2020 Volvo XC90 First Drive Review: Still Stunning


Time doesn’t stand nonetheless within the auto business. No automaker can relaxation on its laurels.

Such is the destiny of winners of the MotorTrend Car, Truck, and SUV of the Year awards: Headlines splashed the world over, Champagne popped at company, a flurry of congratulatory emails, and a blizzard of promoting. However everybody else (i.e., the losers) have began sharpening their pencils earlier than the bubbly has gone flat.

So what occurs to an SUV that triumphantly received the award 4 years in the past—the Volvo XC90? How has it stood the take a look at of time?

Fairly rattling effectively. As we described it on the time: “The Volvo XC90 is useful, elegant, and above all, totally different … a charming murals, inside and outside.” It nonetheless is.

Automotive journalists are inclined to cycle via the newest and best stuff. Something that launched greater than a yr in the past is outdated information. Because of this, we frequently neglect that the common age of a automobile on the street is 12 years. Meaning there are many folks driving automobiles constructed when George W. Bush was president. That additionally means when Joe and Jane Common climb right into a 2020 Volvo, it stays awe-inspiring in a relative sense. They don’t know this automobile’s design and engineering are comparatively outdated, from when Barack Obama sat within the Oval Workplace. To them, it simply flat out appears cool.

How Does the Volvo XC90 Look?

This Volvo’s design has legs. Its distinctively minimalist Scandinavian styling didn’t beg, borrow, or steal from German or Japanese rivals. It has remained present; its exterior is smooth and but stable abruptly. And for 2020, the XC90 will get an up to date concave entrance grille design, new-look wheels, in addition to restyled entrance and rear bumpers and built-in roof rails and tailpipes.

Inside, there’s a degree of magnificence that’s space-efficient whereas additionally tech-friendly. A raised, knurled alloy ignition knob mounted within the middle console is your first contact level, whereupon your hand strikes to an Orrefors crystal gearshift. If you begin your journey with tactile factors like that, you’re in a luxurious automobile.

Volvo maintains its management within the “snug seats” class, with the proper mix of agency but yielding help. The fashionable midnight zinc tailor-made wool seat coverings undoubtedly cross the suave take a look at.

Then you definately go searching. The matte, wood-inlay dashboard trim items are in contrast to these from some other automaker. The driving force views a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, whereas a 9.0-inch iPad-style display is built-in into the middle console.

Volvo has up to date the touchscreen person interface of the central display since launch, nevertheless it nonetheless requires a little bit of a studying curve in comparison with the relative intuitiveness of methods from another automakers. Swiping via menus may be distracting, and the icons can seem small to the attention—you undoubtedly don’t wish to be switching menus from Apple CarPlay or Android to vary satellite tv for pc radio stations, or activating the hybrid recharge system, whereas in stop-and-go site visitors. No less than there’s a big audio quantity knob.

In case you are within the second row, a 6-footer can sit behind a 6-footer up entrance with out challenge; the local weather management reaches the second row very effectively. The third-row seats, nevertheless, are undoubtedly an “in case of emergency” scenario.

As for cargo house, the cargo space suits two folding bikes facet by facet. For shorter drivers (or children serving to mother or father unload groceries), you’ll be able to decrease the load peak with the press of a button.

How Does the XC90 Drive?

The XC90 drives precisely its measurement. OK, an evidence is required right here. Behind the wheel, you undoubtedly get the sensation that this can be a automobile of heft. It isn’t essentially nimble feeling; nor does it really feel like a colossus. It doesn’t really feel overburdened on its tires. It drives simply as you’ll anticipate a automobile of its girth to do as you strategy it. No surprises. Simply consistency.

The numbers again it up—the XC90’s skidpad and figure-eight efficiency are proper in step with the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 and Q8. It’s sufficiently sporty, whereas the suspension is superb at absorbing routine street rash. The $1,800 optionally available air suspension with electronically managed damping is an enormous a part of making that occur. There are three driver-adjustable settings for steering really feel and response, in case you need a extra sporting really feel in your suggestions.

The XC90 is constructed on what was the then-new Scalable Product Structure (SPA) that has underpinned nearly all new Volvos . It has confirmed a really efficient platform: Each SPA-based Volvo unveiled since then has made the finals of MotorTrend Automobile or SUV of the 12 months. In different phrases, it’s getting older fairly effectively, thanks.

How Does the Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid System Work?

In case you are upgrading to the XC90 T8, it’s in all probability since you need a part of your commute to be in battery-only mode and never burning fuel whereas caught in site visitors.

A modified model of Volvo’s four-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged engine supplies 313 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. When mixed with the electrical starter/alternator and the motor on the rear axle, as much as 400 hp and 472 lb-ft is accessible to the motive force. The hybrid fuel engine and electrical motor energy the entrance wheels, whereas the opposite electrical motor powers the rear wheels for all-wheel drive.

