There are quite a few attractive seven-passenger luxury SUVs on the market but the Volvo XC90 is our favorite. We have test-driven one every couple years and were overwhelmed with the 2023 Recharge AWD Ultimate edition that was dispatched to us recently. The T8 plug-in hybrid has received some modifications that make this incredible ride more appealing than before.

Under the hood sits a 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged and supercharged engine, which puts out an enormous 455 horsepower and 523 pounds-feet of torque. A rear electric motor and a center-mounted 14.9 kWh lithium-ion battery can take the midsize luxury crossover SUV nearly 36 miles (previous was just 18) before the gasoline engine kicks in. Charge time is hardly five hours on a 240-volt volt. The 8-speed auto gearbox in our all-wheel-drive vehicle is sprightly in any untoward situation. And the start-stop feature (auto engine stop when the vehicle halts) ensures substantial savings in fuel and weight.

The stunning crossover shows off a centered Volvo iron mark amid a bright chrome bar grille, flanked by LED headlights and Thor’s hammer-like daytime running lights. The substantial cabin conveys an upscale aura with a 12.3-inch instrument panel decked in shimmer graphite aluminum inlays. Adult passengers have ample space for leg and shoulder room in the two rear seats. Volvo Sensus infotainment, with a distinct vertical 9-inch display touch screen, is essentially made up of four tiles: navigation, media, phone and user-defined. Activate one and watch it expand while keeping the other tiles visible for future use. The Gray Ash wood décor and tailored dashboard in charcoal is a nice touch from the typical leather in most luxury vehicles. New for 2023 is a Google built-in Assistant, Maps and Play store. Standard amenities include two-zone auto a/c, 10-way power front cooled/heated Nappa leather seats, leather tilt/telescopic steering wheel, panoramic moon roof, head-up display, aluminum cargo scuff plate, 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and hands-free power tail gate.  

The Chinese-owned but Swedish-made car company is renowned for safety. Continuing the tradition, the XC60 gets dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, lane departure/keep aid, blind spot information, cross traffic alert, rear park assist and sensors, adaptive cruise control, four-wheel antilock brakes, three-point seatbelts for all, side impact protection, dynamic stability and traction control, 360-degree camera, hill start assist and descent control, City Safety (brakes automatically to help prevent a rear-end collision) also gets steer assist, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

Whether you are off the beaten path or strolling the highway, the 5,000-pound XC90 is incredibly rapid off the mark, graceful in traffic and a dream to drive. Truly, it is a fantastic combination of beauty and performance.


Tires: 275/40R21

Wheelbase: 117.5 inches

Length: 195 inches

Width: 79.1 inches

Height: 69.9 inches

Suspension: double wishbone front, integral axle rear

Steering: electric power rack and pinion

Drive modes: comfort, eco, dynamic, off-road, individual

Fuel capacity: 18.8 gallons

Mileage: 27 mpg combined gas, 58 MPGe

Base price: $79,400

Price as tested: $85,495

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