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This review is specially for all those waiting for delivery of their T8. Although I can’t reduce the waiting time, I do hope to make the wait a little shorter by writing this contribution.

I wish you a Merry Christmas!

After seven weeks of owning a XC90 T8 Inscription, it’s time to make a first evaluation.



General
First of all some general impressions of my XC90. I’ve selected Twilight Bronze exterior colour with a Blonde/Charcoal interior, a very elegant combination. I combined it with the dark tinted rear windows. Not for climate reasons but for viewing. From my previous XC90 - I drove several XC90’s since 2004 - I’m aware the trunk protective roller cover is a disaster, if you use the third row frequently. That’s why I don’t have the bar with the cover inside and in this situation the tinted windows are protecting to see what’s inside.
For the rest I’ve ticked almost all options, except for the B&W Audio, the leather dash and the head-up display.
The change from a XC90 Classic to a 2016 XC90 is huge. The Classic was designed on the P1-platform, originated end of the 90’s. The new car catapults you in to the 21st century, in all aspects like luxury, handling, noise, vibration, and so on.
My car was produced wk41 and is one of the first T8’s. As a long-time member of this forum I’m aware of all the problems the first XC90 owners had and still have. Together with the complex technology of the Hybrid, I had prepared myself to face serious issues. Luckily my Volvo dealership is very good and – this is small country - only 10 minutes away.
But all those fears were not needed, the car functions without any hassle or problem. Because it’s a pre-wk46 car, the software had some issues but these have been mostly solved now. In fact, from this perspective, my XC90 is almost boring :)



Tax paradise
I will not try to explain our taxation system, Einstein’s theory is even more straightforward. But - when registered in 2015 - a XC90 T8 in our country will save you (over 5 years of ownership) about 45,000 euro’s on tax! You can image such a premium makes the XC90 T8 a smashing hit at instance, and Volvo sold 2,500 units of them. Sold out in a couple of weeks, simply because they can’t produce more.
All these cars have to hit the road in about 6 weeks’ time, before December 31st. Dealerships are just working during the evening to prepare all cars. When I visited my dealership last Monday morning, Volvo just dropped off two trucks with in total 14 T8’s.

Hybrid drive-line
Back to my car. The hybrid drive-line is clear, Volvo has set-up a topology with a petrol-engine in the front and the electro-motor at the rear-axle. In fact the T8 is a T6 plus an additional 80hp e-traction. The propeller shaft is not needed and at that location the battery is packaged. While the tunnel is complete filled-up by the battery, all sorts of accessories normally mounted in the centre stack, e.g. the CD-player and the 220/110 power plug, are not available for the T8. Especially at the end of the centre stack, where the controls of the 2nd row passengers are located, you see a clear difference compared to the other models. In the T8 this part is a little longer, square and less elegant.
The set-up, and especially the battery, increases the weight of about 600 lbs (300 kg). I’ve driven a D5 before and noticed the additional 15% weight does not influence the drivability. Please note both cars were equipped with air suspension, keeping the body straight in curves.
The weight has however another consequence, it makes the total allowable vehicle weight 6600 lbs (3010 kg). While most light-alloy wheels are designed for max 1550 lbs (700 kg), they can’t be used for the T8 although they will fit. That’s why the available selection of Volvo rims is limited. Be aware of this when you buy third-party wheels, I was almost fooled by a ‘professional’ tyre centre not have a clue a rim has a maximal weight capacity.



