Over the years we’ve towed with quite a few hybrids, but not all have proven able tow cars. However, the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine is right up with the best hybrids we’ve tested. It’s a deserving winner of our first ever ‘Best Hybrid’ award.
The petrol engine musters some 316bhp. The electric motor adds another 86bhp. When the two are working together the T8 really flies, towing from 30-60mph in 7.0 seconds. That’s the second quickest time this year, despite the XC90 being the heaviest car.
A high kerbweight is usually a benefit when it comes to stability, and the Volvo felt very secure in still air. Looking in the mirrors we could see some slight movement when the wind picked up, but nothing requiring any correction from the driver.
The hill-start test wasn’t really much of a test at all for the Volvo, which easily coped with the 1-in-6 gradient.
Our practicality test team was as impressed as the drivers. So many hybrids have poor boot space but the XC90 has lots of room for holiday luggage and towing-friendly features like trailer stability control.
In everyday driving, the XC90 is often happy to glide along on electric power alone – Volvo claims an all-electric range of up to 27 miles. That contributes to the Volvo’s eyebrow-raising 134.5mpg official economy figure. However, the battery soon runs low when towing, and we achieved no better than 16.1mpg while pulling a caravan.
The Volvo XC90 T8 makes most sense for a company car driver looking for a tax-efficient tow car, thanks to the lowly carbon dioxide emissions of just 49g/km.