The all-new Volvo XC90 luxury SUV has been completely redesigned on a brand new platform that sports a new design language, an impressive list of safety features, and a new powertrain that is also offered in hybrid form. Replacing the model that has been on sale since 2002, the new XC90 is more spacious, can seat 7 passengers, has a practical and luxurious interior, good visibility, and delivers a comfortable ride for everyone.
The 2016 Volvo XC90 will offer a range of 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder Drive-E engines coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 316 horsepower XC90 T6 version is turbocharged and supercharged. The T8 AWD twin-engine plug-in hybrid, which is due to arrive around October of this year, adds an 87 horsepower (65 kW) electric motor for a combined output of 400 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque, a 5.7 second zero-to-60-mph capability, and up to 17 miles of electric-only range.
The XC90 is not equipped for off-road rock climbing, but it is a practical vehicle for muddy horse paddocks and snowy weather. Roadholding is respectable and the big crossover doesn’t drive like a school bus. The vehicle’s size becomes most apparent when trying to place the XC90 in narrower streets or when parking it. Thankfully, the available Park Assist Pilot can perform the parallel and perpendicular parking duties with precision. In the end, the XC90 performs triumphantly for its mission as family transport.
The 2016 XC90 represents a successful exercise in adapting luxury sedan styling cues to a large crossover vehicle. The front leads with a lower-set grille inspired by the Volvo 1800 sports car and available LED lamps with elements shaped like Thor’s hammer create a unique visual impact. The characteristic taillights, which extend all the way up the D-pillar, retain the recognizable curve that accentuates the shape of the rear quarter panels. Whether viewed from the front, side, or rear, the 2nd generation XC90 has great presence from any angle.
The interior of the Volvo XC90 can best be described as elegant and nicely appointed, especially with the upgraded Bowers and Wilkins 19-speaker premium sound system. Beautifully sculpted with many modern features, the interior exudes a lush appeal and quiet comfort. Ten-way power front seats, inspired by Wegner lounge chairs, feature supple leather, adjustable high contour side bolsters, and lumbar support.
Designed to be thinner, lighter, and featuring a deformable bottom in the event of a crash, the thin design of the seats inside the XC90 not only saved more than 200 pounds, they also allow more space for the 2nd and 3rd row passengers. Now full-size adults relegated to the 3rd row won’t have to pull their knees up to chest height.
Volvo’s Sensus system operates in similar fashion to Tesla’s Model S infotainment/navigation system. Like an iPad, the controls operate with swipes, taps, and pinches. Thereby eliminating the need for a multitude of buttons that make the dashboard look busy and complicated. The touchscreen has infrared sensors, which means it can be operated with your gloves left on. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. While in motion, many of the more common commands can be executed by using the steering wheel controls or by voice commands. A deeper dive into the features available through the touchscreen rewards the user with more custom features and functions.