Volvo V90 T6 Recharge 2023 Review | Goodwood Test

Volvo still makes one of the best estate cars on the market...
16th June 2023
Ben Miles



Volvo makes more than just SUVs. It’s quite easy to forget that these days. The most common time you’ll see the diagonal Volvo badge across the grille of a car these days is on a high-riding machine, probably cruising around your town centre. But Volvo’s past making excellent estates isn’t just history, it’s the now.

The V90 is the latest version of the biggest one Volvo makes, the archetypal Volvo, the big, slightly boxy estate that you’ll feel extremely safe sticking your young family in. Now, to make it even more appealing, it’s a plug-in hybrid too.

We like

  • Classy Volvo design
  • Smooth performance
  • Impressive electric range

We don't like

  • A touch pricey perhaps
  • Interior lacks interest
  • Touchscreen dominates functionality



Volvo knows its design rules, and no matter how much modernity is added, the recipe is still distinctive. There’s the rectangular grille at the front with the consistent diagonal Volvo logo. The strong roof into a near bluff rear, the lights might not run the whole way down the boot any more, but do make significant progress. It’s all so comfortingly Volvo it might as well be sold with a Volvo-embossed weighted blanket.

The modern touches do exist. And they work. The Thor’s Hammer insets on the headlights, as also seen on sister cars from Polestar. The angular nature of the rear light cluster, now reaching across the boot as if trying to touch the rear numberplate. It’s all there, just in a minimalist, dare we say Swedish manner.

Performance and Handling


A four-cylinder, 2.0-litre, petrol engine powers the front of the Volvo V90 Recharge, while an electric motor adds some torque to the rear axle. The engine brings 253PS (186kW) and 350Nm (258lb ft) and the rear axle gets 145PS (107kW) and a not insignificant 309Nm (228lb ft). That’s quite chunky for a cruise-y estate and 62mph will arrive in 5.5 seconds.

It never feels particularly like it’s climbing up the speedo like a Ferrari Testarossa, but that’s a testament to the extremely comforting nature of the Volvo V90’s chassis. There are very few cars that will provide the kind of relaxing arrival that the V90 can, even some that make this V90’s near £70,000 price seem tame. However, it is definitely a car for cruising. There’s little dynamism to the drive, even with the motor providing twist to the rear axle. Expect to spend your time relaxed rather than exhilarated.

Steering is decently weighted and the damping is excellent on both highways and the pitted face of Sussex’s B-roads. The engine has a decent amount of pep, and the electric motor is more than capable of working on its own. In full hybrid mode the two knit together nicely, with nary a rattle when the trad motivation kicks in.

Range is good for a plug-in hybrid. That’s because the mid-life update to the V90 Recharge has seen an extra set of batteries added to the big Volvo’s innards. It doesn’t quite manage to hit its WLTP range of 52 miles (what does?) but we comfortably expected to gather between 35 and 40 miles of silent motion, which puts many rivals to shame.



As you would expect, everything inside the Volvo V90 Recharge is as sturdy as an old English Oak (Swedish tree research be damned), and no amount of poking, prodding or probing will result in any kind of unfortunate movement. For me, the design is unexciting but it’s simple to use. There are elements that will be familiar to anyone with experience of the Polestar 2’s excellent seating space.

The infotainment system is an upright touchscreen, mounted between two of the largest air vents you’ll see on a modern car. A row of buttons sits below, controlling some elements of the climate control and some of the audio – but largely everything has been migrated into the screen. Thankfully the climate control systems are sturdily shown at the bottom of the screen, and its giant size allows for everything to be rendered in large type for on the go use. In an airy light cabin, this mounting of the screen is perhaps the bit that is starting to look a little bit dated.

The seats, here contoured sports seats that are included in the Ultimate specification, complement the Volvo’s comfortable ride in excellent fashion. The design might not be as cutting edge as some rivals, but nothing can shame it on quality.

Technology and Features


Google integration is the king here. Not quite the whole hog black-and-orange simplicity of a Polestar, but Volvo has happily taken the “hand it all over to the tech giant” route. The initial skinned interface is acceptable, perhaps a little over-designed for 2023, but Google assistant renders most interactions pretty pointless. Want to go somewhere? Ask Google. Want to change the temp? Ask Google. Want help with better life decisions? Probably beyond the remit, but give it a go. The screen itself, a nine-inch portrait model, is starting to show its age a little – finger responses aren’t the quickest and as we said, it looks older in its integration – but the Google assistant can wipe most of the need to use it away.

Charging is capped at 3.7kW, so it’ll take something like five hours to fill the batteries from a rapid charger. Three-pin plug charging is available too, which will do it in about eight hours, meaning the difference between looking for a faster charger and doing it at home overnight is minimal.

As standard the V90 Recharge Ultimate comes with Google integration, a Volvo Cars App so you can set up the preconditioning etc remotely, a good ten-speaker audio system, wireless phone charging, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, parking cameras and a raft of safety systems.



Is £70,000 that steep for a top-quality large estate car? When it’s this comfortable, with an impressive range on zero emissions – the kind of range that means you will most likely only switch the petrol on once a week rather than every day – we’d argue it’s probably bang on.

The V90 might not be the most exciting car to drive, but as a day-to-day cruiser it will outclass many of its rivals. The BMW 5 Series shades the Volvo slightly on boot space and the Audi A6 might just about match it on electric range, but we would argue that if you’re jumping into a car to take the kids to school, in desperate need of something just comfortable, rapid and easy to use, the V90 stands out.


Engine 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder plug-in hybrid petrol
Power 253PS (186kW) @ 5,500rpm + 145 (107kW)
Torque 350Nm (258lb ft) @ 5,000rpm + 309Nm (228lb ft)
Transmission Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
Kerb weight 2,026kg
0-62mph 5.5 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Fuel economy 256mpg
Electric range 52 miles (WLTP)
CO2 emissions 19-25g/km
Price £69,240 (as tested)

Our score

4 / 5

This score is an average based on aggregated reviews from trusted and verified sources.

  • Top Gear
    4 out of 5
  • What Car?
    4 out of 5
  • DrivingElectric
    4 out of 5