When it comes to large SUV PHEVs with 7 seats they are currently few and far between. To be honest, off the top of my head the only example I currently know of is the Volvo XC90 Recharge. Therefore, its good to see that Volvo has increased the battery capacity (now 18.8kWh) and as a result, the official EPA EV range has gone up to 35 miles. When it comes to towing the XC90 has a capacity of up to 5,000 lbs and plenty of power to match.
Volvo XC90 Recharge Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 3,500 lbs
- Availability – Late 2022
- Price – Starting $64,080
- EPA EV Range – 35 miles
- Combined (city/highway) – 66 MPGe and 26 MPG
- Maximum Charge Rate/Time – 3.5kW (5 hours)
Volvo XC90 Recharge HP & Torque
- AWD: Combined output of 455 HP & 523 lb-ft of torque
- 2.0L Turbo Petrol: 310 HP & 295 lb-ft of torque
- Electric Motor provides: 145 HP & 227 lb-ft of torque
Volvo XC90 Recharge Towing Capabilties
Of all the Volvo PHEV models including the S60 & V60, S90 & V90 and XC60 it shouldn’t be too surprising that the largest of these the XC90 Recharge gets the highest towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. However, its still a little odd in one sense as all PHEV models get the same combined power output of 455 HP.
When it comes to the Volvo SUVs the XC90 Recharge with its 5,000 lb towing capacity is a notable jump up over the XC60 Recharge which is officially rated to tow up to 3,500 lbs. But what about EV range, surely the larger/heavier XC90 has less range from the same 18.8kWh battery?
Now, this is a little surprising, but no, there is no difference in EV range between the XC60 and XC90 Recharge, both are rated by the EPA at 35 miles. I sort of understand this, as they both have a similar aerodynamic profile, but then again the XC90 has 307 lbs on the kerb weight of the XC60?!
Logically, you would presume that additional weight is going to reduce EV range, but officially apparently not. Whether that stands up in other tests as yet we don’t know. But on face value, if its true and you can afford it going for the XC90 over the XC60 is a sound choice, with more seats and more towing capacity.
Lots Of Power & AWD With A Twist
As Volvo increased the battery capacity they must have also thought ‘we can now put in a larger electric motor’ so they did. The rear electric motor fitted to the XC90 Recharge has been upped from around 84 HP to 146 HP. As a result, the total output figures along with the internal combustion engine for the new XC60 Recharge are pretty crazy at 455 HP & 523 lb-ft of torque.
Hence, more than enough power and torque to tow 5,000 lbs up any gradient you’ll come across on the road. But let’s discuss for a second how the PHEV drivetrains of Volvo cars work. The internal combustion engine drives the front wheels only and the electric motor drives the rear wheels only.
Therefore, these are AWD vehicles, but they can only provide all-wheel-drive traction when the internal combustion engine is also running. They cannot drive around in AWD mode purely on electric power as say a Toyota RAV4 Prime can for instance.
Furthermore, you cannot lock Volvo PHEV models into EV mode only, if you push the accelerator hard, the internal combustion engine will start. Now, some people don’t like that if they wish to conduct their daily driving (not towing) with only electrical energy, and I get that, but it needs more context.
The dashboard in the Volvo PHEVs shows how you’re accelerating and at what point the ICE will kick in. Hence you do have control to not use the ICE, you just have to be light on your right foot and pay attention to the dashboard.
XC90 Recharge vs The Competition
As I stated in the intro, if you’re looking for a 7 seat SUV PHEV really the XC90 Recharge is your only option. But let’s presume for second those additional seats are not essential, then a direct competitor is the BMW X5 45e.
The BMW does actually best the Volvo when it comes to towing capacity providing up to 5,952 lbs at almost exactly the same starting price of around $64k. However, the Volvo beats the BMW on official EV range, as the BMW is only rated by the EPA at 31 miles.
Now, if you were in the UK, the BMW will get closer to 38 miles in the real-world as the BMW is fitted with a larger 24kWh battery. However, for the US market BMW has capped the capacity closer to 18kWh, hence very similar to that of the Volvo XC90 Recharge.
My Thoughts On The Volvo XC90 Recharge…
As of writing this article, Volvo is still selling the previous generation vehicles with the smaller battery/less range and less power as early 2022 model year. The updated versions above are late 2022 spec cars, so don’t make a mistake if you’re interested in buying one.
In terms of what I think about the new Volvo XC90 Recharge, yeah, pretty impressive, practical EV range for daily commuting and lots and lots of power for towing a trailer/RV up to 5,000 lbs. Hopefully, some additional testing shows that the EPA range on the XC90 Recharge is realistic at 35 miles to match the XC60 Recharge.
If there is one feature I find a little disappointing its the 3.5kW charger. Really, Volvo should be offering a 7kW charger at this price point and it should be included in the standard price. But its not even offered as an option which is odd, as it would get the recharging time down to 2.5 hours.