2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge AWD Ultimate Bright Theme
2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge AWD Ultimate Bright Theme

The 2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge is a plug-in hybrid luxury crossover with three rows of seating. It has handsome looks, a refined and roomy interior, tons of features and tech, and can go up to 36 miles on all-electric power. And the XC90 Recharge has spirited driving dynamics – not something you expect in a Volvo. It stands out in the huge category of midsize luxury SUVs.

Base Price: $79,400
As Tested: $85,495
Horsepower: 455
Mileage: 58 MPGe combined with electric + gas/27 mpg combined gasoline only

Volvo says its entire 2023 lineup of vehicles in the U.S. are mild hybrid, hybrid or electric vehicles. The Swedish automaker plans to only offer pure EVs by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2040.

The XC90 was introduced for the 2016 model year and is Volvo’s largest vehicle. While competitors such as the Acura MDX have been redesigned, the XC90 has not. But it has had several updates, including the addition of mild-hybrid powertrains and the addition of the plug-in hybrid. For 2023, Volvo drops the Sensus infotainment system and switches to Google-based software across its lineup.

There are three trims: Core, Plus and Ultimate, and three exterior trims, including the new Bright and Dark themes. Bright gets chrome trim while Dark gets high-gloss black trim. The Recharge Core starts at $71,900, the Plus at $73,600 and Ultimate at $79,400. All-wheel drive is standard on all trims.

The XC90 has room for six or seven passengers, depending on whether you get captain’s chairs in the second row.

The 2023 XC90 Recharge is powered by a turbocharged inline four and an electric motor. Total output is 455 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission is standard.

The XC90 Recharge is eager to accelerate. Volvo says it can go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds. Merging and passing at freeway speeds is effortless, and the XC90 Recharge excels as a comfy cruiser as you roll down the highway. It is a tall vehicle so there is some body lean when cornering. The ride is silky smooth, taking bumps and rough roads in stride. Standard AWD means you’re ready for changing weather and driving conditions.

Mileage is excellent for a midsize luxury SUV. EPA ratings for my tester are 58 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) when using gas and electric power. With gas-only power, fuel economy is about what you’d expect for a midsize SUV with 25 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. I got 102 mpg during my week. Most of my daily trips were 36 miles or less, so I didn’t have to use the gas engine much.

Volvo says it takes about five hours to charge the battery from zero to100% on a level 2 charger.

When properly equipped, the XC90 Recharge can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

The classy cabin shows Volvo’s Swedish heritage with a modern, clean look. Seats in the first two rows are supportive, comfortable and roomy with plenty of space for adults. Even the third row can handle smaller adults which is unusual in a three-row crossover. The upholstery is an attractive grey wool-blend fabric instead of the usual leather at this price point. While it looks great, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would look after hauling toddlers or teens.

 Standard features include keyless entry, push-button start, rearview camera, four-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, power memory driver seat, power passenger seat, power-folding second-row headrests, digital instrument panel, nine-inch vertical Google-based infotainment system, 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, panoramic moonroof with a power sunshade, automatic high-beams and windshield wipers adaptive LED headlights, ambient lighting, air purification system and roof rails.

Available features include a surround-view camera system, head-up display, leather upholstery, wool-blend upholstery, wood interior trim, massaging front seats, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, integrated second-row child booster seat, rear seat window shades, Harman Kardon premium audio system, Bowers & Wilkins premium audio, headlamp cleaners, and adjustable air suspension which can raise or lower vehicle height.

Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, front and rear automatic emergency braking, Pilot Assist (adaptive cruise control and enhanced lane keeping assist), blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, and driver attention monitoring.

The Google-based infotainment system with its nine-inch vertical screen looks like a large tablet. It includes Google Maps, Google Play, and Google Assistant voice control. The system responds quickly to voice and touch commands. The infotainment system has some physical controls for audio and climate, but for everything else you have to use the touchscreen, which can be a hassle. You need to navigate to the home screen and move through menus and submenus to get to the functions you want – this can be distracting while driving. At least you can arrange the touchscreen buttons to your liking so that you can quickly access the functions you use most.

The system can receive over-the-air software updates so Volvo says each 2023 vehicle is expected to improve over its lifetime.

Cargo space is above average for a midsize luxury SUV. There are 11.2 cubic feet with all three rows of seating in place, 65.5 cubes with the third row folded, and 85.7 cubes with both rows folded.

The good:

Peppy acceleration

Refined handling

Excellent fuel economy

Elegant, refined and spacious cabin

Oodles of standard features and tech

Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The not-so-good:

Infotainment system can be cumbersome to use

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $79,400. The Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system is $3,200. The 4-Corner air suspension is $1,800. Destination charge is $1,095 brining the grand total to $85,495.

Bottom line:

The 2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge stands out in the super-crowded midsize luxury SUV segment, and is especially appealing to those who are interested in an electric vehicle but also want a gas engine for longer trips. The attractive styling, peppy acceleration, refined and roomy cabin, and many tech and safety features make the XC90 worth checking out. And if your daily commute is less than 30 miles, you’ll rarely have to run on gas.

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