Charging
While it’s a plug-in hybrid, the car is equipped with a charge connection. Volvo decided to mount it on the left front fender close to the drivers’ door. A good location. I’ve mounted my charger against a wall about 5 ft (1.5 m) away when parking my car. When I step out, I can direct grep the cable and plug it in. As you want to charge daily – I mean after each ride – please make the plug-in sequence as convenient as possible. If you have to open the trunk, get the charger form under the floor and walk back to the A-pillar – revise when you want to use the car again - you properly will stop charging it very soon.
The plug-in adapter is a little clumsy. It’s a plastic door – like the average fuel cap enclosure – you can open by pressing it slightly. The electric contacts of the actual connector are covered and protected by a tight fitted plastic cap you have to remove each time. You can however mount the cap on the inside of the door, like you use to do with the fuel cap, while charging. Putting it back over the contacts again requires some precision handling and simply cost too much time. While the XC90 has a fuel door 2.0 – without an additional cap – this plug-in is not optimal imho.
At the moment you have plugged-in – and both systems did do some kind of validation – the charging actually starts. On your charger you normally can select several charge currents, were lower levels simply requests longer charging times. I’ve set my charger tot the highest current possible for the T8, 13 A (at 230 V). It charges the battery in about 2,5 hours. The V60 PIH is equipped with an additional timer to set the time the car starts to charge, to load the batteries during off-peak times. The XC90 does not support such a timer, so if you want to benefit from low pricing/off-peak electricity rates you have to make sure your wall charger supports the timing.
When the charging is started the plug-in connector is locked. This locking is independent of the door locking, but the unlocking however is coupled to the doors. So if you want to unlock the plug-in cable, you first have to unlock the doors. I’ve the keyless entry option, so touching the door handle is enough to unlock the plug.
A LED in the plugin adapter of the car, above the connector, indicates the status of the charge process. As long as the doors are not locked, the instrument panel shows the time the charging will be finished.



Preconditioning and heating
My car is equipped with a parking heater, I’m not aware that’s available in the US. Precondition is mainly to get the batteries, and petrol engine, on an acceptable operating temperature. The parking heater is for comfort. Only in the XC90 both systems are bound together – named preconditioning - and I read the manual several times but still do not understand how it functions exactly. I’m not the only one, this is a big complain under T8 owners. According to the manual precondition works electrical when connected to a charger and on fuel otherwise. When I tried it , connected to a charger, the fire alarm was triggered while the garage was filled by the pollution of the fuel heater. For those knowing the preconditioner/parking heater of the V60 PIH, that works complete different compared to the XC90. In the XC90 you can only switch it ON/OFF either manually or by a timer.
When you drive electrical, the heating is normally electrical as well but seems to have too low capacity. IMHO it only works adequate when you use the seat heating as well. Fortunately, deep in the climate menu’s there’s an option to heat the interior by the parking heater when driving electrically. That works great!
Annoying is the fuel heater won’t work when the fuel tank level is below 25%. It cost me some time to figure out why the fuel heater wasn’t working.

Modes
Driving a hybrid is more or less planning in advance what you want. The T8 has a lot of driver modes. Where in the other models these modes are focussing on the drivability of the car, the focus in the T8 drive modes is on the drive line. You can split all modes in two groups;
- Hybrid, Pure and Save are about driving either electrical or on petrol;
- AWD, Off-road and Power are about driving both electrical and on petrol at the same moment.

The difference between Hybrid and Pure mode is mainly the switching-point the petrol engine takes over from the e-traction. According to the manual they do a lot more, e.g. switching heating etc, but that effect you don’t really recognise. Yes, when you switch-over from Hybrid to Pure the range is extended by a couple of miles. But in daily practice the e-range between Hybrid and Pure seems to be equal.
There is no electrical-only mode, so if you want to drive electrical you have to be using the ‘gaspedal’ with some care, especially when taking off. That request some practice. In the beginning I pressed it to deep, or to fast, and the Petrol engine takes over. However, gently pressing the pedal changes the car in a sort of elderly people vehicle. After some practice I got the feeling to give the right response to get the energy indicator to the switching-point but still be in e-traction only. I get the impression the software has some threshold to the witching point, and now I manage to drive completely electric when I want. Normally my take-off acceleration is quicker compared to other vehicles especially when others have to change gear. Especially Pure mode is in this case handy to enlarge the bandwidth of the e-traction usage.
The e-range is of course heavily dependent on your drive style. Simply by driving along with other traffic, I get a 21~25m (35-40 km) range in town with speeds up to 45~49 mph (70-80 km/h).
Above 55m (90 km/h) the batteries dry-up rapidly. In theory you can drive up to 77 mph (125 km/h) electrical but above 62 mph (100 km/h) the acceleration is quite poor due to the limitation of a 80 hp e-traction.

