What is it?
The first stage of Volvo’s journey towards a new normal. This mildly refreshed XC90 is the first mild hybrid to leave the factory since it was announced two years ago that every new model would receive some kind of electrification.
Set to replace the old D5 diesel engine, this new B5 is still fuelled from the black pump but gains a 48V starter motor/generator and battery that can regenerate power through braking to then aid the engine under acceleration. Volvo claims this assistance delivers fuel-efficiency savings and emissions reductions of as much as 15% compared with the outgoing motor, which goes some way to counteract the recent negative view of diesel.
The 235bhp turbocharged four-cylinder engine has marginally less power than the current entry-level T5 petrol engine, but it has almost 100lb ft more torque, at 354lb ft, while also producing less CO2 and delivering greater fuel economy.
That balance may shift once mild-hybrid petrols, which will confusingly also carry the B badging, arrive later but today these figures are better than anything in the range bar the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid.
A new engine isn’t the only change for 2019, with this updated car also receiving a new-look front grille that's more in keeping with the rest of Volvo’s line-up, as well as a fresh selection of alloy wheel designs and paint colours.