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Volvo is synonymous with safety, but the Swedish brand is hoping that soon it will be famous for electrification too.
In 2022, it will continue its electrification plans with the introduction of the updated plug-in hybrid XC90 Recharge, which it hopes will take the fight to the BMW X5 xDrive 45e, Range Rover Sport P400e and Lexus RX450h.
As we’ve previously reported, Volvo has announced the changes for the 2022 model year PHEV, but how will the new Volvo stack up to its competition? The three previously mentioned models represent the clearest rivals to the XC90 Recharge as the trio feature hybrid powertrains and are similar-sized luxury SUVs.
The upgraded XC90 Recharge will continue Volvo’s focus on its performance option, sticking with the ‘T8’ powertrain that features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that is both supercharged and turbocharged, plus assisted by a new, more powerful electric motor. That will lift performance to 339kW/709Nm – up from 300kW/640Nm in the current PHEV – which will make it the most potent in the quarter of hybrid SUVs we’re looking at here.
By comparison, the Range Rover Sport PHEV makes 297kW/640Nm from its electrically-assisted 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol powertrain. Next up – at least in terms of power – is the BMW’s 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol-electric set-up that makes 290kW/600Nm, ahead of the Lexus RX450h with its 3.5-litre V6 petrol-electric combination making 230kW/335Nm.
Performance is only part of the story, with these four also set to be cross-shopped on fuel economy.
But Volvo is yet to reveal final figures for the new Recharge model, though the company has announced it will feature a more powerful, 18.8kWh lithium battery which will extend its ‘EV-only’ range to 72km.
For comparison, BMW claims the X5 45e uses just 2.5 litres per 100km on the combined urban/freeway cycle, ahead of the Range Rover’s 2.8L/100km claim and well clear of the Lexus’ 5.7L/100km return; which is expected as it’s a conventional hybrid, not a plug-in.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the new Volvo either, but given its improved engine it’s likely to result in a price increase from the out-going model’s $116,990 (plus on-road costs) price tag. The good news for the Swedish brand is it already had some margin on its European rivals, with the BMW X5 45e starting at $135,400 and the Range Rover Sport P400e SE priced from $136,187.
The conventional hybrid set-up on the Lexus means it’s the price leader for these family-friendly luxury SUVs, with the three-tier line-up starting at $91,760 for the Luxury then rising to $104,260 for the F Sport and $110,460 for the Sports Luxury.
Final pricing for the new XC90 Recharge will come ahead of its launch in the first quarter of 2022.
The XC90 Recharge is seen as a bridge towards full electrification for Volvo’s biggest SUV.
The brand gave us a glimpse of what to expect with the next, all-new generation model, which is due by the middle of this decade, with the Concept Recharge earlier in 2021.
It will be designed from the beginning as an EV, which will allow for Volvo to create a bespoke electric SUV, as opposed to one that has to feature both EV and petrol/diesel powertrains, which should make it a better suited to taking on the BMW iX, Tesla Model X and Audi e-tron.