Volvo S90 T8 Hybrid test, driving report

Volvo S90 T8 Hybrid test, driving report

Reduced engine software

It’s been easy for Volvo. Anyone who leads a new Swede today does so mainly as a plug-in hybrid. Non-electric petrol engines and especially diesels have long been abandoned in Gothenburg and therefore the range of engines is now very limited, even for the large S90 sedan. 173 kW/235 hp mild hybrid petrol engine or T8 Recharge AWD driven here with maximum 335 kW/455 hp (combined fuel consumption: 5.8-0.8 l/100 km; Combined CO2 Emissions: 152 -17 g/km²

The powerful sounding 228 kW/310 hp 2.0-liter turbo compressor and 107 kW/145 hp electric motor on the rear axle go into high gear, although one has to ask what are you doing with the whole thing to begin with? Like all new Volvos, the S90 is also software-controlled at a speed of 180 km/h, with the exception of emergency vehicles.

The low power of the engine may have curbed the thirst for fuel, because Volvo is not satisfied with 0.8 liters per 100 kilometers measured according to WLTP. According to the driving profile, an impressive nine liters flow through the injection nozzles, and the electric range of the battery, which has been extended for the 2023 model year, is up to 70 kilometers under daily conditions.

Front Volvo S90 2023 Side

Only 70 kilometers on electricity, but only charge with 3.7 kW

The 14.9 kWh net battery is integrated inconspicuously at the back of the car and not at the expense of the 500 liter trunk or driving characteristics. What is troubling, however, is that the plug-in hybrid can only charge with a measly 3.7 kW. Based on the current S-Class (but also in A, B, C-Class, etc.), Mercedes presents a more sensible and modern alternative.

For a little change, you can order the current direct charging option for PHEVs there. It’s great if you want a quick recharge to save fuel during a coffee break on the highway. Volvo S90, on the other hand, hangs on the cable for more than five hours when the battery is empty – neither nice words nor extra euros will help.

Recently, the Swedes have introduced what is known as “One Pedal Driving” in their temporary electric vehicles. This makes mechanical braking almost redundant due to the regenerative power of an electric car and was originally intended to promote the joy of electric driving. It’s ridiculous that this fun doesn’t come in the power column.

Apart from the charge issue, however, the S90 sedan drives quite well, and thanks to the heavy battery pack it is also fully charged. At the rear there is an optional air suspension, at the front a responsive steering wheel ensures direct maneuverability.

Volvo S90 2023 front cockpit

Strong acceleration in Sport mode, up to 140 km / h on electricity

The eight-speed automatic from Aisin usually works inconspicuously in the background, it’s just that there is little shifting maneuverability. The system output of 455 hp (taking a full battery) is quite noticeable in game mode, but in normal driving conditions (or when the battery is empty) the hybrid car seems to lie in place.

The clean line of electricity really surprised us. Rear-wheel drive 145 hp drives the 2.2-ton vehicle for performance over the city, country and even on highway trails. Electric top speed is 140 km/h and in wet corners the heavy rear battery pushes outwards without the help of the front axle.

Volvo S90 2023 front seats

Quality interior and comfortable seats

At the same time, the very well-appointed interior offers few points of criticism. The S90 sedan built in China shines with a high-quality selection of materials, everything is convenient, convenient and airy. The optional leather seats are a real plus and kind of a unique selling point in this class of car. There is a lot of space in front, in the second row only for tall people for mutual understanding. There is also a lack of early bedroom. Here the Swedes separate a few centimeters from the S-Class, 7 Series and A8.

Volvo S90 2023 front seats

Not all assistants deliver what they promise

From the point of view of the infotainment system, Google Automotive is now also added as an operating system in the S90, which mostly works as it should. The search field on the map mask only disappeared once, which required a detour via voice input, which at least worked very well. Unfortunately, there’s still no inductive charging option for phones, and Apple CarPlay continues to work only with a cable.

Entrants are served standard Volvo fare. The S90 drives, steers and brakes with computer assistance at a consistent rate, only traffic signs are recognized very poorly. Unfortunately, the Swedish sedan shares one thing with sister brand Polestar 2: very poor surround cameras and their low resolution.



Despite its age, the Volvo S90 still passes as a (expensive) parade sedan. Good looks, comfortable and best craftsmanship, people love to handle long range in it. It would also have a good eight-cylinder engine – but times have changed. Today, a four-cylinder and a part-time electric motor should suffice. A compromise that wouldn’t be one if you didn’t still rely on 10-year-old charging technology in 2022. (Text and photos: Thomas Vogelhuber)

Technical details*

  • Example: Volvo S90 Recharge T8 AWD Ultimate Hybrid Plug-in
  • Engine: Inline four-cylinder, supercharged and turbocharged, 1,969 cc
  • electric motor: Electric rear axle drive with lithium-ion battery
  • System performance: maximum 335 kW/445 hp
  • Torque: 309 Nm gasoline engine + 400 Nm electric motor
  • Run: All-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Common uses: 0.8L/100km²
  • CO2 emissions include: 17 g/km²
  • Acceleration (0-100 km/h): Sec 4.7
  • Top speed: 180km/h
  • Dimensions (L/W/H): 4.96m/1.88m/1.44m
  • Weight: approximately 2,110 kg
  • base price: from 75,500 euros

* Manufacturer’s information