By on October 19, 2015

2016 Volvo XC90 Exterior-001

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD

2.0-liter DOHC I-4, supercharged and turbocharged (316 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm; 295 lbs-ft @ 2,200-4,500 rpm)

8-speed Aisin automatic with Haldex all-wheel drive

20 city/25 highway/20 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

20.1 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price:$49,895*

As Tested:$68,155*

* Prices include $995 destination charge.

Many of you have asked why we bother to review a car we’ve already reviewed based on a few hours at a launch event. The all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 is a textbook example of why more time with a car allows for a more complete review.

At launch events, you have no time to perform acceleration or brake tests of a vehicle (and, of course, you aren’t testing the car on the same circuit that the rest of the cars have been tested upon) and you have no ability to drive the competition back-to-back to get a sense of comparison. There is a reason that first drive reviews tend to be fact based: it’s hard to review a car in a vacuum.

So why is the XC90 a textbook example? Because of my own biases. Biases are interesting things. They can blind you to a car’s faults, or they can lead you to overcompensate and find fault.

After digesting my time with the XC90, I started falling into the latter camp. Edmunds 0-60 tested the XC90 and found it slower than expected. I started wondering if I had been wearing rose-colored glasses and asked myself: “Was it really that good?” Therefore, I had to get my hand on one again so I could run it through our battery of tests and drive it on my own for a week to find the answer.

The answer: It is better.



Exterior
The exterior of the XC90 is just what you’d expect from a European company. The lines are clean and elegant with a blunt nose due to pedestrian impact regulations in Europe. Volvo’s new corporate design language softens the strong “hips” we saw in the last generation model. Base models make do with halogen headlamps, but most models on the lot will have the attractive new LED version we had on our tester. The full LED unit (standard on R-Design and Inscription, and optional on Momentum) also steers into the corners, something that many luxury makers ditch when they upgrade you from Xenon to LED beams. As far as headlamps go, Volvo’s new “Thor’s hammer” units are top of the class. The halogen base units strike me as an unexpected cost cutting measure since some markets for the XC90 (like the UK) will be all-LED all the way.

2016 Volvo XC90 Exterior-009

While the XC90 remains a front-wheel drive based vehicle, the front end has an almost rear-wheel drive proportion to it. The front door and firewall are pushed further from the wheelwell to accommodate Volvo’s latest drivetrains and the hood is surprisingly long with proportions more similar to the X5 than the MDX. This move was made possible by Volvo’s new DriveE drivetrains which are more compact, but require a little more room aft of the front axle.

Now at this point you may be asking yourself, what’s going on in that big engine bay when the rumor mill tells you the XC90 was designed to hold a maximum engine size of two liters? Nothing. Nearly a foot behind the front grille sits the crossover’s radiators and the engine itself sits nearly the same distance from the last radiator. Why? Safety.

Volvo’s design allows the XC90 to meet all the world’s latest pedestrian impact regulations without fancy (and expensive) explosive bolts or airbags. The extra space up front and between the hood and the engine are designed to cushion the impact of the dancing sign holder you didn’t see as you were turning into the mall. There’s also a side benefit: reduced cost in minor fender benders since it takes a more severe impact to reach the XC’s radiators.

2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription Interior-001

Interior
The XC90 Volvo has set the interior design bar high — and not just for the 3-row luxury crossover segment.

Base models get the usual fare of soft-touch, injection-molded plastics and real aluminum trim, but come standard with real cowhide, something increasingly rare in base luxury cars. Fit and finish in all models is at the top of the segment surpassing the Acura and Infiniti, and it’s easily and on par with the Mercedes GL and Range Rover Sport despite costing less.

Volvo is packing the XC90 with a ton of standard equipment as well, including an 8-inch LCD instrument cluster, 9.3-inch infotainment screen, four-zone climate control and heated front seats. The value becomes more obvious when you step up to the $56,300 Inscription trim that we sampled because it’s basically the same price as a base BMW X5 xDrive35i. For that price Volvo tosses in a hand stitched leather coating the dash and doors, open pore trim, ventilated front seats that contort in more ways, rear window shades, nappa leather trim and a 12.3-inch LCD gauge cluster.

Volvo’s legendary seats have also been thoroughly redesigned. The new seats incorporate four-way lumbar support, adjustable side bolsters and a power extending thigh cushion. Fair warning, the controls for those new features aren’t as intuitive as I had hoped. You have to use a toggle to switch between modes (indicated on the LCD in the dash) and then the 4-way toggle will do your bidding. Volvo claims that the new front seat design isn’t just more adjustable, it’s also safer by sporting a deformable bottom to reduce spinal injuries should your Swedish tank fly off the road.

