As many producer’s introduced more and more SUV’s and Crossover’s into the mart’s, it’s becoming increasingly hard for them to stand out. Some companies have attempted bold, polarizing exteriors, while others have dropped entries into previously unpopulated segments such as SUV “coupes” and the like, and many hope to attract buyers (like XC90) with advanced propulsion and technology solutions.The Swedes simply executed a traditional blueprint to its fullest potential.The XC90 stunned onlookers when it debuted in 2014 and introduced the world to Volvo’s new design language and upscale interior standards (although the vehicle didn’t go on sale until a year later). It’s still georgeous and now is available with three different powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid, all of which are based on the same Drive-E four-cylinder engine. T5 models are set up with a 250-hp turbocharged inline-four; the T5 comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is a $2200 option. The all wheel drive vehicle T6 models upgrade to a turbocharged and supercharged, 316-hp version of the four-cylinder. T8 models add electric power to the twincharged engine, creating an all wheel drive, 400-hp plug-in hybrid. Each variant is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All XC90s add up stock with seating for up to 7 people, with one outlier—the T8 can be ordered as a model called the XC90 Excellence, with two rows and four individual seats for a luxe-limo experience.
After introducing the T8 plug-in to the XC90 lineup shortly after the model’s launch, Volvo already is improving its hybrid with a higher-capacity battery pack for 2018. In lieu of the old 9.2-kWh pack is a 10.4-kWh unit that enables an EPA-rated 19 miles of electric range, five more than before. With the revamped XC60 now in the mix, Volvo also decided that the two-row XC90 was redundant (aside from the Excellence) and made the third row standard. Mayhap more important, At last Volvo made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard across the range for 2018. Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system, which controls everything on a standard 9.0-inch vertically oriented touchscreen, has beautiful graphics but can be confusingly complex and sometimes cumbersome to use. Once familiarized with the sequencing, it’s fairly simple, yet some functions are simply buried too deep in the cascading menus for convenient use while in motion. The XC90 now comes standard with more safety technology as well, including Volvo’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving technology with adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. On the far side that, some of the snip and pick packages have been shuffled; for instance, the Convenience package has added a 360-degree camera view, while the Luxury package now includes heated rear seats. Maple Brown, Denim Blue, and Pine Grey exterior paint colors replace Twilight Bronze, Magic Blue, and Savile Grey.
What We Like:
Although the start up models aren’t as therapeutically luxurious as the upper trim level XC90s, the interior in the all-wheel-drive T6 we drove for this review was the type of premium that you want to cozy up to and rub your face on, like a cashmere sweater. The clean and simple dash design allows for elegant lines and layering, and everything is pleasant to the touch. The open-grain wood is something that could be found in a nature center, the dials and buttons provide satisfying clicks and are outlined with upscale knurling, and the buttery leather seats make sitting in traffic a scene of relaxation, not frustration. Those trying to impress the in-laws without looking like they’re trying too hard should take notice. Part of the experience comes from the feeling of an open cabin, and interior space is another area where the XC90 excels. It is shorter and narrower than roughly in its segment but stays competitive when it comes to second- and third-row legroom. The XC90’s tall profile ensures plenty of headroom, the glass area is large and provides good sightlines, and the third row is one of the best of any mid-size SUV.
What We Don’t Like:
We understand why Volvo equips the XC90 with nothing but variations of a four-cylinder engine-regulatory fuel-economy requirements are growing ever stiffer worldwide—but that doesn’t mean we necessarily enjoy it. Off the line, the XC90 plurality a decline a punch, with the quickest non hybrid example that we’ve tested sprinting to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds. But that time still is slower than those of many competitors with V-6 engines, and the XC90 lacks passing power at its top end. (The last XC90 T8 PHEV we tested did zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds.) The eight-speed automatic does its best to keep revs low with quick and smooth upshifts, but the engine noticeably gasps to keep up, emitting an unpleasant and unrefined battle cry.
A stylish way to carry a crowd, without major sacrifices.