Beside these modes, the range is also influenced by the position of the gearshift lever. In the normal D-position the car only regenerates energy when braking softly, e.g. avoiding the friction brakes take over. In the B-position the car also regenerates when the pedal is released. The effect is direct noticeable. Normally the cars rolls quite long because the friction loss of the e-traction is low. When regeneration is selected, the car deaccelerates comparable if a high-compressed diesel engine brake is used. I don’t have a clue why we can select either mode, in the V60 PIH you can’t. I always use the B-mode.
Unfortunately I’m living in an almost flat country, so I can’t get really the benefits. The only energy I can generate is while rolling towards a traffic light or so. In figures, on an average e-route I regenerate about 12,5%. T8-oweners how took the car into the mountains report quite interesting energy levels, and so very good fuel consumption.
About gearshift selection, the T8 has a drive-by-wire system and is therefore the only model with the crystal gear shifter with some short-path switching like a joystick. The system works perfect, you can select fast and accurate.
Volvo brought this a the top of the cream of the interior, but I believe it misses the overall woww. The crystal is elegant and beautiful, but the shape makes is a little dull and not really pretty to keep it in hand. The crystal is illuminated at night by white LED-light, not giving a warm environment. While the shifter becomes full of fingerprints, it’s not the most beautiful part of the interior imho.
By the way, in B-position you also can select manually gear. But if you didn’t order the steering wheel paddles, you can only shift manually down because moving the shifter the other way you instantaneously select D again. Only the paddle shifting gives you the possibility to drive manually.

Back to the drive-line modes. The Save mode has some special features. It doesn’t shut down e-traction completely, but reduces the take-over switching point of the petrol to a low level. In fact only the initial part of the take-off is done electrically, than the Petrol takes over. In the display the key lock-symbol is shown - close to the battery level - to make clear the level is saved for later usage. If the level is below 33%, the petrol engine starts to generate electricity. Only making electricity out of fuel is very inefficient and you get fuel consumption figures below 18 mpg (13 l/100 km). That’s only interesting when you have to enter later-on a pollution free area or so. By the way, via regeneration you always get enough energy to drive slowly electrically, for example in parking garages and so.
Every time I drive electrical, I get a big smile. The first time it’s really odd to ‘start engine’ without any sound at all. It’s such a comfortable and smooth ride, it’s simply great. The change-over between e-traction and petrol - and back - is seamless. I don’t notice it until the transmission switches gear.
To use the plug-in Hybrid technology optimally, you really have to plan the drive-selection during your ride. Unfortunately in either Pure and Hybrid the system is always using all available electrical energy before it switches to petrol. Especially for longer destinations, or when traffic jam is ahead, I would prefer to use Petrol-only on the motorway when the car is at constant speed to reserve the electrical energy for later usage. What I normally do, is to drive all electrical to the motorway, activate Adaptive CC and switch over to Save, to use the battery again when I leave the motorway into an urban area. Although it seems to be logic, I don’t have a clue if this is the best solution. On the other hand, if changing from drive-mode was intent to be done regularly while driving, Volvo could have thought about a better location of the switch. IMHO you have to move your hand too much backwards.
I find it a little annoying, although my car is equipped with an uncountable number of microcontrollers, I have to plan the use of all these drive-line modes myself. Although almost all electronic systems are bound together, the hybrid technology can’t use the navigation or dynamic road information to think ahead.

Power, the fun factor
But, there is more. Volvo doesn’t brand this car XC90 PIH, but T8. It’s the top of the line with 407 Hp and the smart choice – according to Volvo marketing – over the classical V8 SUV.
Are you waiting at a traffic light and a car is approaching from behind, taking the left lane with this I-never-stop-behind-a-Volvo-attitude? Switch to Power, smile friendly and hit the trigger when the light becomes green. At the next traffic light this car will gently stop behind you ;-)
Because fun starts by selecting power mode. The energy-gauge disappears and is replaced by a rpm gauge. The car is fast, the 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) is an indication of the power but how often do you accelerate to that speed? In an urban environment the time to maximal 45 mph (75 km/h) is much more important and at these speeds the e-traction is giving full support. The Power mode is the mode you can get addicted to.
Not only at take off the Power mode is fantastic, also on higher speeds. I already have driven the car at the German Autobahn at 115 mph (185 km/h). The car reaches quickly those type of speed levels. For the Classic that was about the limit you could drive, but this car feel still stable and has enough response to go faster. It’s a true left lane machine ;-)
Unfortunately the T6 is not available here – due to tax it would be much more expensive compared to a T8 - so I can’t compare it.
Although the T8 is in Power mode a fast car, something is missing. When you select Power mode in a V60PIH - a Diesel (!) – it transforms in a more or less mean machine. That type of aggressive respond your lacking in the T8. You are not actual aware of the speed nor acceleration it provides. If you have driven a V8 SUV before – especially the German revivals – you will notice the difference. Of course the T8 is not on par with AMG/M/RS-type of cars, that’s another league.
I’ve tried to overrule the standard Power mode settings, by setting up my own power mode preferences via the individual menu option. You can enhance the characteristics but it’s still not a the level I meant before.

