, elevation changes, weather, accessory usage (lights, climate control), vehicle condition and other factors.

Related: Electric Cars With The Longest Range
3 hrs.
Level 2 charging Level 2 charging

Charge time estimates are based on using a 240-volt charging circuit charging from empty to 100% battery capacity. Level 2 is the fastest way to charge at home, though charging times can vary and are dependent on factors such as the capabilities of the charging circuit, charging equipment and the vehicle’s onboard charger.

11 kWh
Battery capacity Battery capacity

Battery capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours, which is a measure of how much energy is used over time. A 70-kWh battery has more energy capacity than a 50-kWh battery and would result in a longer driving range if all other factors were equal. But more battery capacity doesn’t always mean longer range because of differences in energy consumption from vehicle to vehicle.

7

Seating capacity

194.9” x 69.9”

Dimensions

All-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

5 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid review: Our expert's take

By Aaron Bragman

Volvo’s electrification strategy is particularly interesting. In some cases, you have full electric models, like the new 2021 XC40 Recharge. In other cases, you have hybridized models, all of which exist at the top of the regular model range, like the 2021 S90 Recharge T8 or this 2021 XC90 Recharge T8 (both plug-in hybrid models and previously known only as T8s). And if you want something related but just a little different, Volvo’s Chinese parent company, Zhejiang Geely, has started up an entirely new brand called Polestar, which sells pure electric vehicles based on shared platforms and components from Volvo models. 

Related: Volvo Amps Up 2020 XC90 With Mild-Hybrid Version

2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge charging port 2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

The Ride

The plug-in hybrids like the XC90 I tested use a combination of gasoline and stored electricity to power the vehicle, enabling a mix of internal combustion and electric-motor systems or allowing for a full electric experience up to a limited speed and range. They feature a driver-selectable Pure setting that keeps the SUV in electric mode, even if you have the climate control running, with the idea of allowing you to commute to work in electric mode and then charge the battery overnight at home. It’s meant to offer the best of both worlds: pure EV power for your commute, but still retaining the gasoline engine in case your needs extend beyond commuting. As long as you keep filling the vehicle with gas, you can keep driving indefinitely, something that’s not as easy to do with a pure EV, which requires a longer recharge time with more limited range.

The 2021 XC90 Recharge T8 uses Volvo’s “Twin Engine” powertrain, a supercharged-and-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s augmented by an 87-horsepower electric motor to generate a combined 400 hp and 472 pounds-feet of torque, making it the most powerful version of the XC90 you can buy. It’s also EPA-rated to go 18 miles on electricity alone before the gas engine kicks in, allowing you to go up to 520 miles before needing to put more gas in the tank. For 2020, Volvo updated this powertrain to include a kinetic energy-recovery braking system with brake-by-wire technology, which it says reduces fuel consumption and emissions. I wanted to see just how far this comfortable SUV, which can be outfitted to seat up to seven passengers, could go on just its battery power alone before the gas engine kicked in. 

2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge touchscreen 2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

The Route

Testing a plug-in hybrid in winter presents some challenges. My route doesn’t change: It’s a simple run from my driveway in Ann Arbor, Mich., to a barbecue restaurant in Dearborn, Mich., and back. The combination of city streets and higher-speed boulevards is a good mix of conditions to see just how far the vehicle can go on electric power alone. I keep the climate control off, since using it with air conditioning can drop range by a couple of miles, or in the winter it usually either activates the gas engine to generate heat or uses an electric heater that can sap range just as much as air conditioning. The windows are up, tires adjusted for proper pressure, and gas tank and battery both full. My driving style is calm and relaxed: Despite selecting the Pure mode to keep the XC90 Recharge in electric driving mode, too much accelerator pedal will punt you into gasoline mode because it uses the engine to help deliver more thrust than the electric motor can provide on its own.

The Results

The Volvo XC90 Recharge is rated to go 18 miles on electricity, but my testing turned in a total distance traveled of 20.8 miles before the gas engine kicked in — slightly more than advertised. This isn’t uncommon; I’ve found most plug-in hybrids can outperform their EPA-rated range when driven carefully. Recharging the XC90 Recharge can be done via the Level 2 plug in the front fender or by activating a mode in the touchscreen that runs the gasoline engine to recharge the battery over time. It’s not the most efficient way to recharge the battery (that would be plugging into an outlet), but if you need to recharge the battery on the way to a zero-emissions zone so you can enter it on EV power alone, the XC90 will let you. Admittedly, this is a much more common condition in European cities that have congestion charges for their inner-city regions, but such zones have been discussed for American cities as well.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Aaron Bragman
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.2
  • Performance 3.7
  • Value for the money 3.1
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 3.1

Most recent consumer reviews

4.0

Rechargeable battery, not working intermittent ch

First test drive the XC90 T8 very impressive with the performance, drove home on the highway car had a lot of vibration, I didn't expect neither suspected the tires of the brand new car would do that, for about 2 months I still still driving the car around town the vibration didn't bother me too much my first initial thought was the steering technology or how it worked then my AC is not working schedule an appointment going to take about 2 weeks in about 1 week later it working fine, I took it to get checked anyway, they replaced the compressor and new refrigerants , I took a long trip in the sommer, AC not working again, this time they changed the capacitor because it intermittent, in about 20000 miles the rechargeable battery wouldn't charge, dealer replaced the charger cable, now at 30000 miles the battery intermittent charging again, it takes two weeks to schedule in order for me to have a loaner to drive home, first time own European car and I did aware of the Volvo electrical issues but that was in the early 2000's, overall I enjoyed the car, handling and performance is great, the technology in there is helping my long drive alot and stuck in traffic PS: I still giving Volvo chance and pray for theirs engineers to get theirs act together.

2.0

Volvo XC90 Recharge - NOT RECOMMENDED (Unreliable)

Hello. I have a Volvo XC90 Hybrid Inscription (top model and hybrid vehicle, priced around $75 to 85K). The car suddenly began to blow COLD AIR instead of HOT AIR. Then, I called the dealership and they said I had to wait 4 weeks to have "a defective electric heater" part replaced. Instead of carrying these parts, since they know they are defective, the dealership waits until a customer has an issue to order a part. I am currently going to have to drive my car for 4 weeks while I wait for this part with NO HEAT. I live in Minnesota and temps are currently between -25F and 20F, very cold. In other words, I would NOT recommend the car. I am currently working with Volvo to end my lease as early as possible and will likely never do business with Volvo again.

1.0

Read this review before you buy

2023 XC90 Recharge: a nightmare. TCAM issues causing the car to become a huge paperweight. 3 repairs in the first month. That was when you could find a new TCAM. They are no longer available so the car would be useless. Now we are hearing of heating issues when in electric mode. This is a "Beta Test Car" and just like others have said, "Volvo has no idea how to fix the software problems". When the car actually worked it was great, powerful, we got 30-miles of pure electric driving. Beautiful interior, comfortable. But all of that doesn't matter if the car doesn't. This was our first and will be our last Volvo because Volvo won't admit that they have sold thousands of PHEV's that have many software problems.

See all 15 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Volvo
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
144 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
48 months/50,000 miles
Hybrid electric
96 months/100,000 miles
Maintenance
36 months/36,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Less than 5 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
5 years/unlimited miles , upgradeable up to 10 years
Powertrain
N/A
Dealer certification required
170- plus point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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