2017 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription fails to meet journalist's expectations
I’m proficient at sorting out Tech. 2017 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription hybrid has me just a bit befuddled. In short, Volvo’s state of the art plug-in electric/gasoline hybrid SUV is just a tad complicated, and comes standard equipped with a doable, yet steep learning curve. Our friends at Volvo tell us that their touchscreen interface becomes second nature with practice. Certainly...
Frankly, after a week behind the wheel, I find the much-awarded XC90 T6 to be the superior purchase value of the two. But then again, that's a very personal assessment. Read my latest XC90 T6 drive review here.
There’s a reason why you’ll find a digitized owner’s manual, accessed via touchscreen, on one of, if not the finest segmented, dash mounted monitors in the luxury SUV segment -- you’ll need it. Volvo’s flagship hybrid SUV remains a mystery as to what’s gained here by combining the very fuel efficient engine found in this car, with an 80 horsepower electric motor. Certainly, the gained combined horsepower and torque is a given, however, the advantage of combining a very responsive, fuel efficient engine with a high-torque output electric motor does not translate to segment topping fuel efficiency.
Unfortunately on the drive experience side of this equation XC90 T8’s steering feels dead center, and largely non responsive, handles a bit nose heavy on the downhill, and comes standard equipped with a very unique regenerative brake pedal response.
My week in the seat began with a bit of an MPG mystery
Looking to the average MPG fuel efficiency of the delivery run up from Los Angeles, I noted 21, a tad low for this state of the art plug-in gasoline/electric motivated 3-row SUV.
But then again, I didn’t drive the 800 mile (+) journey from Los Angeles to Eugene, Oregon, and couldn’t attest to weather conditions, average speed, or the delivery driver’s driving style. Nonetheless, I’d spent ample seat time in the non hybrid XC90 T6, and had bettered the T8’s hybrid MPG by 4. What was going on here? Was there any fuel efficiency advantage found in Volvo’s 3-row hybrid flagship? Note: (A well equipped entry level T8 comes to market with a beginning MSRP of $68,900 +.) I was hoping to better the Los Angeles trip MPG average.
Our XC90 T8 Inscription tester was initially delivered without the dual mode 110/220 Volt charge cord. So, on arrival, Volvo’s flagship hybrid SUV showed ZERO battery reserve on the electric side of the equation. I was convinced that ZERo electric charge reserve factored into the relatively low MPG. Don’t need an SUV but want near autonomous driving and safety features, read my S90 T6 drive review here on the back roads of Oregon.
A beautiful example of Swedish engineering, visually stunning!