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2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge is a spacious, eco-friendly luxury SUV  Featured

Posted On Sunday, 21 November 2021 22:44 Written by
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Photo courtesy of Volvo Photo courtesy of Volvo The 2021 Volvo XC90 is a solid overall offering in the luxury SUV segment, and includes the Recharge plug-in hybrid offering.

For people seeking a three-row luxury vehicle, but who also want some eco-friendly options, the number of choices is limited but growing. One of the luxury brands that has been a leader in terms of green SUVs has been Volvo, whose offerings include the 2021 XC90 Recharge plug-in hybrid.

Going up against competitors from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, LIncoln and more is a tall task, but Volvo holds its own.

I recently spent some time in a 2021 XC90 Recharge, and below is a full report on my experience.


The XC90 Recharge is a three-row SUV that is Volvo’s largest vehicle offering. Its bold and attractive exterior styling features unique Volvo shaping and style in both the front and rear of the vehicle, and it’s one of the bolder and more attractive large SUVs on the roadways.

Exterior highlights include optional metallic paint, and available 21-inch alloy wheels (20-inch wheels are standard), plus a panoramic moonroof with power sunshade, bright chrome bars in front grille, dual integrated tailpipes, integrated roof rails, and LED Headlights.

Inside, the XC90 is supremely comfortable, as a luxury ride should be, and features a bevy of high-quality materials. All three rows are roomy and versatile with lots of storage options. 

One highlight is the available massaging front seats, which are a dream. There are multiple settings and speeds offered, and you won't want to get out of the car when you reach your destination.

The XC90 features either 6 or 7 seats (depending on the setup of the second row). Seats come in either Nappa Leather Upholstery or Tailored Wool Blend Seating. Heated and ventilated seats are offered, and you get attractive wood decorative inlays and a tailored dashboard. Many of the most attractive features are part of the top Inscription trim level. 

Other nice touches include inductive smartphone charging, keyless entry and a hands-free power tailgate, plus 4-Zone automatic climate control.


The 2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge is powered by a 2.0-liter Supercharged and Turbocharged engine, paired with an 8-Speed Automatic Transmission. It offers a combined 400 HP and 472 lb-ft Torque (313 horsepower direct-injected plus 87 horsepower from an electric motor), and includes an 11.6 kWh Battery.

The XC90 Recharge features electric power assisted steering, adjustable drive mode settings, anti-lock braking with Hill Start Assist, and Electronic Stability Control.

All-wheel drive is standard on most trim levels of the XC90, with only one model coming with FWD standard. The vehicle offers an optional four-corner air suspension that improves ride quality.

For a vehicle of substantial size that is also a plug-in hybrid, the XC90 Recharge drives quickly and won't leave you feeling sluggish on the roadways. Overtaking on the highway and getting up to speed quickly is not a problem at all, and the XC90 Recharge has a 0-to-60 time under 6 seconds.

The XC90 Recharge also handles remarkably well, responding better than I thought it would to driver commands. Braking is also impressive, and the cocoon-like exclusion of sounds from the road stands out in the class.


On the technology side, voice commands continue to work very well in Volvo vehicles. Whether I was trying to control the audio source or navigation or phone calls, the system understood me very well each time and gave me options to choose from.

However, Volvo continues to use an infotainment system featuring touch controls and a menu system that are more complicated than its rivals. Eventually you get to know the system well, but at the beginning there is a steep learning curve in comparison to other luxury auto makers in terms of the tech setup.

The system is focused around a 9-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen featuring smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Its navigation system, which is now standard in 2021 models, gets you where you need to go accurately, and finds POIs along the way quite effectively.

The XC90 also features:
— Volvo On Call with 4-year complimentary subscription, including mobile app w/ remote start & Send-to-Car
— WiFi Hotspot (complimentary trial subscription)
— Bluetooth connectivity for audio and phone streaming
— SIRIUSXM Radio with trial subscription
— 2 front USB-A ports and 2 rear USB-C ports
— Harman Kardon Premium Sound (with optional Bowers and Wilkins sound system upgrade)

Regarding safety, it can be argued that Volvo is the best in the business. They have long been advocates for safety innovations, and the long list of features on the XC90 is almost unmatched in the industry. One thing you will never have to worry about is whether you and your family are safe in this vehicle.

Among the advanced features offered are a Graphical Head-Up Display and 360 Surround View Camera to help in parking situations.

Others include an effective Blind Spot Information System (with Steer Assist and Cross Traffic Alert with Autobrake), Collision Avoidance by City Safety (featuring Low & High Speed Collision Mitigation, and detects vehicles/pedestrians/cyclists/large animals), Run-off Road Protection & Run-off Road Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, a bevy of air bags, and more.

In the area of automated driving, Volvo is making big advancements via its Pilot Assist Driver Assistance System, which can take over most driving duties and includes Adaptive Cruise Control to adjust to traffic. It’s one of the better systems available today.


On paper, the 2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge lists its fuel economy at 27 MPG with gasoline only, and 55 MPGe combined electric and gas rating. The MPGe rating is competitive overall vs. its competition in this class, but unfortunately, my real-world experience in the XC90 Recharge showed lower numbers when using gas only. I averaged just 18 mpg, which is far from the listed 27 mpg.

If you opt for the non-hybrid version of the XC90, official numbers listed are 20 city/28 highway/23 combined.

In terms of electric-only range, the XC90 Recharge will take you 18 miles on electricity before the gas engine kicks in. So keep in mind that if you regularly charge the plug-in, less gas will be required. Charging takes approximately three hours with a Type 2 Charger, but charging with a standard plug will take at least six hours.


The 2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge I tested was decked-out with all the options and came in at $81,690, with a starting price around $70K. Other trim levels on the Recharge start as low as roughly $64K, and the regular (non-Recharge) version of the XC90 starts closer to $50K.

These higher price ranges are on par with what buyers can expect once they enter the realm of three-row plug-in hybrids at the luxury level, and may limit the number of potential buyers.

Warranties and services included with the XC90 include:
— 48-month/50,000 mile limited warranty coverage
— 144-month corrosion protection/unlimited Mileage
— VOLVO On-Call roadside assistance
— Complimentary factory scheduled maintenance for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles


With an upscale, high-end design both inside and out, versatile storage capabilities, an impressive drive quality, plus the plug-in version's green credentials, the 2021 Volvo XC90 is a luxury crossover that will not disappoint families who can afford its hefty price tag.

--- can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge  
  • Price as tested: $81,690 (starts at $69,750)   
  • Best feature: Safety features, luxurious interior, ride quality   
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars       
  • Who will want this vehicle?: SUV buyers seeking a spacious, comfortable and modern SUV with green credentials
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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