Fuel consumption
Due to the different drive modes the fuel consumption of the T8 is very ambivalent. It’s not only dependent on your driver style but also on the distance. When you’re able to keep the rides within the e-range, you won’t need fuel at all. That’s of course theory. In practice you always will pass the e-range, simply because you can’t always charge or don’t have the time to recharge it completely. From that point of view the following figures are simply practice, with a mix energy sources.
If you charge daily, commute within the e-range you get easily figures in the mid and high 40’s (5,8 l/100 km or better). When you commute outside the e-range (e.g. no recharge at the office location) you will get about 23 mph (10 l/100 km). But, if you switch it always to power mode, or drive 115 mph (185 km/h) at the German autobahn, you will end up around 14 mph (16,5 l/100 km).
I’m not 100% eco-focussed to get the best fuel economy possible. If that’s your goal, you shouldn’t looking for a 5050 lbs (2300 kg) car in the first place. About 70% of my rides are short distance (< 15 miles), the remaining 30% - but 50% of the mileage - are motorway. I charge daily - or better after each use - and my average is now 40,5 mph (5,8 l/100 km) over 1650 miles (2600 km).
At this time of the year, a lot of my fellow T8 owners drive up to the Alps. That’s about 650 miles (1000 km) mainly via German Autobahn. Just switching ACC to 95 mph (150 km/h). They reported fuel consumptions about 22~19 mpg (10,5~12,5 l/100km). But worse after 155~185 miles (250~300 km) they start already looking for a gas station. Because the 13,5 gallon tank (50 l) is the only real big disadvantage of a T8.

Final
The XC90 T8 is simply a fantastic car. Every day, I still get the wow feeling. After some hectic business meetings, it’s my daily zen-space. It fulfils – up to now - all criteria I selected this car in the first place. As stated before it’s somewhat curious you have to do the planning and selecting of all drive-modes yourself.
For me there is still one interesting topic open. How will the T8 tow my 4400 lbs (2000 kg) caravan and what will be the range I can drive with it? The fuel tank is simply too limited. That will take at least till spring before I get the answer to that question…
 

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Awesome post! Thanks for the Christmas review. Looking forward to it arriving at our home soon.
 

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Thank you so much for taking the time to write this very thoughtful review of the t8 power train. Can't wait to pick mine up in a few days


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Best T8 review I've seen! Many thanks.
 

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conradi,

Great real world insight; thank you.

By the way, I think your car needs more...badges! :p
 

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Vrolijk kerstfeest en beste wensen in het nieuwe jaar!

Great write-up - thank you for taking the time to put that together.
 

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Many many thanks...

I have read my T8 manual many times and am still confused about a lot of things you have cleared up!
 

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Great informative review. Thanks for sharing!
 

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Many thanks for the most comprehensive account of the T8 I have yet read!

I note that Volvo claim a 200 kg weight difference between the T8 (about 2.35 tons) and the D5 or T6 (about 2.15 tons). Those are what Volvo calls 'serving weights' which are higher and more accurate than the DIN or EU weights often claimed in Europe.

The heaters remain a mystery. The T8 has up to 4 heaters as far as I can tell, including 2 electric PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heaters for the last pair of seats.

The Irish tax situation resembles that of Holland. Nonetheless the T8 is still significantly more expensive to buy and run here than in the USA.

As for Einstein and tax, he spent the second half of his life in the USA, where a reporter once asked if he did his own tax returns. Einstein replied, “No. I'm a mathematician, not a philosopher.”
 

