By on July 8, 2014



Volvo’s newest SUV, the 2015 XC90, will have a wide range of powertrain options, including a a twin-charged 4-cylinder engine making 400 horsepower, with fewer CO2 emissions than a Toyota Prius.

The range topping T8 (as it will be known – presumably to symbolize V8 power) will make 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque from a 4-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged. The T8 will also utilize a plug-in hybrid system to give it 24 miles of electric range and CO2 emissions of 60 grams per kilometer – about 33 percent better than a Toyota Prius.

Also on tap are two non-hybrid four-cylinder engines, a T6 four-cylinder making 320 hp and a T5 unit making 254 hp. Two diesels will be offered as well, but likely for world markets.

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34 Comments on “Volvo’s Newest SUV Is Cleaner Than A Prius...”

  • avatar

    At least they’ve finally redesigned the body. A very minimal approach.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Of course it’s cleaner; it’s not burdened with carrying around all that other stuff – like seats, glass, and bodywork.

  • avatar

    Was this headline taken from Volvo’s press release? Because some dishonest marketing calculus is being used to make these claims.

    Because the PHEV Prius has 49 g/km CO2 emissions, meaning it produces less CO2 per Km than this Volvo PHEV hybrid that emits 60g/km.

    Whats being compared here is this PHEV hybrid with a normal Prius hybrid. Which is obviously a sham comparison because plug-in hybrids use energy from the grid (and CO2 emissions from the grid aren’t figured into the calculation). A PHEV to PHEV comparison would be more apples to apples (especially as the Prius has has a comparable PHEV version).

    Also, another hyperbolic headline could read that this ‘Volvo hybrid is more than TWICE as dirty as the Chevy Volt’ as the Volt gets 27g/km. Half Volvo’s CO2 emissions.

    • 0 avatar

      For the sake of consistency, I often use the non-PHEV Prius CO2 figure when discussing CO2 emissions. Most North American audiences aren’t familiar with it and don’t have a good heuristic. With that said, you raise a good point.

      • 0 avatar

        The current heuristic here in America is 11:42.


      • 0 avatar

        The primal sin lies in european fuel economy standards. Besides being incredibly optimistic, the labeling of plug-in hybrids is misleading. Instead of using three numbers (fuel consumption with depleted battery, electric only range and energy consumption in electric only mode), they only offer a blended number based on a formula which assumes a certain percentage of electric-only driving with the rest being on gasoline/diesel.

        I understand a single number is practical for tax reasons, but it doesn’t make any sense for the consumer. On a side note, in some countries there is a rising phenomenon of companies buying plug-in hybrids for tax reasons, but their drivers never bother to plug them in.

    • 0 avatar

      It would make more sense, if the stored electricity is calculated with an equivalent emission. No electricity is ever produced emission free. Not even solar.

      • 0 avatar

        Nuclear, hydro, and geothermal are emission free, but they are already all used up in baseline. Any additional electricity during peak time to charge an EV will not be emission free.

        • 0 avatar

          They’re not emission free during their manufacture.

          Manufacture ia small fraction of the total lifetime emissions of, say, a coal or NG plant. Pretending they’re equivalent shows that he has no sense of proportion. But he’s correct in stating that they’re nonzero.

  • avatar

    Although the sham comparison is a pet peeve of mine, the PHEV range is a big deal.

    A lot of urban dwellers can effectively have two cars in one. Super efficient daily driver and weekend highway cruiser.

  • avatar

    400HP out of a 4 cylinder is interesting. Please put it in a appealing package Volvos just don’t move me.

  • avatar

    That engine no more has 400hp than a walrus does.

    With the hybrid powertrain included, maybe so.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Yes, the 400HP is the combined rating.

      What’s really interesting about this setup is that it is just the standard Drive-E T6 power train (2.0L 4-cylinder with turbocharger AND supercharger mated to an FWD 8-speed auto) that you can buy right now, but with a motor out back and a battery pack in the middle.

      In hybrid mode it acts like AWD, in electric mode it is RWD only. Acura is also giving this approach a shot in their upcoming RLX SH-AWD hybrid.

      These plug-in hybrids are big now because of the growing number of [European] cities that have emission-free zones. I think that the nav units in these higher-end cars make the switch to and from EV mode automatically with no driver interaction.

  • avatar

    It takes a huge leap of faith to bite on a spec like that…

    CO2 correlates directly to fuel burned. If the car puts out less carbon in the exhaust than it takes in, it’s bending the laws of physics.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “Nuclear, hydro, and geothermal are emission free…”

    So mining Uranium and processing it for use in a nuke plant doesn’t emit anything? Dams just appear by snapping one’s fingers?

    There’s so much misinformation in the green movement that it would take an encyclopedia to document it all.

    • 0 avatar

      Because you aren’t supposed to think when you listen to the green crowd. They have magically money trees and they live in total harmony with nature.

      • 0 avatar

        It depends on which part of the green crowd you listen to.

        I’ve actually done the analysis, and the standard green wish-list is mostly a win. FormerFF posted it, so I don’t have to.

        On the other hand, there are plenty of idiots in the green crowd, and I’m happy to call them out becaus I’m an engineer before I’m an environmentalist. I consider environmental impact to be another design constraint – and an interesting one. Anyway, judging movements by their most idiotic members is a game that none of us can win.

    • 0 avatar

      The Union of Concerned Scientist has a good rundown on the carbon emissions of electric cars, and with it the carbon emissions of the various means of generating electricity:

      Geothermal, hydro, wind, nuclear, and solar are all low in carbon emissions, natural gas is somewhere in the middle, oil and coal are high. It is disingenuous to think any automobile is zero carbon emissions. The headline that this Volvo emits less carbon is also mostly misleading. If all the electricity going into it is from geothermal or hydro, that is probably true, for most of the US, it is not.

    • 0 avatar

      The better sources of renewables, such as wind and hydro, produce about 2 or 3 percent as much carbon as does the burning of coal. Not zero carbon, but close, and we don’t have to get to zero.

    • 0 avatar

      For nuclear and hydro, at least, I suspect the lifetime amount of energy generated is so large that whatever goes into building the facility and refining the fuel is a drop in the bucket. (For whatever you care to measure — CO2, cis-normativity, or any number of privileges.)

      Mostly, I’m just dumbfounded that the phrase “carbon emissions” has been used frequently without a contribution from HE who MUST not BE NAMED or LIMITED in his USE of CAPS LOCK.

  • avatar

    So is this a new XC90 or just a rehash of the 2003 platform?

    Additional: While idea of getting 400hp out of any I4 is certainly impressive, turbocharging and supercharging a 2.0 litre or so sounds like a prescription for permanent shop queen status. You’ve got almost nothing appealing left Volvo, going to torpedo your half decent post MY04 reliability too?

  • avatar

    Volvo just had to change the fuel filter assembly location on the 240d wagon and they would be way better off!

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I don’t give a damn about the car, but I’d like to see that engine offered as a crate motor SKU, complete with controller and wiring harness.

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