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Sunday Drive: Traveling to southeast Utah in the Volvo XC90 Recharge

By Craig and Deanne Conover - | Jul 2, 2022
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Deanne shows off the 2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge at what seemed like the top of the world at the Needles Overlook in Canyonlands National Park. It was about a 45-minute sidetrack but well worth it for the scenery alone.
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Valley of the Gods with the new Volvo XC90 Recharge. What a great day with an almost silent vehicle in a gorgeous place.
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The interior of the Volvo XC90 Recharge.
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The interior of the Volvo XC90 Recharge.
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The Volvo XC90 Recharge made its way through most of the 31-mile loop in Valley of the Gods just south of Bluff, Utah. The day was perfect with blue sky and sunshine, except the wind the continued to blow throughout the weekend.
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The new 2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge at the Needles Overlook in Canyonlands National Park in Southern Utah — some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.

The name of the 2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 Inscription is a mouthful, but it proved to live up to everything in its moniker. Add to that some awesome road time in the XC90 during a trip down to Bluff, Utah, over the Memorial Day weekend, and what would there be not to like?

The Recharge part of the XC90 is very intriguing as it will now go up to 35 miles on a single charge. We found that it will do that even at 65 mph as we had it completely charged and ready to go when we left home for southeastern Utah and made it to just shy of the top of Soldiers Summit, a location more than 35 miles from our home.

The best part about the whole system is that a special charger is not required in one’s home to get the XC90 charged overnight. By just plugging it into a standard wall outlet, it would charge as we slept.

So, doing the math, we traveled almost 750 miles in the XC90 during our three-day vacation and were able to get 105 miles on pure electric mode. With Premium fuel at $5 a gallon, that averages out to 20 cents per mile at our 25-mpg average for the three days, effectively saving us $21 in fuel costs.

From the information we can find, a full charge takes about 7 kilowatt-hours to charge the Volvo. With electricity at 9 cents per kWh in our hometown of Springville, that is a cost of 63 cents to charge the Volvo, or 1.8 cents per mile, a great decrease from the 20 cents of premium fuel. As a bonus, we also charged twice at the hotel we were in by just plugging into the wall.

However, it was strange during the second day of our journey as we traveled through Valley of the Gods near Bluff. For most of the day, we were running on silent mode on the dirt roads throughout the park. This was a feeling we were not accustomed to, especially when venturing off the paved roads. It just seemed like there should be some kind of noise involved in the activity, and going slower as we did made it much more noticeable than traveling 55 mph on the highway.

The XC90 Recharge comes standard with a 2.0-liter engine that produces 312 horsepower along with an electric motor producing 143 ponies. Combine the two and it comes out to 455 horsepower and a whopping 523 foot-pounds of torque. This power will get the largest SUV in the Volvo line to 60 in just under 7.5 seconds — not bad for a luxury family hauler.

Getting some extra time inside of the luxury-enhanced Inscription top trim level of the XC90 during our vacation was fantastic. It made the four-hour drive oh so comfortable. We have always said that Volvo has some of the most comfortable seats in the industry, and that tradition continues with the new SUV.

Not only did our test ride come with heated front seats, but it also had cooling added, and the seats were, of course, clad in Napa leather throughout the interior. The added comfort in the seats didn’t end there; Volvo also included a massaging feature. How could we complain about having a personal masseuse on board for the trip? This did come in handy, especially after a long day of hiking around Valley of the Gods!

The seats were also power adjustable in every way we could imagine, including the side bolsters and seat extensions. It would be very hard not to be comfortable in the XC90.

It was cold up north that weekend, but we enjoyed nearly perfect weather in the south with the exception of the wind. We could not have asked for anything more. Traveling south of Moab in an area of the state that is not heavily traveled was also great as there were not the crowds of people found at other more popular locations.

We also feel that the Bluff area of the state has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Utah. Having a top luxury vehicle to experience it with was — well, it was perfect. We thought twice about taking the Volvo onto dirt roads and getting it dusty, but it handled exceptionally well on all the byways we traveled, both paved and unpaved.

This included the Moki dugway that climbs to 1,200 feet above the valley floor for a bird’s-eye view of Valley of the Gods. It is part of UT-261 and turns to dirt as it winds its way up 11% grades and switchbacks with near vertical drop offs on the side of the road.

We would not recommend this drive for the faint of heart, but the Volvo took it as all in a day’s work, and when we descended after the climb, putting the SUV back into battery mode added a couple of miles’ charge to the day. Now that is free electricity.

The XC90 comes loaded with safety features such as the adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, which were a great help during the long trip and made it almost an autonomous drive.

Also included were blind spot monitoring, frontal collision avoidance and mitigation, rear cross path detection and automatic high beams and windshield wipers.

Great landscape and a great SUV. We could not have asked for anything else to make our holiday weekend more enjoyable.

Base price: $72,100

Destination charge: $1,095

Price as driven: $84,090

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