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As for Einstein and tax, he spent the second half of his life in the USA, where a reporter once asked if he did his own tax returns. Einstein replied, “No. I'm a mathematician, not a philosopher.”
:thumbup:

As a long-time member of this forum I’m aware of all the problems the first XC90 owners had and still have. Together with the complex technology of the Hybrid, I had prepared myself to face serious issues. Luckily my Volvo dealership is very good and – this is small country - only 10 minutes away.
But all those fears were not needed, the car functions without any hassle or problem. Because it’s a pre-wk46 car, the software had some issues but these have been mostly solved now. In fact, from this perspective, my XC90 is almost boring :)
The same experience 98% of new XC90 owners, I'm sure.
 

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Great review! I've been watching the progress of the 2nd gen since the first sketch was released. Maybe in 3 or 4 years I can afford one, but for now my V8 will have to do! As to your view of the Classic's top speed of 115, I got mine up to 124 no biggie. Fastest I've ever gone in it is 133. I heard of a guy doing 150 with the governor removed. Does anyone know if a T8 R-Design is coming to America? And in Bursting Blue Metallic?
 

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Awesome review, thanks. The rather limited range of the T8 is what made me decide for the D5. However if the fiscal advantage would have been that significant in Belgium as it is in the Netherlands, that together with the with the additional punch you describe above would have most probably tipped the scales over in favour of the T8 as well. Happy driving!
 

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I've read this review several times now, and it's not helping with its stated goal of making the wait shorter, if anything, the opposite. :)

The range should be about as good as my 740 Turbo Wagon, so the range doesn't bother me too much.
 

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This review is specially for all those waiting for delivery of their T8. Although I can’t reduce the waiting time, I do hope to make the wait a little shorter by writing this contribution.

I wish you a Merry Christmas!

After seven weeks of owning a XC90 T8 Inscription, it’s time to make a first evaluation.



General
First of all some general impressions of my XC90. I’ve selected Twilight Bronze exterior colour with a Blonde/Charcoal interior, a very elegant combination. I combined it with the dark tinted rear windows. Not for climate reasons but for viewing. From my previous XC90 - I drove several XC90’s since 2004 - I’m aware the trunk protective roller cover is a disaster, if you use the third row frequently. That’s why I don’t have the bar with the cover inside and in this situation the tinted windows are protecting to see what’s inside.
For the rest I’ve ticked almost all options, except for the B&W Audio, the leather dash and the head-up display.
The change from a XC90 Classic to a 2016 XC90 is huge. The Classic was designed on the P1-platform, originated end of the 90’s. The new car catapults you in to the 21st century, in all aspects like luxury, handling, noise, vibration, and so on.
My car was produced wk41 and is one of the first T8’s. As a long-time member of this forum I’m aware of all the problems the first XC90 owners had and still have. Together with the complex technology of the Hybrid, I had prepared myself to face serious issues. Luckily my Volvo dealership is very good and – this is small country - only 10 minutes away.
But all those fears were not needed, the car functions without any hassle or problem. Because it’s a pre-wk46 car, the software had some issues but these have been mostly solved now. In fact, from this perspective, my XC90 is almost boring :)



Tax paradise
I will not try to explain our taxation system, Einstein’s theory is even more straightforward. But - when registered in 2015 - a XC90 T8 in our country will save you (over 5 years of ownership) about 45,000 euro’s on tax! You can image such a premium makes the XC90 T8 a smashing hit at instance, and Volvo sold 2,500 units of them. Sold out in a couple of weeks, simply because they can’t produce more.
All these cars have to hit the road in about 6 weeks’ time, before December 31st. Dealerships are just working during the evening to prepare all cars. When I visited my dealership last Monday morning, Volvo just dropped off two trucks with in total 14 T8’s.

