Of all the companies embracing PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) technology, Volvo seems among the most committed and passionate.
And while PHEVs can be a great solution for vehicles of any size, on a large vehicle like the Volvo XC90 SUV, they can be a major benefit.
The 2023 Volvo XC90 gives you 33 miles of pure electric range per charge before switching over to a gasoline/electric hybrid. The EPA fuel economy estimate for the hybrid is 27 miles per gallon combined city/highway. So the addition of the plug-in hybrid is like adding a one-point-something (math is hard) gallon larger fuel tank---but without the tailpipe emissions that extra one gallon of fuel would put in the air when burned. The other plus, in common with all PHEVs, is that if you use less than that range per charge in a typical day's driving, and habitually recharge every night at home or day at work, you can go weeks or even months before using a drop of gasoline or putting a particle of pollution in the air.
Some PHEVs are----a little restrained, let's say---when it comes to performance. Not the XC90 Recharge. The combined output is 455 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque, which makes 60 miles per hour happen from a standing start in 4.5 seconds.
While we're dealing with the business end of the car, there's also an eight-speed automatic transmission with start/stop, 21-inch alloy wheels, and a full suite of active safety features.
Our tester was the 2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge AWD Ultimate---the top-of-the-line. Volvos now offer you a choice of dark or bright trim, and ours had the bright. Base price, including destination: $80,495.
Beyond what we've already discussed, that price brings a digital driver display, nine-inch integrated touchscreen, a Harman Kardon Premium Sound system, a laminated panoramic moonroof with power sunshade, tailored wool blend seating surfaces (leather available at no cost), a crystal shifter, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel and high-pressure headlight cleaning.
There were only two extra-cost options on our test vehicle---an upgrade to the Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System ($3,200) and four-corner air suspension ($1,800), running the bottom line of the window sticker up to $85,495.
Not cheap, nor should it be. The Volvo XC90 is one of the best premium luxury SUVs on the market. And having it available as a plug-in that, depending on your driving habits may only infrequently use gasoline is a major bonus.