It’s not very often that you come across a premium car that is an SUV, has full blown safety features and on top of it is a hybrid. The Volvo XC90 was one of the most popular launches n India last year. Despite stiff competition from the German giants the Swedish car maker did manage to script a success story with the SUV in the market. The 2.0 litre Diesel ban also helped as the XC90 ran on a 1999cc Diesel engine and just about managed to evade the ban. But till now that was the only engine the XC90 was running on in India. That changed this week with the arrival of the T8 Excellence model of the car that runs on a Petrol motor and is also India’s first plug-in Hybrid SUV. The flagship is said to be amongst the most luxurious, powerful and expensive cars ever launched by Volvo in its almost 90 years of global existence.
The car is built on the much appreciated Scalable Product Architecture or SPA from Volvo. Some of the design cues on the outside are truly menacing. These include full time signature thor-shaped LED headlamps, the big wide multi slat chrome grille as well the beautiful looking 21 inch alloy wheels. The Scandinavian design does manage to turn heads and though in terms of dimensions it may not be the biggest SUVs around it is one of the most well-proportioned. Some other exterior features worth mentioning are chrome caps on the B and C pillars, dual integrated tail pipes, and a panoramic sun roof.
However the real story of the luxury and features is on the inside. There are four individual Nappa leather upholstered seats which are adjustable in six different ways, and the best part is that all these seats can be heated or cooled and also come with massage functions. The XC90 has been known for the fact that it is a very clutter free cabin with minimum use of buttons and here as well a 9 inch touch screen infotainment system takes care of most needs. A lot of other features that add a dash of luxury include ambient lighting, illuminated storage, folding tables, a refrigerator with bottle and glass holders, and handmade crystal glasses made by Swedish company, Orrefors. The company is also the supplier of the magnificent looking crystal gear knob in the car. The 12.3” instrument cluster also adds as lot of utility and the second row also comes with 4.3” touch screens to control seat functions. Finally a 20 speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system ensures high fidelity surround sound experience.
The big change though on this T8 Excellence is the drivetrain. A 2.0 litre supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine is supported by a 9.2 kWh lithium ion battery. While the gasoline sits on the front of the car the rear axle is run by a motor through the batteries that sit in the central tunnel. Now it’s just four cylinder petrol motor but the combined output of the hybrid system can be a whopping 407bhp which is an impressive number. 320 of these horses belong to the petrol engine and the rest to the electric motor.A maximum torque of 640 Nm takes care of all driving needs on the car. Despite the weight the car can get to a speed of 100 kmph from stationary in about 6.5 seconds.
This being a hybrid means there are different driving modes available on the car. To begin with there’s the Pure mode, where the car runs purely on batteries, powering the electric motor over the rear axle. The mode has a regenerative braking system which means when more power is required; the petrol combustion engine starts up automatically. In the Hybrid mode as the name suggests, alternately, power is drawn from the Drive-E engine and the electric motor to deliver the best overall fuel consumption with minimum emissions. For the performance enthusiast the Power mode ensures combined performance of the combustion engine and the electric motor. On batteries alone the car can run for a range of 40 kms and charging the batteries fully takes about 2 and a half hours.
Volvo has priced the XC90 T8 Excellence at Rs. 1.25 crore (ex-showroom Delhi). Now this isn’t exactly cheap but we’ve already mentioned the long list of features the hybrid SUV comes with. Included in the price is the cost of installing 2 charging stations at any place of your choice that could easily be home and office. So leave behind the worries of batteries running out of charge. It is also the first car in India to come with a 360 degree radar-based safety that activates an array of pre-emptive safety functions like Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Collision Warning with full Auto-Braking for Pedestrians.Volvo says that they’ve already got 50 confirmed buyers in India and that is definitely a great start for a set of wheels that cost this much.