Volvo V90 plug-in hybrid long-term test review

In theory, a plug-in hybrid estate like the V90 T6 should be ideal for someone living on the edge of a big city. Our editorial director is finding out if it also makes sense in reality...

Volvo V90 T6 Inscription long-term review

The car Volvo V90 T6 PHEV Inscription  Run by Jim Holder, editorial director

Why it’s here Can a large plug-in hybrid estate really deliver great fuel economy as well as carry-all practicality?

Needs to deliver A premium experience all round, from interior comfort and capability through to driving dynamics, while also hitting diesel-like efficiency

Mileage 1148 List price £56,800 Target Price £53,440 Price as tested £65,440 Test economy 37.9mpg Official economy 134.5mpg Options fitted Lounge Pack £1950 (premium sound system, panoramic roof, air cleaner); Active dampers and rear air-suspension £1500; Retractable towbar £1175; Lighting pack £875 (active headlights and headlight cleaning system); 20-inch multispoke wheels £800; metallic Denim Blue paint £715 Climate pack £500 (heated windscreen, steering wheel and rear seats); 360-degree parking camera £525; bike carrier £500; Rear bumper protection £100

11 September 2021 – The perfect travelling companion

What do you want from an estate car above all else? Most likely space.

The V90 delivers in every area: there’s plenty of room up front, complemented by seating that adjusts every which way, and a plethora of cubby holes. Only the drop-through door handles and shallower-than-expected central storage area are a minor letdown.

It’s worth noting too that the huge panoramic roof, a feature that bathes this big car in light, does nothing to compromise headroom for me, at 195cm tall.

Volvo V90 LT rear seats

There’s no compromise in the back, either, as these test volunteers discovered while being taken to Norfolk on holiday in a fully loaded car. Sat behind two tall adults, they not only had enough room to stretch their legs, but were also able to sit three abreast – comfortably enough to catch a few extra winks before hitting the beach.

In fact, there’s probably enough room across the rear bench for three full-sized adults to sit comfortably for an hour or so, if not for a four-hour trip to the coast. The V90 is wider than the Audi A6, and it’s here it really tells.

What’s more, everyone was able to sit comfortably without the need to balance bags on their knees. The boot is large and usable, with no load lip to hamper you as you load up, and a good square shape to help you slide in your cases.

Volvo V90 LT boot space

Here, the Volvo matches the A6 pretty much identically. The Mercedes E-Class can take even more, but it’s a moot point just how much more anyone could really want or need.

Everyone arrived fresh, happy and with enough wetsuits, towels and the like for a great trip away. Adding another layer of lustre, the V90 returned after the 350-mile run there and back having recorded 41mpg. That's despite setting off with its electric capability all but drained by a previous outing.

While that’s well below our everyday 2000-mile average of just over 50mpg (boosted by lots of sub-25-mile town trips on electricity alone), it's still decent given the worst-case scenario of running at high motorway speeds and on stop-start country lanes with no battery charge.

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