2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription
2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription

Road Test: 2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription

These are not the Volvo’s I remember snickering at when I was younger.

A look at the current entire lineup reveals some stylish and desirable vehicles.

But none may be more so than the 2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription plug-in hybrid I tested recently.

2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription
2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription

There’s absolutely nothing to snicker at here: The XC90 oozes style inside and out, delivers solid performance and ride, and is loaded to the gills with features and luxury finishes.

As mentioned, the 7-seat XC90 is loaded, even before 12K in options were added to the base price of $84,100.

Features include 4-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate, LED headlights, city safety collision mitigation; a 12.3-inch digital driver display ventilated front seats, and much more.

Options added include the $2,500 Premium Package, $3,900 Premium Plus Package – that includes a really nice 360-degree camera and visual park assist – 21-inch 8-Spoke, Silver Bright Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels ($1,000) and a sweet Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound System ($3,750). The Onyx Black Metallic paint is also an extra $900.

The fact that the XC90 also offers a plug-in option feature is another bonus.

On a full charge, I was able to get about 29 kilometres of range which, from home, was enough to get me to the office with juice to spare.

When the battery runs out, fret not. The XC90 has an ace up its sleeve.

2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription
2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription engine

Under the hood is a nice 2.0-litre turbo and supercharged 4-cylinder engine, delivering smooth power under your right foot.

Paired to an 8-Speed Geartronic Automatic, it delivers 313 horsepower (another 87 come from the electric motor), and 295 ft-lb of torque (and another 117 from the electric motor). With totals of 400 hp and 472 ft-lb of torque, there’s plenty of get up and go.

While it uses premium fuel, the hybrid system achieves a combined fuel consumption average of 3.9 Le per 100 kilometres (it’s 9.3 L/100 km on gas only).

During my time with it, I managed to come close to the Natural Resources Canada estimate with an average of 4.4 Le/100 km.

As previously mentioned, the XC90 is an attractive vehicle, probably near the very top of the list in terms of looks among its competitors.

The large striking front grille, the “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights, plenty of chrome and brushed-metal and the vertical taillights all make this ride stand out.

Those optional 21-inch alloy wheels definitely do not hurt the curb appeal, either.

While onlookers will ogle at the exterior, those who are fortunate enough to slip inside the luxurious cabin will be very happy they did.

2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription
2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription interior

The seven seats are covered in Nappa leather, and there is real walnut wood trim work in the cabin.

The optional Bowers & Wilkins audio system is also a nice addition to the interior, featuring drilled metal speaker grilles for some added class.

As with any three-row SUV, access to those rearmost seats is always a bit tricky, but there’s still a good amount of space back there.

When not in use, they are easily folded flat for excellent storage room.

The cabin layout is clean thanks to the fact that the vast majority of buttons and knobs have been replaced with the 9-inch Sensus infotainment system, which controls much more than just the radio.

While the menus and controls do take some getting used to, with this being the third Volvo I had tested in quick order, the whole getup was quickly growing on me.

And it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and also has satellite radio installed.

There’s still a little lag at start up, but it’s a good system once you are used to it.

One little electronic feature that also takes some getting used to is the electronic shifter. The stubby clear level in the centre console is not always intuitive at first, so take the time to make sure you are in the desired gear before hitting the gas.

Once you are out on the open road, well, you will want to just keep driving. The XC90 is that much of a joy to operate.

From the powertrain, which delivers excellent power and responsiveness, to the handling, this big SUV drives like a charm. The head-up display is another welcome feature that makes the driver’s life easier.

There’s also the fact the cabin is almost completely devoid of road and wind noise, making for pleasant discussions no matter where you are going.

While the price tag on the tester comes close to the six-figure mark, if this is a segment you are considering, you would be foolish not to have the XC90 on your list.

2019 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription

Price as tested: $98,165.00
Freight: $2,015.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre Turbo and supercharged 4-cylinder/ 8-Speed Geartronic Automatic
Power/torque: 400 horsepower (combined: 313 engine, 87 electric motor)/ 472 ft-lb of torque (combined: 295 from engine, 117 from electric motor)
Fuel (capacity): Premium (70 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.3 L/100 km (gas only), 3.9 Le/100 km (hybrid)
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 4.4 L/100 km
Warranties: Lifetime parts and labour (basic)
Competitors: Acura MDX, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery, Porsche Cayenne

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