Hybrid drive-line
Back to my car. The hybrid drive-line is clear, Volvo has set-up a topology with a petrol-engine in the front and the electro-motor at the rear-axle. In fact the T8 is a T6 plus an additional 80hp e-traction. The propeller shaft is not needed and at that location the battery is packaged. While the tunnel is complete filled-up by the battery, all sorts of accessories normally mounted in the centre stack, e.g. the CD-player and the 220/110 power plug, are not available for the T8. Especially at the end of the centre stack, where the controls of the 2nd row passengers are located, you see a clear difference compared to the other models. In the T8 this part is a little longer, square and less elegant.
The set-up, and especially the battery, increases the weight of about 600 lbs (300 kg). I’ve driven a D5 before and noticed the additional 15% weight does not influence the drivability. Please note both cars were equipped with air suspension, keeping the body straight in curves.
The weight has however another consequence, it makes the total allowable vehicle weight 6600 lbs (3010 kg). While most light-alloy wheels are designed for max 1550 lbs (700 kg), they can’t be used for the T8 although they will fit. That’s why the available selection of Volvo rims is limited. Be aware of this when you buy third-party wheels, I was almost fooled by a ‘professional’ tyre centre not have a clue a rim has a maximal weight capacity.



Charging
While it’s a plug-in hybrid, the car is equipped with a charge connection. Volvo decided to mount it on the left front fender close to the drivers’ door. A good location. I’ve mounted my charger against a wall about 5 ft (1.5 m) away when parking my car. When I step out, I can direct grep the cable and plug it in. As you want to charge daily – I mean after each ride – please make the plug-in sequence as convenient as possible. If you have to open the trunk, get the charger form under the floor and walk back to the A-pillar – revise when you want to use the car again - you properly will stop charging it very soon.
The plug-in adapter is a little clumsy. It’s a plastic door – like the average fuel cap enclosure – you can open by pressing it slightly. The electric contacts of the actual connector are covered and protected by a tight fitted plastic cap you have to remove each time. You can however mount the cap on the inside of the door, like you use to do with the fuel cap, while charging. Putting it back over the contacts again requires some precision handling and simply cost too much time. While the XC90 has a fuel door 2.0 – without an additional cap – this plug-in is not optimal imho.
At the moment you have plugged-in – and both systems did do some kind of validation – the charging actually starts. On your charger you normally can select several charge currents, were lower levels simply requests longer charging times. I’ve set my charger tot the highest current possible for the T8, 13 A (at 230 V). It charges the battery in about 2,5 hours. The V60 PIH is equipped with an additional timer to set the time the car starts to charge, to load the batteries during off-peak times. The XC90 does not support such a timer, so if you want to benefit from low pricing/off-peak electricity rates you have to make sure your wall charger supports the timing.
When the charging is started the plug-in connector is locked. This locking is independent of the door locking, but the unlocking however is coupled to the doors. So if you want to unlock the plug-in cable, you first have to unlock the doors. I’ve the keyless entry option, so touching the door handle is enough to unlock the plug.
A LED in the plugin adapter of the car, above the connector, indicates the status of the charge process. As long as the doors are not locked, the instrument panel shows the time the charging will be finished.



Preconditioning and heating
My car is equipped with a parking heater, I’m not aware that’s available in the US. Precondition is mainly to get the batteries, and petrol engine, on an acceptable operating temperature. The parking heater is for comfort. Only in the XC90 both systems are bound together – named preconditioning - and I read the manual several times but still do not understand how it functions exactly. I’m not the only one, this is a big complain under T8 owners. According to the manual precondition works electrical when connected to a charger and on fuel otherwise. When I tried it , connected to a charger, the fire alarm was triggered while the garage was filled by the pollution of the fuel heater. For those knowing the preconditioner/parking heater of the V60 PIH, that works complete different compared to the XC90. In the XC90 you can only switch it ON/OFF either manually or by a timer.
When you drive electrical, the heating is normally electrical as well but seems to have too low capacity. IMHO it only works adequate when you use the seat heating as well. Fortunately, deep in the climate menu’s there’s an option to heat the interior by the parking heater when driving electrically. That works great!
Annoying is the fuel heater won’t work when the fuel tank level is below 25%. It cost me some time to figure out why the fuel heater wasn’t working.

Modes
Driving a hybrid is more or less planning in advance what you want. The T8 has a lot of driver modes. Where in the other models these modes are focussing on the drivability of the car, the focus in the T8 drive modes is on the drive line. You can split all modes in two groups;
- Hybrid, Pure and Save are about driving either electrical or on petrol;
- AWD, Off-road and Power are about driving both electrical and on petrol at the same moment.

