First drive: Refreshed Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription Plus

By RIZAL JOHAN | 19 December 2019

Volvo's XC90 luxurt sports utility vehicle (SUV) has been refreshed in terms of design and added gusto.

The XC90 is offered in three variants: the T5 Momentum, T8 Twin Engine Inscription and the T8 Twin Engine Inscription Plus, priced at RM373,888, RM399,888 and RM409,888 respectively. All prices are on-the-road without insurance.

The T5 features a turbocharged 2.0L engine only while the T8 Inscription and Inscription Plus comes with a hybrid electric powertrain - the new 11.6kWh lithium-ion Hybrid Battery with longer electric drive range of 50km - plus the 2.0L engine is both supercharged and turbocharged.


As a result, both the T8 variants have significantly more power with 407hp and 640Nm of torque while the T5 outputs 254hp and 350Nm of torque.

All variants are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Members of the media were recently treated with a drive with the top-specced T8 Inscription Plus for a getaway from the city to the lush forests of Janda Baik, Pahang where we spent the night at Tiarasa Escapes Glamping Resort.

We spent more time with the T8 Inscription after that and drove the car up north to Ipoh, Perak for the weekend. The distinguishable feature of the refreshed Volvo XC90 is the grille.


Whereas before the vertical slats were flat, it’s now curved inward with a redesigned lower bumper as well. Also new inside the T8 is a newly designed Orrefors crystal gear lever.

The top-of-the-range T8 Inscription Plus comes with the Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound Audio System which has 19 speakers.

This is the main difference between the T8 Inscription and Inscription Plus and well worth the extra RM10K as it offers a crisp and dynamic audio experience.


For classical music lovers especially, the Bowers and Wilkins sound system will enthrall one’s aural senses with its rich symphonic reproduction.

The cabin of the T8 is sound-proofed to keep external sounds out to give its occupants a quiet and relaxing environment to either enjoy the music or conversation.

It is also very comfortable with its bolstered seats covered in Nappa leather and the air-conditioned keeps everyone cool as there are air vents on the B and C pillars for the rear passengers.

Unlike other vehicles, the XC90 offers something a little different when starting the engine as it is a beautifully knurled twist knob instead of a push button located on the centre console.


Just twist it to the right to start and again to switch it off. The cabin is also decorated with Walnut wood inlay which gives off a homely and relaxed surrounding.

The combination of the seats, sound proofing, premium materials and the four corner air suspension makes for a calm and contented space which helps reduce fatigue for outstation drives.

The drive up to Janda Baik was relatively a breeze as we made our way out of the city to the winding stretch of highway and finally unto the narrow and even windier road to our destination.

For a large vehicle, it doesn’t feel cumbersome to drive. Instead it was easy to drive and nimble too on and handles well around bends and corners of the B-roads.


Power is a non-issue with the XC90 what with the high amount of torque available and driving enthusiastically was easily done once the throttle was opened up.

This meant that we had used up a bit of petrol on the way there but surprisingly, on the way back and driving with a light foot it didn’t make a dent at all.

This was also evident when we took a longer drive to Ipoh and we drove there and back to Kuala Lumpur with plenty of fuel left.


The XC90 though, is big on safety and with its long list of safety features such as collision avoidance and mitigation including when reversing into traffic, blind spot information system, lane keeping assist, 360 degree camera, it is a vehicle determined to keep you and your occupants safe at all costs and this would be the main reason for acquiring the XC90.

The XC90 continues its legacy of safety while adding luxurious appointments in the T8 Inscription Plus and the power and excitement it offers makes it a well-heeled luxury SUV.



Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription Plus

Engine: 1,969cc Drive-E engine with Turbocharger and Supercharger
Maximum Output: 407hp
Maximum Torque: 640Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Automatic with Geartronic
Acceleration (0-100kph): 5.6s
Maximum speed: 230kph
Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 2.6 litres per 100km
Features: 275/45 R20 tyres, Tyre Sealant Kit, Head-Up Display (HUD), Sensus Navigation, Active Chassis with 4-Corner Air Suspension, Orrefors Crystal Gear Lever with Illumination, Inscription Nappa Leather Key Integrated Remote with Central Locking, Comfort Seats with Nappa Leather Upholstery, Full LED Illumination Headlights with Active High Beam & Active Bending Lights (ABL), High-pressure Headlight Cleaners, Park Assist Pilot, Parallel Parking & Perpendicular Parking, 360° Surround View Camera, Second Row Air Conditioning with Tunnel Console Vent, Panoramic Sunroof, Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound Audio System with 19 Speakers, Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) with Adjustable Steering Wheel Force, Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold Function, Hill Start Assist (HSA), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Engine Start/Stop System, City Safety - Collision Avoidance & Mitigation with Intersection Support Pedestrian, Cyclist & Large Animal Detection, City Safety with Steering Support, Front & Rear Collision Warning & Mitigation Support, Driver Alert Control (DAC), Lane Keeping Aid (LKA), Run-Off Road Mitigation with Road Edge Detection, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Steer Assist, Cross Traffic Alert (CTA) with Auto Brake, Seat Belt Detection with Graphical Indicator for All Seats, Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Dual Stage Driver & Front Passenger Airbags, Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) with Dual Chamber,SIPS Airbags, ISOFIX Attachment Point, Keyless Entry & Drive, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pilot Assist, Park Assist Front & Rear, Power Operated Tailgate with Hands-free Operation, 4-Zone Electronic climate control (ECC) with Cooled Glove Box, Apple Carplay & Android Auto
Price: RM409,888 (on-the-road without insurance)