The middle row has practicality in mind with each seat being a separate unit and not the more common 60/40 split. You can fold, recline, or slide forward/backward each of the three seats without moving the others. This makes it easier to keep a child seat strapped in one seat and access the third row or jam long IKEA items in the cabin. Volvo continues to offer an integrated child bolster in the middle seat, but the standard 4-zone climate controls may not hold up to Timmy’s tap-dancing impression. The third row is more comfortable than the X5 or MDX, but it’s still more compact than the QX60’s way-back. Behind the third row you’ll find enough room for four carry-on sized roller bags making it a hair more practical than the Infiniti or Acura.

2016 Volvo Sensus Connect Touchscreen Tablet Style Infotainment System-001

Infotainment
An all-new car wouldn’t be complete without an all-new infotainment system so so we get Volvo’s tablet-themed Sensus system.

The 9.3-inch Tesla-esque display looks like someone grafted an Android tablet into the dash. Although less snazzy than the enormous Tesla display, I actually found it easier to use. On the flip side, the display’s surface isn’t glass as I had initially guessed. The surface is scratch resistant, but upon close inspection did show some signs of scuffing, no doubt from a former journalist and aggressive polishing.

The software package offers full iPod/USB integration complete with media library voice commands and standard XM satellite radio. Volvo has pledged to support Apple CarPlay, but our model did not yet have the right firmware to enable that feature. Shoppers should see that firmware shortly and you won’t have to visit the dealer for it, the new Sensus system uses over-the-air updates much like Tesla’s Model S and Model X.

Bundled with the system is a standard 10-speaker surround sound audio system which can be bumped up to a 1,440-watt 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins system in any trim level for a “reasonable” $2,500.

The optional 12.3 inch instrument cluster reminds me of the Mercedes and Jaguar/Land Rover displays in that the system offers limited customization. While you can select from a few themes, the layout of the display is constant. Between the gauges you can opt for either a moving map display or infotainment status. Audi wins the LCD gauge contest however with their upcoming Q7 which displays Google satellite view imagery on the entire 12-inch display with gauges floating over the map.

2016 Volvo XC90 Interior-004

Safety
No Volvo would be complete without the latest in safety gadgets and systems. Unlike Acura however, Volvo is far from the nanny brand. The distinction is important.

Although the XC90 is loaded with all the latest safety tech, it is (by design) not as interactive as the Japanese systems. Volvo’s philosophy is to warn, let the driver act, and only as a last resort intervene. Volvo’s collision warning system warns you when you’re driving like an ass and will tap the brakes and yank on the seatbelts to get your attention, but the MDX crams on the brakes in similar situations mid-maneuver. The result in the Acura is that you look like a bigger ass having “brake checked” the car you just cut off.

Likewise, the Volvo will remind you that your passengers are unbelted, but it won’t keep “dinging” at you until you comply, just a few dings and you’re on your own. Want to enter a navigation address while in motion? Enter at your own risk. Even Volvo’s autonomous braking system (City Safety) won’t step in until thing have gone completely pear-shaped. This means that Volvo’s systems may be less likely than Acura’s to prevent an accident, especially at higher speeds, but you will suffer far fewer false alarms and folks with control issues are likely to be happier with the Volvo.

This year brings a few new safety gadgets like a system that pulls you back in the seats if the car detects you leaving the road, and autonomous braking if the car detects you’ve turned left in front of oncoming traffic. There’s also a rear-end radar system that tightens the belts and increases brake pressure if the car thinks a drunk is going to plow into your behind.

In other markets, the car will also flash its lights to warn the approaching lunatic, but that apparently violates some silly U.S. law, so we don’t get it. For passive safety, Volvo claims the lack of rear thorax airbags in the second row is due to the XC90’s side impact scores being so good that they aren’t needed. Seeing as the ancient first-generation XC90 managed to still get top crash test marks on tests that didn’t even exist when it was designed, I’m inclined to believe Volvo.

Drivetrain
Up to this point we have good looking exterior, a super sexy interior, more nannies than Manhattan on a weekday and an all-new stereo, what’s the catch? For Americans you’ll find that under the long hood. While there are a selection of engines in the EU, the only one making it to the USA is the largest engine in Volvo’s future: a 2-liter four-cylinder engine. In order to motivate the 4,627 pounds, Volvo adds a turbocharger and a supercharger. The combination cranks out 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The supercharger functions from idle to approximately 3,000 rpm at which point the turbocharger takes over completely and the blower gets declutched. The logic is two-fold. Superchargers obviously improve low-end torque, but it also solves the momentary turbo lag you get in small displacement engines equipped with a start/stop system.

