The XC90 is Volvo's range-topping seven-passenger crossover. Its handsome lines and focus on occupant comfort and safety make it a popular offering in a segment that favors on-road manners over off-road prowess.
Outside, the XC90 represents evolution rather than revolution. While the body has been re-sculpted to improve aerodynamic efficiency, enough hints of Volvo's angular design legacy remain that there's no mistaking it for anything else.
The XC90's cabin is designed with a focus on style and comfort. The redesigned interior features a large touchscreen atop an uncluttered center stack. Analog buttons and switches have been replaced by centralized controls and the outdated gauges of the previous model have been replaced by a modern, digital cluster.
The crossover has traditionally offered a third row of occasional-use seats designed largely for children, but Volvo put a priority on third-row room when redesigning the seating for the current model.
XC90 R-Design or Inscription models (and models with the Momentum Plus packlage) come with a dash-mounted, tablet-like touch screen that runs Volvo's Sensus infotainment system. Sensus groups the car's connectivity, entertainment and navigation (if equipped) functions into a single easy-to-use unit that can also be controlled with buttons on the center stack and a voice command feature. Sensus allows grants access to a full suite of Internet-connected applications and services.
Under The Hood
Regardless of trim, all XC90s are powered by a twin-charged inline four-cylinder engine. The two-liter unit features a supercharger and turbocharger for maximum power and efficiency. Developing 316 horsepower at 5,700 RPM and 295 lb-ft of torque from 2,200 RPM to 4,500 RPM, the engine is more powerful than the 3.2L engine it replaced. Power goes to all four wheels by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission.
All XC90 models are also capable of towing 5,291lbs (2,400 kg). EPA fuel economy estimates are not yet available.
The base XC90 comes standard with all-wheel-drive, four-wheel air suspension with FOUR-C active chassis control, hill descent control, hill start assist and start/stop technology for added fuel efficiency. Inside, 10-way power front seats with driver's seat memory, heated seats, power-folding head restraints, 4-zone climate control, a power moonroof and third-row air conditioning are also standard.
The Momentum Plus package adds the 12.3" center touchscreen, LED headlights, birch wood trim, headlight washers and upgraded interior lighting.
Unlike other members of the Volvo lineup, the XC90 does not benefit from a bump in power when the R-Design trim level is ordered, however it does come with several cosmetic and functional upgrades. Outside, it boasts LED headlights, a unique grille and front spoiler, silk metal window trim, integrated dual tailpipes, bright roof rails and mirror covers in matte silver. 20" wheels are standard and 22" wheels are optional.
The base XC90 R-Design packs all of the standard features found in the Momentum model and adds an R-Design theme for the main touchscreen, wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and other sporty trim, including contrast-stitched Nappa Leather seats.
The Inscription model eschews the R-Design's sporty theme for a luxury-focused interior. Elegant, eight-spoke wheels, a silk metal grille and "Inscription" trim pieces compliment body-colored mirror caps. Inside, you'll find Nappa Leather without the R-Design's signature contrast-stitching.
The Inscription trim also adds front ventilated seats, power seat cushion extenders, power side bolsters above the comfort features included on the R-Design.
Most of Volvo's equipment options are tied to trim level, however there are a handful of stand-alone packages that can be added depending on buyer preferences. The Vision Package adds blind spot and cross-traffic monitoring, a 360-degree "Surround View" camera system, auto dimming mirrors and retractable side mirrors. The Climate Package adds heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield and heated windshield washer nozzles. The Climate Package is also available with a graphical head-up display (HUD) option.
Currently, all XC90 vehicles come standard with the Convenience Package, which adds park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping aid, a power 3rd row, HomeLink, and a cargo area power outlet.
Volvo's focus on safety for both occupants and pedestrians has long been a pillar of its reputation. All XC90s come standard with City Safety collision avoidance, Collision Warning with auto-braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, DRLs, Driver Alert Control, lane departure warning, road sign information (RSI), a full suite of airbags (front, side and curtain), whiplash protection and a world-first road departure protection system which includes energy-absorbing seats designed to mitigate vertical impacts.
Buyers who opt for the Convenience package also get adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. The Vision package includes blind spot and cross-traffic monitoring.
The XC90 is pitted against the BMW X5, the Mercedes-Benz ML350, the Land Rover LR4 and the Audi Q7.