I recall when the Volvo XC90 arrived in South Africa in 2015. It was the second generation, but it was the one that would leave us all completely star struck. I was so impressed by this vehicle that I remember thinking, “One day when I am big, I will own one of these.” Well, I am big and I still can’t afford one. But that doesn’t mean I am not still waiting for that moment. In 2019, it had a facelift and now, again, it has had another teeny, tiny update…in the form of mild hybrid technology.
It will be hard to tell what has changed if looking at the XC90 with a naked eye. You would be better suited to sliding inside the engine to see what’s going on. Volvo has introduced its new mild-hybrid petrol engines to the range. What as the T5 is now the B5 and what was the T6 is now the B6. Diesel fans need not despair, there is still a diesel-powered option available. The T8 Twin-Engine is also still on offer. But back to the important hybrid news.
These new models are powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, bolstered by a 48-volt mild hybrid system. This means you get 183kW and 350Nm. Power is sent to the wheels via an updated eight-speed Geartronic ‘box with shift-by-wire technology. It also has regenerative braking for good measure.
CAN YOU FEEL THE DIFFERENCE?
I want to say yes, but it is quite hard to tell that anything is happening under that bonnet in terms of hybrid energy. Which I think is a good thing. I don’t really need to feel the difference, but I do want to see it. Which thankfully is possible by the icon on the instrument cluster. The regenerative braking is also not as harsh as some might be used to in an electric vehicle. The deceleration is rather subtle which is hugely beneficial when sitting in traffic or travelling around the city, you don’t want to feel your head thrown back every time you lift your foot off the accelerator.
The fuel consumption is claimed at 7.2l/100km but one needs to bear in mind that this is still a huge and heavy SUV so the engine needs to work really hard in order to move this big guy. So your fuel consumption is not going to be as pleasing as you might want, even with hybrid technology on board.
It remains one of the smoothest and most refined cars to drive. You can almost smell the luxury..actually, wait, you can smell it! Speaking of luxury and smell, this latest model has CleanZone Climate control which improves the quality of the air inside the car. It comes with a sensor that measures PM 2.5 levels inside the cabin. It cleans the car’s interior and removes those tiny particles (that can be 100 times smaller than human hair), which would normally be inhaled by the motorist. Significantly, via the Volvo app, it is even possible to pre-clean the XC90 before entering the vehicle.
VOLVO XC90 HYBRID PRICING:
• B5 Geartronic AWD Momentum: R1 212 984
• B5 Geartronic AWD R-Design: R1 282 984
• B5 Geartronic AWD Inscription: R1 283 484
• B6 Geartronic AWD R-Design: R1 338 450
• B6 Geartronic AWD Inscription: R1 338 950
• B6 Geartronic AWD Inscription 6-Seater: R1 338 950