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.
Headroom in the third-row seat is cramped for adults, and the touchscreen control interface complicates some functions.
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 with the help of 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; T6 models have a 316-hp turbocharged and supercharged 2.0. 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 rear cross-traffic alerts, 360-degree around-view camera, a Park Assist Pilot feature that automatically steers into stall-type spaces, and semi-autonomous Pilot Assist adaptive cruise control that will automatically mimic the speed and steering of a vehicle in front of the XC90 at speeds under 30 mph.
The XC90 receives a subtle but thorough refresh for 2020. Mild exterior styling updates include a new grille, front and rear fasciae, roof rails, and wheel designs. Inside, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is now standard. T6 Momentum and Inscription models now offer second-row captain’s chairs for six-passenger seating instead of seven, and there are new trim options such as “Tailored Wool” fabric upholstery. Also, rear automatic braking has been added to the rear cross-traffic alert system.
The EPA rates the XC90 T5 at 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 20/27 with all-wheel drive. The T6 is rated at 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, a T6 Inscription averaged 19.4 mpg in 65-percent city driving. Volvo recommends premium gas, but it’s not required.
VALUE IN CLASS
When the XC90 was redesigned from the ground up as a 2016 model, it inaugurated a bold new design direction for the Volvo brand and garnered well-deserved rave reviews—and it remains one of the best vehicles in 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||$48,350 – $63,100|
|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|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||18-30 MPG|