The difference between Hybrid and Pure mode is mainly the switching-point the petrol engine takes over from the e-traction. According to the manual they do a lot more, e.g. switching heating etc, but that effect you don’t really recognise. Yes, when you switch-over from Hybrid to Pure the range is extended by a couple of miles. But in daily practice the e-range between Hybrid and Pure seems to be equal.
There is no electrical-only mode, so if you want to drive electrical you have to be using the ‘gaspedal’ with some care, especially when taking off. That request some practice. In the beginning I pressed it to deep, or to fast, and the Petrol engine takes over. However, gently pressing the pedal changes the car in a sort of elderly people vehicle. After some practice I got the feeling to give the right response to get the energy indicator to the switching-point but still be in e-traction only. I get the impression the software has some threshold to the witching point, and now I manage to drive completely electric when I want. Normally my take-off acceleration is quicker compared to other vehicles especially when others have to change gear. Especially Pure mode is in this case handy to enlarge the bandwidth of the e-traction usage.
The e-range is of course heavily dependent on your drive style. Simply by driving along with other traffic, I get a 21~25m (35-40 km) range in town with speeds up to 45~49 mph (70-80 km/h).
Above 55m (90 km/h) the batteries dry-up rapidly. In theory you can drive up to 77 mph (125 km/h) electrical but above 62 mph (100 km/h) the acceleration is quite poor due to the limitation of a 80 hp e-traction.

Beside these modes, the range is also influenced by the position of the gearshift lever. In the normal D-position the car only regenerates energy when braking softly, e.g. avoiding the friction brakes take over. In the B-position the car also regenerates when the pedal is released. The effect is direct noticeable. Normally the cars rolls quite long because the friction loss of the e-traction is low. When regeneration is selected, the car deaccelerates comparable if a high-compressed diesel engine brake is used. I don’t have a clue why we can select either mode, in the V60 PIH you can’t. I always use the B-mode.
Unfortunately I’m living in an almost flat country, so I can’t get really the benefits. The only energy I can generate is while rolling towards a traffic light or so. In figures, on an average e-route I regenerate about 12,5%. T8-oweners how took the car into the mountains report quite interesting energy levels, and so very good fuel consumption.
About gearshift selection, the T8 has a drive-by-wire system and is therefore the only model with the crystal gear shifter with some short-path switching like a joystick. The system works perfect, you can select fast and accurate.
Volvo brought this a the top of the cream of the interior, but I believe it misses the overall woww. The crystal is elegant and beautiful, but the shape makes is a little dull and not really pretty to keep it in hand. The crystal is illuminated at night by white LED-light, not giving a warm environment. While the shifter becomes full of fingerprints, it’s not the most beautiful part of the interior imho.
By the way, in B-position you also can select manually gear. But if you didn’t order the steering wheel paddles, you can only shift manually down because moving the shifter the other way you instantaneously select D again. Only the paddle shifting gives you the possibility to drive manually.

Back to the drive-line modes. The Save mode has some special features. It doesn’t shut down e-traction completely, but reduces the take-over switching point of the petrol to a low level. In fact only the initial part of the take-off is done electrically, than the Petrol takes over. In the display the key lock-symbol is shown - close to the battery level - to make clear the level is saved for later usage. If the level is below 33%, the petrol engine starts to generate electricity. Only making electricity out of fuel is very inefficient and you get fuel consumption figures below 18 mpg (13 l/100 km). That’s only interesting when you have to enter later-on a pollution free area or so. By the way, via regeneration you always get enough energy to drive slowly electrically, for example in parking garages and so.
Every time I drive electrical, I get a big smile. The first time it’s really odd to ‘start engine’ without any sound at all. It’s such a comfortable and smooth ride, it’s simply great. The change-over between e-traction and petrol - and back - is seamless. I don’t notice it until the transmission switches gear.
To use the plug-in Hybrid technology optimally, you really have to plan the drive-selection during your ride. Unfortunately in either Pure and Hybrid the system is always using all available electrical energy before it switches to petrol. Especially for longer destinations, or when traffic jam is ahead, I would prefer to use Petrol-only on the motorway when the car is at constant speed to reserve the electrical energy for later usage. What I normally do, is to drive all electrical to the motorway, activate Adaptive CC and switch over to Save, to use the battery again when I leave the motorway into an urban area. Although it seems to be logic, I don’t have a clue if this is the best solution. On the other hand, if changing from drive-mode was intent to be done regularly while driving, Volvo could have thought about a better location of the switch. IMHO you have to move your hand too much backwards.
I find it a little annoying, although my car is equipped with an uncountable number of microcontrollers, I have to plan the use of all these drive-line modes myself. Although almost all electronic systems are bound together, the hybrid technology can’t use the navigation or dynamic road information to think ahead.

