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The new Volvo XC90 has finally been launched, with Volvo Car Malaysia (VCM) confirming the flagship model’s price of RM453,888, OTR, without insurance. The plug-in hybrid SUV comes to us in the form a sole range-topping T8 Twin Engine variant.

It’s also dressed up in its premium Inscription design line, which is a standard companion for all XC90 T8 Twin Engine models. For power, the T8 Twin Engine terminology refers to the vehicle’s combined use of a 2.0 litre four-cylinder super- and turbocharged Drive-E petrol engine and an electric motor.

The petrol engine delivers 320 hp and 400 Nm of torque to the front wheels, while an 87 hp/240 Nm electric motor powers the rear. Together, the two power sources form a hybrid all-wheel drive system. The total system output for the vehicle is rated at 407 hp and 640 Nm.

Additionally, a 150 Nm crankshaft-mounted starter generator (CISG) is sandwiched between the engine and the eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The compact motor purely boosts acceleration at low speeds or from standstill instances.

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Collectively, the 407 hp/640 Nm total system output is capable of motivating the 2,343 kg (kerb weight) SUV from zero to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds. Its top speed is electronically-limited to 230 km/h.

The XC90 T8 Twin Engine has a claimed full-electric driving range of 43 km, and a combined fuel consumption figure of 2.1 litres per 100 km (47.6 km/l) – both figures are based on the European NEDC test cycle for hybrid vehicles.

For drivers to optimise the vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency, several drive modes are selectable via the car’s Sensus control system – hybrid, pure electric, power mode, AWD, and save. The Volvo XC90 here also gets a Four-C Active Chassis system (four-corner air suspension) as standard.

As the first model to be based on the Swedish marque’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), the XC90’s 9.2 kWh rectangular lithium-ion traction battery is housed within the platform’s central tunnel.

Based on our regular Malaysian power supply (240 V, 13 amps), the battery cells require just 3.5 hours to be fully recharged via a household wall socket. Of course, with the vehicle capable of recuperating energy from braking and coasting, the battery is fully capable of recharging itself on the road just as you drive.

Included in the RM454k price tag is a portable charger that you can use to recharge the XC90 at any regular power outlet. New XC90 owners will also get a free Electrical Health Check for their homes. The service consists of a free inspection by trained staff that will test and identify any issues with your home’s power outlet’s ability to charge the XC90.

Optionally, VCM has sourced two third-party home charging stations for you to purchase. The dedicated chargers are supplied by electronics company Hager. The weatherproof Hager Witty system is priced at RM9,540, while the indoor Hager Zero is priced at RM8,480. The benefits of these chargers include a quicker recharging time of just 2.5 hours.

There are also several other Hager items that you may want to consider, such as the Hager 40A earth leakage circuit breaker (ELCB), as well as an extended two-year warranty package (on top of the standard one-year coverage). All in, the full suite of the Hager home charging package will set you back RM10,759 at the most, inclusive of GST.

Being that this is the top-spec Inscription design line, the exterior of the XC90 is as loaded as it gets before adorning the R-Design exterior package. Unfortunately though, the sportier R-Design kit isn’t available for Malaysia as of yet.

The car here is nearly a direct copy of the model we recently tested in Sweden. The front end features the brand’s signature T-shaped “Thor’s Hammer” daytime running lights, while the headlamps themselves feature LED Active Bending Lights and Active High Beam Control.

For wheels, the XC90 is equipped with a set of 20-inch, 10-spoke silver, diamond-cut alloys wrapped in 275/45 tyres. Optionally, buyers may specify the Oden Package, which adds set of 22-inch “Rugged wheels” with matching Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres, for an extra RM19,644.

At the rear, the XC90 is equipped with LED Adaptive Brake Lights, dual exhaust tips and a power-operated tailgate with handsfree operation. The Volvo XC90 has a total of 11 exterior colours to choose from, including Ice White, Magic Blue, Savile Grey, Twilight Bronze, Bright Silver, Osmium Grey, Onyx Black, Luminous Sand, Electric Silver, Ember Black and Crystal White.

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The interior, meanwhile, features Nappa leather upholstery as standard. The three-spoke multi-function steering wheel is leather-wrapped, while the crystal gear knob by Swedish crystal makers Orrefors is present, along with the diamond-cut engine start/stop button and volume control knob.

For drivers, the XC90 features a 12.3-inch Adaptive Digital Display instrument panel, and a head-up display system. The centrepiece is of course the vertically-positioned nine-inch touchscreen display, featuring Volvo’s latest Sensus Connect High Performance audio system interface.

A majority of the car’s systems and features are controlled from the tablet-like touchscreen, including the car’s four-way climate control system. The Sensus interface also offers views for the surround-view camera and the navigation system.

A 10-speaker 330-watt sound system is standard. The system also offers Bluetooth, USB and Aux connectivity, along with Android and Apple screen mirroring. It also has WiFi hotspot capabilities.

The seats themselves are slim, but are said to offer good spinal protection during a crash. The middle row seats can be slid forwards and backwards to offer more legroom or cargo capacity behind it. They also feature Volvo’s signature child booster cushion in the middle.

The third row seats are said to comfortably accommodate adults as tall as 170 cm. With the rear-most seats in their upright positions, the XC90 has a total 436 litres of boot space. Folding the third row flat increases that figure to 1,183 litres. With the middle row folded, there’s 2,426 litres of usable cargo space.

Needless to say, this flagship Volvo is also well-equipped with a long list of active and passive safety features. As standard, the SUV gets seven airbags, Adaptive Cruise Control, City Safety with Front Collision Warning and Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Roll Stability Control and Hill Descent Control, to name a few.

It also features two world-first safety technologies – the run-off road protection package and the auto brake at intersection capability. There is also a Park Assist Pilot system, for both parallel and perpendicular parking, included as standard.

An array of optional equipment is available too. The RM21,800 Thor Package includes a set of front and rear skid plates, a deco frame around the front grille, chrome elements on the air intakes of the front bumper, lower side body moulding and a running board with lighting.

Other than that, there are also optional textile cargo mat (RM1,283), bumper protection cover (RM663), roof load carrier (RM1,454) and a tyre pressure monitoring system (RM1,380).

As per usual, the initial batch of new XC90s in Malaysia are fully-imported (CBU) units, coming to us straight from Sweden. VCM has confirmed that local production efforts are well underway, and that the first CKD units are expected to be ready by the second or third quarter of 2016.

This makes Malaysia the only other country in the world to produce the flagship XC90 outside of Sweden, let alone the fact that it’s a high-voltage plug-in hybrid model. Bookings for the CKD units are already being taken at Volvo dealerships nationwide, with prices expected to be lower than the CBU’s current RM454k price tag. However, some differences in specifications are expected.

As it is, the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine faces stiff competition from the BMW X5 xDrive35i (RM573,800) and the Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI quattro (RM589,900). Notably, none of its competition offers a hybrid powertrain.

The XC90 is also a much more powerful vehicle by comparison, and is far more affordable than the X5 and the Q7. So, which of these large SUVs will you be chasing after?

GALLERY: Volvo XC90 optional equipment

GALLERY: Volvo XC90 with “Thor” and “Oden” packages

GALLERY: Volvo XC90 official press photos