These are strange times. My mother has managed to dig out her World War 2 ration books, “just in case”. While my children are telling me that I really shouldn’t be going out. It used to be the other way round.
The highlight of a given lockdown day tends to be when someone sends me a whacky video, most of which tend to revolve around lavatory rolls. Who puts these videos together? Thank you, whomever you are.
There’s no doubt for many, that enforced quality time with the family is one of the few upsides of our current predicament. Indeed, the weekend before Boris told us all to stay home, my family and I managed to escape to the seaside.
There were seven of us in total, and we all rode in comfort in one of the only cars that could deliver such a thing: the latest Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine.
So, why the ‘Twin Engine’? Well, power comes from two sources: the front wheels are driven via a 300bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine, while the rear wheels are powered by an 86bhp electric motor. Both work in tandem to give you a four-wheel drive hybrid that is surprisingly quick and, in the right conditions, reassuringly frugal.
Zero-60mph takes a seriously impressive 5.8 seconds; top speed is 147mph. If you have a daily commute (remember them?) in the region of 29 miles, you’ll be able to manage that using battery power alone and then charge the battery overnight. Volvo says that close to 100mpg is possible but, being realistic, you’ll be looking at mid-30s mpg which is still OK for a car of this size and weight.
Oh and because this is a hybrid, it will make sense as a company car; you won’t have to pay the congestion charge.
Two trim levels are available: R-Design (from £67,495) and Inscription (from £68,695). The R-Design is aimed at folk who want a slightly more sporty appearance with more black exterior trim, dark tinted windows, superb sports seats and natty alloys, while the Inscription goes down a more subtle route with increased levels of chrome. Both are available with a ‘Pro’ upgrade. This adds around £6k to the price but includes stuff like heated steering wheel, 22inch alloys, adaptive air suspension and increased levels of tech.
If you’ve not been in a Volvo lately, you’re in for a shock. The interior trim quality is outstanding. It’s up there with the German marques. The T8 also comes fully loaded with sat nav, electric everything, and cruise control. There’s also a really handy app that allows you to pre-heat or cool the car’s interior from your mobile phone.
Out on the road, this big Volvo rides quite firmly because the suspension needs to cope with a lot of weight and the potential for a lot of power and performance. However, it’s not uncomfortable and rather gives the car a pleasantly sporty feel. For the best ride, stick with the smaller alloys and go for the air suspension.
If you’ve not been in a Volvo lately, you’re in for a shock
Of course, the main reason for buying a car like this is because you intend on transporting the family. Some seven seater cars are really five seats for adults and a third row only fit for your local Hobbits. Not so with the XC90. OK, average-sized adults wouldn’t want to spend hours in the back row, but for short journeys, there’s ample room.
There’s a surprising number of seven seat SUVs now on the market: the XC90, Audi Q7 and Land Rover Discovery are pricey examples while something like the SKODA Kodiaq or Kia Sorento are cheaper options.
However, if you want serious performance with the potential for decent fuel economy and tax savings for business drivers, the Volvo XC90 makes a lot of sense.
Throw in the fact that it’s great to drive, seriously comfy, incredibly safe (it is a Volvo, after all), fully loaded and with a top-notch build quality, the Volvo XC90 T8 rates as one of the best family holdalls around.
When this is all over – whenever that may be – the Volvo XC90 T8 will be ready and waiting.
See more at volvocars.com/uk