IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The XC90 offers a spacious, sumptuously trimmed cabin; decent fuel economy from its 4-cylinder engines; and loads of innovative and unconventional features that set it apart from its competition.

BUT…

Headroom in the third-row seat is cramped for adults, and the touchscreen control interface complicates some previously simple functions.

WORTH NOTING:

Volvo also offers a significantly pricier plug-in hybrid version of the XC90 called T8. It uses the same 4-cylinder powertrain as the T6 models, but it makes a total of 400 horsepower via a 60-kilowatt electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

WHAT IS IT?

The XC90 is Volvo’s three-row midsize SUV. T5 models come with a 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and seating for five. T6 models have a 316-hp turbocharged and supercharged 2.0 and seating for seven. All have an 8-speed automatic transmission. Both T5 and T6 are offered in base Momentum and sporty R-Design trim; the luxury Inscription trim level is restricted to the T6. T5s offer front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive; T6s are AWD-only. Available features include integrated second-row booster seats, height-adjustable air suspension, pedestrian and cyclist warning/braking system, lane-departure warning, blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts, 360-degree around-view camera, a “Park Assist Pilot” that automatically steers into stall-type spaces, and “Pilot Assist” adaptive cruise control that will automatically mimic the speed and steering of a vehicle in front of the XC90 at speeds below 30 mph.

WHAT’S NEW?

After its ground-up redesign for 2016, the XC90 sees a few updates for 2017. Apple CarPlay functionality is now available, LED headlights are standard, and Inscription models offer a Luxury Package with upgraded interior trim. The T8 plug-in hybrid gets an ultra-luxury model called Excellence that boasts loads of decadent interior features and a price tag of almost $105,000.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the XC90 T5 at 22 mpg city/26 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 22/25 with all-wheel drive. The T6 is rated at 20 mpg city/25 highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, an all-wheel-drive Inscription averaged 19.1 mpg in 65-percent city driving.

VALUE IN CLASS

The XC90’s redesign garnered rave reviews last year, and with good reason—it catapulted an SUV that was something of an also-ran to the head of its class. A 4-cylinder engine is certainly an unexpected choice for a vehicle of this size and weight, and in base T5 form the XC90’s 2.0 sometimes struggles to move it in a smooth, seamless fashion. Despite this, the XC90 has a truly luxurious feel inside and out. Its classy presence, long list of desirable features, and class-competitive pricing make it a premium midsize SUV standout.

BASE PRICE RANGE $45,750 – $57,200
BODY STYLES 4-Door Wagon
AVAILABLE ENGINES 250-Hp, Turbocharged 2.0-Liter 4-Cyl.; 316-Hp, Supercharged And Turbocharged 2.0-Liter 4-Cyl.
DRIVE WHEELS Front Or All-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN Sweden
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 20-26 MPG

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