Driving in Pure mode will get you about 18 EPA-rated miles of electrical vary, and the Maintain setting preserves your battery-only vary till you attain a site visitors snarl or an electric-only city-center. Not like in most electrical autos, you can’t hear the whine of the electrical motors in Pure mode, which thus means some tire noise sneaks into the cabin—however in any other case the inside is a comparatively quiet setting.

The XC90 T8 comes with a twin voltage (110V and 220V) charging cable. This enables prospects to cost at dwelling utilizing a regular 110V or 220V wall outlet—the latter delivering a recharge in 2.5 hours. Sadly, I dwell in a midcentury fashionable home that runs low-voltage lighting. My storage fuses are already maxed out, so if I plugged in, I’d simply hold popping fuses. I didn’t get to see how lengthy it might take to recharge on a regular 110-volt outlet.

Is the Volvo XC90 Secure?

Just about each luxurious automaker makes bank-vault-safe automobiles nowadays, so how does Volvo—as soon as the acknowledged bastion of security—differentiate itself? Effectively, take a deep breath, as a result of all these options are customary on each XC90:

  • Volvo On Name
  • Pilot Help driver help system
  • Roll stability management
  • Lane protecting help
  • Oncoming lane mitigation
  • Drowsy/distracted driver alert
  • Street signal info
  • Computerized braking after collision
  • Computerized door unlocking in collision
  • Run-off street mitigation
  • Run-off street safety
  • Collapsible brake pedal
  • Entrance, facet, and knee airbags
  • Inflatable curtain airbags
  • Power-absorbing seat cushions
  • Anti-submarining safety in seat design
  • Security belt pretensioners
  • Security belt load limiters
  • Accident avoidance and mitigation system
  • Intersection autobrake
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Cross-traffic alert with autobrake
  • Pedestrian, bicycle owner, and enormous animal detection with auto­brake and brake help
  • Ahead collision warning

Really feel safer but? Effectively, let’s unpack simply one of many methods: steer help. If the motive force swerves to keep away from colliding with a automobile, a bicycle owner, or different massive, detectable object, software program helps the motive force steer away as successfully as potential by braking the wheels individually throughout the swerve after which to course-correct.

This additionally works with the blind-spot system to right an tried lane develop into one the place quicker site visitors could also be arising from behind. Additionally, if the XC90 drifts over a lane marking, heading into the trail of an oncoming automobile, and the motive force takes no motion, this method robotically steers the automobile again. (The system is lively at speeds between 37 and 87 mph.)

If a crash does occur, the XC90 obtained a five-star ranking from NHTSA and has been rated Good (the very best ranking) by IIHS within the driver-side small overlap entrance, reasonable overlap entrance, facet, roof energy, and head restraint assessments, in addition to customary, superior-rated entrance crash prevention. It didn’t meet all the necessities for a Prime Security Decide or Prime Security Decide+ designation.

Nonetheless, throughout my time with the automobile, the XC90 issued a number of false collision alerts when it detected parked automobiles whereas I used to be going round a mild bend and with no probability of collision. So the system software program may be a bit oversensitive.

What Does the Volvo XC90 Price?

Our take a look at automobile was not some bizarre XC90; it was the XC90 T8 E-AWD Inscription Plug-In Hybrid, with a base value of $874,295 (the bottom T8 Momentum begins at $67,995).

Our tester got here with an as-tested value of $84,440. That will get you choices just like the stunningly clear $3,200 Bowers & Wilkins audio system, in addition to 360-degree surround-view digital camera, head-up show, and lively headlamps ($2,450), 21-inch wheels ($800), heated rear seats ($750), parking help ($200), and upgraded inside ins and outs. If all that’s a bit wealthy however you continue to need an XC90, you could find a T5 base mannequin with a merely turbocharged engine, with costs beginning at $49,345.

By the way in which, for these of you who want the newest, best factor in your driveway, the redesigned XC90 will doubtless arrive in fall 2021 as a 2022 mannequin. However for most people, whose automobiles have been constructed throughout the Nice Recession, the present version will just do positive.

























2020 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD Inscription
BASE PRICE $74,295
LAYOUT Entrance-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L/313-hp/295-lb-ft turbocharged + supercharged DOHC 16-valve I-4, plus entrance/rear electrical motors; 400 hp/472 lb-ft (mixed)
TRANSMISSION 8-speed computerized
CURB WEIGHT 5,150 lb (MT est)
WHEELBASE 117.5 in
L x W x H 195.Zero x 75.7 x 69.9 in
0-60 MPH 4.9 sec (MT est)
EPA FUEL ECON* 26/28/27 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY* 130/120 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB* 0.72 lb/mile
ON SALE Presently
*in charge-sustaining mode (58/52/55 mpg-e in charge-depleting mode)
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