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Volvo - it's electrifying

Created on 19/09/2019 @ 09:58

Volvo range review by Graham Breeze

Did you really believe it when back in 2017 Volvo boldly committed to electrifying every car in its range?

And were you really convinced that the suits at Volvo had seen into the future and an era beyond the internal combustion engine?

Well if you didn’t believe or weren’t convinced it’s time to change your mind because the imminent arrival of the new XC40 T5 Twin Engine means Volvo will become the first car manufacturer to offer plug-in hybrid versions of its entire model range.

The new T5 Twin Engine will join two diesel and three petrol powertrains in the XC40 range and if you’re still not convinced be ready for the all-electric model arriving later in the year to complete the range.

XC40 will be the only plug­in hybrid car in the premium compact SUV Segment and its arrival will be music to the ears of the switched-on fleet buyer.

The emissions efficiency of the T5 Twin Engine delivers significant cost­of­-ownership benefits, including a benefit ­in kind tax rate for the company car driver of just 16%.

For a 40% taxpayer this means their monthly tax bill of £218 in the current financial year would drop to £163 in 2020/2021 – a significant saving of £660 per year.

The T5 Twin Engine is also exempt from annual Vehicle Excise Duty, so there’s no road tax to pay.The efficient new 1.5­litre three cylinder 180hp petrol engine with an 82hp electricmotor in a hybrid system that delivers 262hp, making it the most powerful powertrain in the XC40 range. 

This power is balanced with C02 emissions from just 38g/km where 19inch wheels are fitted and you can expect combined fuel consumption figures of 141mpg.

Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK's Managing Director, said: "The introduction of the T5 Twin Engine brings our electrification programme to the heart of our model line­up, demonstrating our commitment to giving all our customers the best possible choice when it comes to powertrains that are both better for the environment and also practical for their lifestyles and driving requirements. 

“The XC40 T5 Twin Engine is the first plug-­in hybrid car in the premium compact SUV segment, and its technology brings real day ­to ­day cost benefits in terms of tax and fuel consumption."

On­-the-­road prices are from £40,905 for the R­Design. Volvo retailers are taking

customer orders now, with the first cars scheduled for UK delivery in February 2020.

XC90 upgrades

Volvo has also also introduced a series of upgrades for the seven-seat XC90, making its flagship luxury SUV an even more appealing proposition with new styling details, additional equipment, upgrades to petrol-electric plug-in versions and the UK debut of a new mild-hybrid powertrain.
On sale now, the 2020 model year XC90 range is the first to offer Volvo’s new mild-hybrid engine range, in this case a diesel designated ‘B5’.

This combines Volvo’s established 2.0-litre 235hp diesel engine with a 48-volt battery, a KERS kinetic energy recovery system and an integrated starter generator. The system improves fuel economy – by up to 15 per cent in real-world driving – and produces lower emissions than the outgoing D5 XC90 it replaces.

Energy captured when the car brakes or decelerates is stored as electricity in the battery. This is used to supplement the engine’s performance when accelerating and to power ancillary functions such as the headlights and audio system. The technology will be applied to petrol engines in the XC90 line-up in the coming year.

The B5 also gets an updated automatic transmission, which brings improved fuel efficiency and superior gearshift quality. Acceleration from a standstill is sharper, too, thanks to a greater torque capacity in the lower gears. The B5 also breaks new ground for Volvo by using a brake-by-wire
The XC90’s T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain has been revised, with an increase in the high-voltage battery’s capacity from 10.4 to 11.8 kilowatt hours. This increases the car’s electric-only driving range from up to 21.7 to a maximum of 28.6 miles – more than enough for an urban commuting journey.
The styling changes focus on detailing, with new grille and lower front bumper designs. The air intakes also have a fresh look and new alloy wheel designs have been introduced. All XC90 versions also now come with integrated roof rails and dual integrated exhaust tailpipes as standard.

R-Design variants have been given an even more purposeful look with a new black high-gloss finish for the exterior trim, including the door mirror casings, window frames and roof rails. Inscription-grade XC90s feature a new chrome strip that runs the full width of the rear bumper. There are also new exterior paint options, with the introduction of Thunder Grey, Pebble Grey and Birch Light shades.

Inside, the R-Design versions can now be specified with a new Slate upholstery colour, offered in addition to the established, darker, Charcoal option.

The XC90 has an impressive standard specification. Key features include the Sensus nine-inch multimedia touchscreen with voice-activated control, navigation system and access to the Volvo On Call connected services platform.

City Safety equips the car with extensive systems to warn of and help avoid many common accident risks, and to provide optimum protection if a collision does happen.

Other equipment fitted as standard includes a power-operated tailgate, LED headlights, a rear parking camera and keyless entry and start. Like every other new Volvo, the XC90 also benefits from a data SIM card, which provides access to up to 100GB of data for 12 months.

On-the-road prices are from £52,235 for the T5 Momentum, while PCP and PCH agreements are both available from £499 per month

S60 Range

Volvo has extended its S60 range too with the third generation of the firm’s premium mid-size saloon  now incorporating further powertrain choices and equipment grades, including an all­-wheel­-drive petrol­-electric hybrid and a trim level that focuses on luxury and craftmanship.
The existing T5 turbocharged 250hp petrol unit has been joined by an all-wheel-drive T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain, combining a 303hp petrol engine with an 87hp electric motor for a total output of 390hp. Performance is suitably electrifying, with 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds.
The T8 Twin Engine’s 11.8kWh battery provides an electric-only range of up to 36 miles, with CO2 emissions from just 39g/km. Fuel economy (on the WLTP combined cycle) is up to 176.5mpg.

Like the T5, the T8 Twin Engine uses a Volvo Drive-E petrol engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The R-Design Edition launch trim has been replaced by R-Design Plus and is joined by the new Inscription Plus variant.
The expanded S60 range is available to buy now, priced from £37,935 on the road.


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