You’d be wrong to assume that people who wake up thinking about school runs and weekly grocery shopping are the only people who should be driving Volvos. The Volvo XC90 is not just a luxurious SUV, but also a highly adaptable, roomy, and powerful vehicle. It’s spacious enough for a family of seven, but it won’t make you pine for a Mercedes GLE or Audi Q7.
Unlike the first-generation 2003-2015 Volvo XC90, which offered up to a V8 option, the second-generation car is only available with four-cylinder engines. Two gasoline engines and a single diesel were part of the initial lineup for these inline-fours. The gasoline engines included the 2.0-liter T6 with 316 hp, which provides impressively quick performance and reasonable economy, and the 2.0-liter T8 plug-in hybrid with 401 hp, which is even faster and yet offers, on paper, an outstanding average claimed fuel consumption figure. In 2018, a 247 hp T5 joined the lineup as a less powerful option.
Initially, the only diesel option was a 2.0-liter D5 with 222 horsepower, but a year later, a 232-horsepower PowerPulse model was added. These diesels provide superior performance and may be found on the secondary market with relative ease.
Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription are the three available trim levels, in descending order of luxury. We recommend momentum trimming above all others. Take a look at all the features included: adaptive cruise control, automatic (LED) headlights and wipers, leather seats, front and rear parking sensors, a powered tailgate with ‘gesture’ opening and closing, satellite radio, wireless audio streaming, a hands-free smart phone interface, 19-inch alloy wheels, climate control with two separate zones, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a digital audio broadcast radio, and automatic emergency city braking. Each trim level has a “Pro” variant that includes a heated steering wheel, nappa leather, and a head-up display (although the latter is removed if a heated windscreen is selected).
Get the R-Design package just if you’re in it for the sporty good looks. There are a number of sporty design details, including electric-adjustable sports seats, privacy glass, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 20-inch alloy wheels, and more, but the package doesn’t offer good value for money.
Softer nappa leather, 20-inch alloy wheels, posh ambient illumination throughout the interior, and attractive walnut trim are just some of the upgrades included in the Inscription trim level, in addition to the R-12.3-inch Design’s digital instrument display and electrically adjustable passenger seat.
In 2022, Core, Ultimate, and Plus were designated as the only available tiers. We recommend the base Core version. Standard features include dual-zone climate control, LED headlights and wipers, heated front leather seats, a power trunk release, 19-inch alloy wheels, and adaptive cruise control. The Plus trim level includes adaptive LED headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, and rear door sun shades. The Ultimate trim level features upgraded Bowers & Wilkins audio, privacy glass, a heads-up display, air suspension, and 21-inch alloy wheels.
All of the motors are slick, polished, and shockingly fast when driven on the road. The diesel (D5 or B5) is a calm performer that provides adequate low-rev pull. Quick acceleration and reaching highway speeds are both a breeze. Finally, there are gasolines. The diesel may be driven more gently than the mild-hybrid gasoline B5, T5, and, to a lesser extent, the turbocharged and supercharged T6. Yet, the T5 and B5 gasolines are quick enough when you do that. The T8 hybrid can go from zero to sixty-two miles per hour in five seconds and eight tenths, so it can’t be accused of being slow.
Even at low speeds, big flaws are seldom felt in any of the variants, and the ride quality is excellent overall. Nonetheless, the smaller-wheeled variants typically have a more comfortable ride than their larger-wheeled counterparts.
Around the bends, the Volvo XC90 can’t equal the sportier BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne for outright handling finesse, but it’s on a par with the Q7 and considerably crisper to drive than the wallowy Land Rover Discovery. If you don’t really toss it around, the body leans only a little bit, and you never get the impression that it’s going to tip over on a series of turns.
The interior is exquisitely refined and luxurious. The seats are supportive, the driving posture is comfortable, and there is superb vision. A 9.0 inch tablet-style touchscreen is used to operate the entertainment features. The beautiful appearance isn’t often matched by ease of use. The dashboard and centre console are constructed from a combination of high-quality materials that provide the impression of a high-end vehicle. The upper portion of the dashboard is upholstered in plush materials, while the area around the display and shift knob is finished in glossy black.
The Volvo XC90 has plenty of capacity for four adults in the front seats, three adults in the middle row, and two children or adults in the back seats for short drives. These seats offer first-class versatility, with a wide range of customization choices.