Cars

2021 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription as Fresh as Ever

DETROIT — Volvo keeps selling just about everything it can make, and that includes its top-of-the-line 90 series. In this instance, we’re talking about the XC90 T8 Inscription.

The T8 was bristling with technology. It had a supercharger and turbocharger working together. Then add an 87-horsepower electric motor and you’ve got a plug-in hybrid of note.

This trio of technology allows the XC90 T8 to generate 400 horsepower out of its 2.0-liter gasoline engine. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the combination gets the equivalent of 55 mpg combined.

Without the electric motor, the gasoline engine gets 27 mpg combined in city and highway driving. It has a range of 18 miles in full electric mode.

It had a lithium-ion battery and a full charging time of about three hours using a 240-volt charging station. This Volvo XC90 T8 could get from a standstill to 60 mpg in a swift 4.9 seconds, which isn’t bad for a vehicle weighing more than two and a half tons.

But once you get away from the technology that drives the XC90 T8, you’re hit square in the face with its luxury.

Rather than the available leather, Volvo chose to cover the interior of the three-rowed XC90 with an optional blended wool. It was different, but it still had a luxurious aura to it.

The XC90 had all the trappings — heated, and cooled front seats, a panoramic roof and a wood trim interior. Certainly, there was satellite radio, voice controls, a navigation system, a head-up display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

But this XC90 was an Inscription trim, which is the top of the line for any Volvo model.

There were 20-inch Inscription alloy wheels, but we had 21-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, power seats include side support, and front cushion extenders, dual integrated tailpipes, a premium audio system, bright chrome bars in the grille, chrome window trim, and there was wood trim and sun curtains on the rear side windows.

It was bitterly cold, and it snowed during our test drive. That lets you know that we reviewed the car a few months ago. The all-wheel-drive system dealt with snow-packed side streets ably, and we appreciated that the heated front seats and heated steering wheel didn’t default to off when we turned the XC90 off. Start it and both were still on, that was one less thing to do in a cold car.

The four-corner air suspension made for a smooth ride on dry pavement and it managed to smooth out rut-filled paths through slush and snow. And of course, there was a $3,200 premium sound system.

It was equipped with USB A ports and B ports in the front and rear. And there was a 360-degree surround camera. They’ve done a few things to keep the Volvo XC90 fresh. But it was so far in front of the design curve when it was redesigned for 2015 that it does not take a bunch of tweaks to keep it fresh in the marketplace.

The base price of our test vehicle was $69,750 but add a long list of options and the sticker for our test vehicle climbed to $79,990.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.

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