From £36,9509
A price cut and power drop aim to make Volvo's plug-in hybrid estate more accessible

The maturation of Volvo’s electrification strategy since its first forays into plug-in technology back in the late 2000s has been impressive to say the least.

Those with longer memories will recall the C30-based ReCharge Concept from 2007: a ‘series hybrid’ that could travel as far as 62 miles in electric-only mode and which used a 1.6-litre petrol engine to charge the batteries that powered its four electric motors. Then there were the two diesel-electric V70s that Volvo ran as part of a joint research trial with energy supplier Vattenfall.

‘Thor’s hammer’ headlights remain among Volvo’s most easily identifiable styling cues. They still look fantastic today, some four years after the V90’s launch

These plug-in estates offered an electric range of up to 19 miles and in 2010 were given to Volvo employees so their strengths and weaknesses could be assessed in real-world use. Suffice to say, a chief criticism was a shortage of emissions-free range provided by the 11.3kWh battery.

Since then, however, things have accelerated greatly. With a massive cash injection from owner Geely, Volvo was able to use the lessons that had been learned from such projects to get the jump on its German rivals. So a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid version of the V60 arrived in 2012 and was gradually followed by a raft of high-end, performance-oriented petrol-electric models that offered savvy company car owners an appealing and stylish means of cutting their fuel and tax expenditure.

Fast-forward to 2020 and Volvo’s entire model line-up is now electrified, including everything from mild-hybrids to full EVs. At the same time, Volvo has also worked to make some of its larger, pricier plug-in hybrid models a bit more financially accessible now that rival manufacturers’ electrified portfolios are beginning to grow.

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This V90 T6 Recharge is one of those cars. The newly updated version of Volvo’s flagship estate lands not only with slightly less power than its T8 Twin Engine predecessor but with a fractionally lower asking price too. And crucially, it will also slot into that coveted 10% benefit-in-kind tax bracket, provided you don’t go mad with options.

The question is, is it a compelling enough machine to steal sales away from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz? Read on to find out.

The V90 line-up at a glance

All V90s now feature some degree of electrification. B4, B5 and B6 petrol and diesel models come equipped with a 48V mild-hybrid architecture, while the T6 is currently the only plug-in hybrid V90 on offer.

Those Recharge models are offered in either R-Design or Inscription trim, while the more conventional B-series cars are available in a wider range of specifications. Momentum represents the entry point for these cars, and is followed by R-Design and then Inscription.

The V90 also comes in Cross Country guise, with lifted ride height, four-wheel drive and off-road-friendly cladding.

Price £55,305 Power 335bhp Torque 435lb ft 0-60mph 5.6sec 30-70mph in fourth 8.4sec Fuel economy 40.0mpg CO2 emissions 50g/km 70-0mph 45.7m

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Volvo V90

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