XC90 Twin Engine


Drive modes

Selection of drive mode affects the car's driving characteristics in order to enhance the driving experience and facilitate driving in special situations.

Using the drive modes it is possible to quickly have access to the car's numerous functions and settings for different driving needs. The following systems are adapted to obtain the best possible driving characteristics in each respective drive mode:

  • Steering
  • Engine/gearbox/all-wheel drive
  • Brakes
  • Air suspension and shock absorption
  • Driver display
  • Climate settings

Select the drive mode that best suits the current driving conditions. Remember that not all drive modes can be selected in all situations.

Selecting drive mode

Press the drive mode control DRIVE MODE.
A pop-up menu is opened in the centre display.
Roll the wheel upward or downward until the desired drive mode is highlighted.
Press the drive mode control or tap directly on the touch screen to confirm the selection.
The selected drive mode is indicated in the driver display.

A message is shown when a drive mode is unselectable, for example:

  • Cannot be selected because gear is in manual
  • Cannot be selected due to low battery
  • Cannot be selected due to low temperature
  • Cannot be selected due to limitations
  • Cannot be selected because speed is too high.

Selectable drive modes


Remember that the car does not emit any engine noise when it is only powered by the electric motor and may therefore be difficult to notice by children, pedestrians, cyclists and animals. This applies in particular at low speeds, such as in car parks.


Do not leave the car in an unventilated area with activated drive mode and the fuel-driven engine switched off - automatic engine start occurs at low energy level in the hybrid battery, and the exhaust gases could then cause serious injury to people and animals.


This is the car's normal mode.

When the car starts, it is in the Hybrid mode. The control system uses both the electric motor and fuel-driven engine - individually or in parallel - and calculates optimal use with regard to performance, fuel consumption and comfort. At higher speeds the ground clearance is adjusted automatically to a lower level in order to reduce wind resistance.

The capacity to run solely with the electric motor in the Hybrid drive mode depends on the hybrid battery's energy level and, for example, the need for heating/cooling in the passenger compartment.

If high power output is available, it is possible to drive with electrical power alone. When the accelerator pedal is depressed, only the electric motor is activated until a certain position is reached. When this position is passed the internal combustion engine starts.

The driver display for propulsion with both the electric motor and internal combustion engine.

The driver display for propulsion with both the electric motor and internal combustion engine.

The pointer in the driver display indicates how much energy the car uses during driving, and the small pointer between the flash and the drop shows how much energy is available for use. Read more about hybrid information in the driver display in the section "Hybrid related information in the driver display".

The internal combustion engine starts when the energy level in the battery is insufficient for the engine power that the driver requests with the accelerator pedal.

The driver display also shows when energy is returned to the battery (regenerated) during light braking. More information on regeneration is available in the section "Foot brake".

At low energy level (hybrid battery almost empty) the battery's energy level must be maintained, leading to the internal combustion engine starting more often. Charge the hybrid battery from a 230 VAC socket with the charging cable or switch to Save drive mode to restore the capacity to run on electricity alone.


Drive the car with electric motor, with energy consumption as low as possible and with lowest possible carbon dioxide emissions.

The drive mode maximises driving on the hybrid battery. This means e.g. that the ground clearance is lower to reduce wind resistance and that the output of certain climate settings is reduced.

The Pure mode is available when the hybrid battery has a sufficiently high energy level. If the energy level in the battery becomes too low, the internal combustion engine starts. The internal combustion engine also starts

  • if the speed exceeds 125 km/h(78 mph)
  • if the driver requests more motive force than electric drive can provide
  • in the event of system/component limitations, e.g. low outside temperature.

If the reduced climate settings are perceived to have a negative effect, press the AUTO or defroster button if necessary.


Save energy for later use when electric operation is more suitable, e.g. for urban driving.

Driving with electric motor saves more fuel at low speeds than at higher speeds. You should therefore select this drive mode primarily when the hybrid battery's energy level is high and a planned journey is going to begin with a relatively long stretch at higher speeds (e.g. on motorways) and end with a stretch at low speeds where electric operation is desirable.

If the hybrid battery's energy level is low when the drive mode is selected, the internal combustion engine will start to charge the battery up to 33 %. If the hybrid battery's energy level is already above 33 % then that energy level will be maintained by means of the control system stopping/starting the internal combustion engine in the same way as in Hybrid mode.

The drive mode causes increased fuel consumption since the internal combustion engine starts and stops in order to save a sufficiently high energy level for later electric operation.


Maximise the car's traction when driving in difficult terrain and on poor roads.

The drive mode provides high ground clearance, steering is light, all-wheel drive and the function for low speed control with hill descent control (Hill Descent Control) are activated.

The drive mode can only be activated at low speeds and the speedometer shows the range for speed limitation. If this speed is exceeded, Off Road mode is cancelled and the AWD drive mode is activated instead.

The driver display is supplemented with a compass and altimeter.

To be able to drive all four wheels, the internal combustion engine and electric motor run continually, which results in increased fuel consumption.


The driving mode is not designed to be used on public roads.


If the car is switched off in OFF ROAD mode, and therefore has high ground clearance, the car is lowered next time it is started.


The OFF ROAD drive mode must not be used while driving with a trailer without trailer connector. Otherwise, there is a risk of damage to the air bellows.


Improve the car's roadholding and traction with all-wheel drive.

The drive mode is intended for low speeds on slippery road surfaces but also has a stabilising effect at higher speeds.

To be able to drive all four wheels, the internal combustion engine and electric motor run continually, which results in increased fuel consumption.


Power mode makes the car feel sportier for more active driving.

The drive mode maximises the combined power from the internal combustion engine and electric motor by means of the car being driven by both front and rear wheels. The car has sportier characteristics and faster response to accelerating. Driving in a lower gear, with delayed upshifting, is prioritised. Steering response is faster, shock absorption is harder and a lower ground clearance means that the body follows the roadway in order to reduce roll during cornering.

The internal combustion engine and electric motor are running continually, which results in increased fuel consumption.


Adapting a drive mode according to individual preferences.

Select a drive mode to start from, and then adjust the settings according to the desired driving characteristics.

Press Settings in the top view.
Press My CarIndividual Drive Mode and select Individual Drive Mode.

Select a drive mode to start from: Pure, Hybrid or Power.

Possible adjustments apply to settings for

  • Driver Display
  • Steering force
  • Powertrain Characteristics
  • Brake Characteristics
  • Suspension Control.

Starting and stopping the combustion engine

An advanced control system determines the extent to which the car is driven on internal combustion engine, electric motor or both in parallel.

The primary function is to use the engine or motor and the available energy in the hybrid battery as efficiently as possible, with regard to the characteristics of the different drive modes as well as the driver's request for power via the accelerator pedal.

There are also cases where temporary limitations in the system, or functions governed by legal requirements aimed at maintaining a low level of total emissions for the car, may use the internal combustion engine to a greater extent.

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