Final Report - 7th August 2019
I’m afraid this final report on our time with the Volvo V90 T8 plug-in hybrid is going to be a bit of a love-in.
There are two main aspects we wanted to assess with the V90 PHEV: how the V90 performed as a large estate car and how efficient it proved as a plug-in electric vehicle.
Over 8000 miles we achieved 37.7mpg. That’s some way off the official figure of 97.4mpg, but I don’t know of a similarly sized, conventional ICE car with 400hp and a 0-60mph time of 5.3 seconds that will even get close to that figure.
The day-to-day economy depended on the type of journey. With a battery good for 25 miles, all my local travel was electric, and it wasn’t rare to see trips recorded at ‘infinite mpg’ in the connected app. Take a long motorway trip, though, and that figure stuck to around 30mpg.
But it wasn’t just the plug-in aspect that made the V90 great. It excelled as a premium large estate. The boot is a healthy 560 litres, which in our case had Volvo’s own dog cage fitted to keep the pooches separate from each other.
The interior look and feel also sets the V90 apart from rivals. There’s a simplicity and elegance to the design, helped hugely by the large central control screen, but there are also high-quality materials and comfortable seats. It all adds up to make the V90 cabin a place in which you feel relaxed and at home.
We’re genuinely sad to see the V90 go and can highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a premium large estate.
Update - 26th June 2019
Lots of cars claim to be ‘connected’ but the Volvo V90 truly is through the Volvo On Call app.
The list of things you can do from the app is lengthy, so I’ll just stick to the things I use the most frequently.
You can pre-heat or cool the car, which is brilliant, because you can do this either immediately or via a timer. You can also start the car remotely.
I often check the petrol and battery levels and also the economy stats from the most recent journeys – you can even label the journeys and filter them to help with business mileage claims.
But best of all, the app will alert you if you’ve left the car unlocked, and then, of course, you can lock (or unlock) it – even if you’re in a different country.
Third Report - 12th June 2019
Shortly after the V90 arrived, I booked a trip to the Outer Hebrides (from south east England), thinking it would be the perfect companion.
However, as the time approached the kind people at Volvo suggested that perhaps it would be better to take a D5 version as a comparison to our T8 PHEV. After all, diesel is still the fuel of choice for high-mileage drivers.
So, over Easter I put more than 1500 miles on a 235hp 2.0-litre D5 and kept a careful track of my fuel consumption.
The comparison with the past 7500 miles in the 400hp T8 is interesting.
The overall mpg for the PHEV has been 37.7mpg, for the diesel it was 38.0mpg. Using the AA’s average fuel figures, this means the PHEV costs 14.6p a mile in petrol while the D5 costs 15.6p a mile.
So that’s a win for the PHEV, then, yes? Not necessarily, the D5 was fully laden and had a roofbox on for the full 1500 miles. On the T8, there’s also the cost of electricity to factor in. Over the 7500 miles, including a lot of urban miles, charging has cost me an additional 1.6p, taking the total cost per mile for fuel to 16.2p. The diesel V90 is also cheaper by a considerable distance.
So, this shows that the costs depend on the type of driving, but also, you don’t have to sacrifice pace to get decent figures.
Update - 15th May 2019
It is a little self-indulgent, but when we ordered the Company Car TodayV90 T8 PHEV we specified Volvo’s own dog cage, because, well, we have dogs and it’s a Volvo estate. The two things go together like gin and tonic.
In fact, the Rule 57 of the Highway Code says you’re supposed to restrain your dog in a car, and that a cage is one option for this.
At £940 for the four-part cage, it’s both competitively priced against other made-to-measure items and incredibly well engineered, including a lockable, gas-strut, door.
It also means you can load one side of the boot with luggage and not risk it falling on the dog, which she’s happy about.
Second Report - 1st May 2019
Clearly, I cursed the V90 when I ‘complained’ about it being too good. I’ve now had my first (and hopefully only) trip to the local Volvo dealer for a little bit of warranty work.
The problem that needed fixing was that the panel with buttons for the standard powered memory seats pre-sets and the door lock override sank into the door trim and jammed on. Fortunately, it jammed in my seat position.
Volvo Cars Guildford, my local dealer, were able to look after me with a while-you-wait appointment, and the switches were fixed in a trifling 45 minutes. Even better is the fact that they’ve been absolutely fine ever since.
The small issue with the memory seat button did bring home the equipment-laden nature of the V90 in R-Design Plus trim.
There are two things I’m finding useful. First, the head-up display, which really helps keep your eyes on the road while providing navigation info and the speed limit of the road. Second, the Pro-pilot cruise control which goes one stage further than clever cruise and steers the car, too. It’s as close as you’ll get to autonomous driving under current legislation. Pro-pilot is most useful in traffic queues when it really lowers stress levels because the car will simply drive itself at the touch of a button.
Update - 3rd April 2019
I have a first-world problem with the Volvo V90 T8, it could be just a bit too good. I say that because my mileage seems to have increased quite a bit since taking delivery of this PHEV.
Typically, I do lots of short trips – perfect for a plug-in hybrid. However, because the V90 is such a fine automobile in terms of luxury, comfort, performance and refinement I’ve taken it on more longer trips. Indeed, at Easter we’ll take it to the Outer Hebrides for a family holiday.
As a result, the mpg figures are varying hugely. The worst (on a motorway run with a roofbox attached) has been 27.3mpg, but my current figure is 72.4mpg over the past 302 miles, and there’s still three quarters of a tank of petrol left.
First Look - 20th February 2019
If you were to list some essentials and desirables for a company car then you’d probably include the following; practical, safe, efficient, low taxation, desirable and, these days, connected.
Our latest test car, the Volvo V90 T8 plug-in hybrid has these attributes in spades plus other qualities, such as being comfortable, fast and refined.
Over the next six months we’ll not only assess the V90 overall, but we’ll be paying particular attention to the plug-in aspects. In other words, will it really return decent mpg figures and how will the cost per mile costs compare with a diesel’s.
Early impressions are positive. It may have a realistic EV range of only 25 miles, but that works for most of my regular trips.