2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 Review


7 years into its design cycle, the second generation Volvo XC90, first debuted in 2015, still looks elegant and fresh today. This is what happens when you have a timeless design. Without the big grilles and funky body panels, the XC90 was a breath of fresh air then as it is now. 

It is the only three-row in Volvo’s current line-up. The spacious interior and comfortable ride makes the XC90 a perfect family vehicle. The Recharge trim features a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivetrain. It has a combined 455hp of power and 58km of pure electric range. 

Thanks to Volvo Canada, I had the 2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge  for one week to test drive. Below is my unbiased review.


The XC90 is a handsome looking full-size SUV, especially after the mid-cycle refresh in 2019. Iconic design cues include the signature Thor’s hammer headlights, the wraparound ascending tailights, the Iron Mark logo, and the waterfall center grille. The XC90 is well proportioned from all angles. It has a polished, elegant look that exudes self confidence.

Even in 2023 the XC90 is still one of the best looking premium SUVs on the market. 


The interior of the XC90 is comfortable, functional, and upscale. Granted, all Volvos have the same basic interior design, but why change something that works? The minimalist cabin is decorated with premium materials. They include real wood inlays, Orrefors Crystals gear lever, leather surfaces, and beautifully crafted aluminum speaker grilles. 

The front seats are heated and provide great adjustability. The hugging side bolsters might be slightly restrictive for wider bodies, but are great at keeping passengers in place in fast corners. 

The middle seats of the XC90 are also very comfortable. There is plenty of legroom and headroom. Middle-row passengers also enjoy privacy screens, a dedicated climate system with 4 air vents located on the B pillars and behind the center console, coat hanger sockets, side map lights, and an expansive panoramic sunroof. 

Getting to the 3rd row cabin is relatively easy. With the flick of a lever, the 2nd row seat slides forward and reveals a sufficiently large opening to the rear cabin. The two bench seats in the back are best suited for children. 3rd row passengers have access to large side storage bins and their own cup holders. 


The 2022 XC90 Recharge still uses the same "Sensus" infotainment system. While perfectly functional, it is starting to show its age. The 2023 model should be fitted with its new Android based infotainment system. 

The iPad style 9.3” portrait screen is its centerpiece. Swiping left and right reveals additional menus, and swiping down from the top allows access to vehicle settings and the owner’s manual. There is a dedicated home button at the bottom of the screen, just like an iPad. The home menu provides five basic options: navigation, media, connectivity, sound settings, and climate settings. Alternatively, passengers can swipe left to access built-in applications such as Spotify, Pandora, Baidu or TuneIn. Swiping right on the other hand, allows access for numerous car functions such as lane-keeping assist, park assist, and the start-stop system. Android Auto and Apple Carplay are available through the provided USB ports. The portrait style screen leaves some real estate for the car functions while the Android Auto, or Apple Carplay are in use.

The 12.3” digital instrument cluster is large and easy to read. Two analog looking dials display vehicle speed and engine rpm. The middle portion is reserved for either media information or the navigational map. 

The Bowers & Wilkins audio system that comes with our tester not only sounds great but also looks amazing. There is a 12-channel amplifier that delivers 1400 watt of sound through 19 speakers. The subwoofer is built into the subframe, and the front facing tweeter is positioned high for a better sound quality. The slight yellow hue of the Kevlar mids is visible through the speaker grilles. Something you only see in high end audio equipment.

 is equipped with the upgraded Android-based infotainment system. It is noticeably quicker and more straightforward to use than the old Sensus system. However, some frequently used functions like the seat warmers, cabin climate controls, camera views, and drive mode select still require the driver to go through multiple menus. These functions would really benefit from dedicated physical buttons. 

The 9.1” tablet style portrait screen behaves exactly like a tablet. Swiping left and right reveals additional menus, and there is a dedicated home button at the bottom of the screen. Saying “Hey Google” activates the virtual assistance of the Android Auto system, so does pressing the talk button on the steering wheel. 

The standard 12.3 digital instrument cluster is gorgeous. The screen is large enough to display real time vehicle information and navigation directions at the same time. 

There is no Head-Up display like in some premium vehicles, also missing are AM radio and wireless Android Auto.

Safety and Driver Assistance

Like all Volvo the 2022 XC90 comes with plenty of safety features. They include:

  • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Cross Traffic Alert

  • City Safety Collision Avoidance Technology

  • Pilot Assist Drive System w/Adaptive Cruise Control

  • Lane Keeping Aid

  • Road Sign Information

  • Rear Collision Warning

  • Driver Alert Control

It earned Top Safety Pick+ from IIHS and 5 star safety rating from NHTSA.


The XC90 Recharge used to be called the T8. It still uses the same sophisticated drivetrain that consists of a retuned 312hp 2.0L turbocharged and supercharged inline 4-cylinder engine and a 143hp electric motor. The combination generates 455hp of total power and 523 lb-ft of torque. It utilizes an 8-speed automatic transmission to send that power to all four wheels. The Recharge is also equipped with an up-sized 14.9Kwh battery. This allows for the XC90 to travel 58km with just its electric motor. 

While many plug-in hybrid vehicles prioritize fuel efficiency over performance, the Volvo XC90 Recharge is surprisingly spirited, especially for such a big car.  0-100km/hr happens in just under 5.5 seconds, faster than many sports cars. The electric motor and battery does add 550 pounds of weight to the XC90. This can be compensated by the optional air suspension, which adds Eco, Comfort, Off Road, and Dynamic drive modes along with individually customizable suspension settings. The air suspension provides a smooth ride on most road surfaces, even with the optional 21” wheels.

The XC90 also handles very well for such a big car. The suspension might be on the softer side, but still manages to control body rolls in corners to an acceptable level. The steering is precise and responsive. There isn’t a whole lot of feedback from the steering wheel, but it is nicely weighted for stability. 

Our Recharge tester is incredibly fuel efficient thanks to its battery upgrade. This is particularly important given our high gas price and my heavy foot.

Cargo Space & Storage

There is 317L of cargo space behind the 3rd row seats. With the third row seats down, the capacity is increased to a respectable 967L. With both second and third row seats folded, the total cargo capacity is increased to 1840. There is no spare tire under the trunk floor, just a tire repair kit and air cylinders for the optional air suspension system. 

In cabin storage options are plentiful. 3rd row passengers get their own cup holders and storage trays. The 2nd row passengers enjoy smaller side door pockets, mesh pockets behind the front seats, and integrated cup holders in the center folding armrest. The glove compartment and the center console storage bin are on the smaller side, but there are plenty of small trays throughout the cabin for smaller items.


7 years into its design cycle, the XC90 is still one of my favorite 3 row SUVs. The 2022 Recharge model features a bigger battery for longer pure EV range and a more powerful drivetrain for an engaging drive. Yes, Volvo will be introducing an all electric EX90 in 2023. However, I would argue that a PHEV is still best suited for most Canadians who enjoy occasional longer drives. 


$103,150 CAD as tested

Color Onyx Black


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