Power, the fun factor
But, there is more. Volvo doesn’t brand this car XC90 PIH, but T8. It’s the top of the line with 407 Hp and the smart choice – according to Volvo marketing – over the classical V8 SUV.
Are you waiting at a traffic light and a car is approaching from behind, taking the left lane with this I-never-stop-behind-a-Volvo-attitude? Switch to Power, smile friendly and hit the trigger when the light becomes green. At the next traffic light this car will gently stop behind you ;-)
Because fun starts by selecting power mode. The energy-gauge disappears and is replaced by a rpm gauge. The car is fast, the 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) is an indication of the power but how often do you accelerate to that speed? In an urban environment the time to maximal 45 mph (75 km/h) is much more important and at these speeds the e-traction is giving full support. The Power mode is the mode you can get addicted to.
Not only at take off the Power mode is fantastic, also on higher speeds. I already have driven the car at the German Autobahn at 115 mph (185 km/h). The car reaches quickly those type of speed levels. For the Classic that was about the limit you could drive, but this car feel still stable and has enough response to go faster. It’s a true left lane machine ;-)
Unfortunately the T6 is not available here – due to tax it would be much more expensive compared to a T8 - so I can’t compare it.
Although the T8 is in Power mode a fast car, something is missing. When you select Power mode in a V60PIH - a Diesel (!) – it transforms in a more or less mean machine. That type of aggressive respond your lacking in the T8. You are not actual aware of the speed nor acceleration it provides. If you have driven a V8 SUV before – especially the German revivals – you will notice the difference. Of course the T8 is not on par with AMG/M/RS-type of cars, that’s another league.
I’ve tried to overrule the standard Power mode settings, by setting up my own power mode preferences via the individual menu option. You can enhance the characteristics but it’s still not a the level I meant before.

Fuel consumption
Due to the different drive modes the fuel consumption of the T8 is very ambivalent. It’s not only dependent on your driver style but also on the distance. When you’re able to keep the rides within the e-range, you won’t need fuel at all. That’s of course theory. In practice you always will pass the e-range, simply because you can’t always charge or don’t have the time to recharge it completely. From that point of view the following figures are simply practice, with a mix energy sources.
If you charge daily, commute within the e-range you get easily figures in the mid and high 40’s (5,8 l/100 km or better). When you commute outside the e-range (e.g. no recharge at the office location) you will get about 23 mph (10 l/100 km). But, if you switch it always to power mode, or drive 115 mph (185 km/h) at the German autobahn, you will end up around 14 mph (16,5 l/100 km).
I’m not 100% eco-focussed to get the best fuel economy possible. If that’s your goal, you shouldn’t looking for a 5050 lbs (2300 kg) car in the first place. About 70% of my rides are short distance (< 15 miles), the remaining 30% - but 50% of the mileage - are motorway. I charge daily - or better after each use - and my average is now 40,5 mph (5,8 l/100 km) over 1650 miles (2600 km).
At this time of the year, a lot of my fellow T8 owners drive up to the Alps. That’s about 650 miles (1000 km) mainly via German Autobahn. Just switching ACC to 95 mph (150 km/h). They reported fuel consumptions about 22~19 mpg (10,5~12,5 l/100km). But worse after 155~185 miles (250~300 km) they start already looking for a gas station. Because the 13,5 gallon tank (50 l) is the only real big disadvantage of a T8.

Final
The XC90 T8 is simply a fantastic car. Every day, I still get the wow feeling. After some hectic business meetings, it’s my daily zen-space. It fulfils – up to now - all criteria I selected this car in the first place. As stated before it’s somewhat curious you have to do the planning and selecting of all drive-modes yourself.
For me there is still one interesting topic open. How will the T8 tow my 4400 lbs (2000 kg) caravan and what will be the range I can drive with it? The fuel tank is simply too limited. That will take at least till spring before I get the answer to that question…


Hi kind sir, could you give us an update please?
 
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