The only transmission is an 8-speed Aisin automatic, essentially the same transmission found in the 2016 Lexus RX 350 and 2016 BMW X1. While we expect to see a front-wheel drive model at some point, for now all T6 models get a standard Haldex AWD system. This generation of the Haldex AWD system is more aggressive at locking the center coupling sending 50 percent of the power to the rear more frequently than previous systems. The result is a crossover that lacks most of the front-wheel drive dynamics you find in the base versions of the MDX and QX60.

2016 Volvo XC90 Exterior-010

Drive
Even at over 4,600 pounds, the XC90 is fairly light for a luxury 3-row. The Mercedes’ GL450 is nearly 1,000 pounds heavier and even the lightweight X5 comes in 150 pounds heavier than the Volvo. Although the MDX and QX60 are lighter, the XC90 has a trick up its sleeve: weight distribution.

Thanks to the new chassis design, just 52 percent of the weight is carried on the front axle making the weight balance essentially the same as the Mercedes GL and GLE. That means the neutral handling characteristics are closer to the 50/50 balanced BMW than the 60/40 balanced Acura or Infiniti.

The Volvo sports a new double-wishbone suspension design up front that improves handling and allows a four-corner air suspension to be optionally fitted. Out back we get a rear suspension design that is related to what we see in the new 3-Series fighting Jaguar XE. (This is because JLR and Volvo were both part of Ford’s luxury wing and there was common development until the break up.) Topping off the hardware list are optional 275 width tires which are the widest ever used by Volvo on a production car.

The combination of the new suspension design, wide tires and a surprisingly well-balanced chassis makes the XC90 drive “smaller” than it looks. Actual road holding is 9/10ths of the X5 which is notably higher than the MDX or QX60. That’s thanks as much to the weight distribution and standard AWD as it is to the tires. Oddly Volvo doesn’t seem to have an option for ultra-grippy summer tires like we see on some of the competitors, which is a pity. Push the XC90 hard and it isn’t the suspension that starts to sweat, it’s the all-season rubber.

2016 Volvo XC90 Exterior-015

There is a downside to the optional 275/35R22 tires however: the ride. Even with the optional air suspension, the XC90 can feel a little too firm on rough roads or driving off the beaten path. If you don’t get the $1,800 optional air suspension the XC90’s ride feels a little less polished, but a hair sportier. Personally, I think the available 275/45R20s are a decent balance between ride and handling. The air suspension can be added to any trim level and allows the driver to adjust the ride height and adaptive behavior.

Part of the reason I wanted to test the XC90 on my own turf was to see how fast it scoots to 60. At the launch event I thought Volvo’s estimate of 6.1 seconds sounded a hair optimistic, but the “butt dyno” is hardly a calibrated instrument and the 6.2 second time I clocked at the event was in a pre-production model and on an uneven surface.

Then I heard Edmunds tester couldn’t muster better than a lazy 7.4 seconds. What’s the deal?  I’m not sure. According to Edmunds, just leaving the Volvo in “Drive” resulted in a long 7.9 seconds. However, doing the same thing in our tester yielded a repeatable 6.4 seconds. Even allowing the start/stop system to stop the engine didn’t elevate the times beyond 7 seconds.

I’m not in the business of assuming, but it sounds like something was wrong with Edmund’s XC90. After many phone calls I found a dealer willing to let me test an XC90 and it rang in between 6.3 and 6.5 seconds in back-to-back runs. With that number put to bed, comparisons are more important to me. The X5 xDrive35i in my tests was actually 1/10th slower than the Volvo. The MDX is right around the same speed thanks to a new 9-speed transmission and the CVT equipped QX60 is a snail.

2016 Volvo XC90 Exterior-005

If you didn’t know the XC90 had a four-cylinder engine under the hood, you’d likely just think the engine was a little rough. There are no vibrations in the cabin to give the engine away, but the exhaust note is a far cry from a well-tuned inline 6.

The four-cylinder only felt out of breath at higher speeds, but a quick look at the 1/4 mile times of the XC90 and BMW X5 prove the feeling is not fixed in reality. The 6-cylinder BMW’s 1/4 mile run looked eerily identical to the Volvo clocking just 1 mph faster. Looking deeper, the Volvo has a healthy mid-RPM power band since the 0-30 time was 2/10ths slower than the 3-liter BMW SUV, but the 0-60 time was just over 1/10th faster in the Volvo. By the time the 1/4 mile came around, the Volvo was just 5/100ths behind, obviously this is all within the margin of error.

So dynamically the XC90 is a solid European contender, it has the acceleration of an X5 and an interior that beats Land Rover at their own game. What’s the catch? There are two actually. The first is fuel economy. While good for this segment, is not as good as you’d think with a small four-cylinder engine under the hood. We averaged 20.1 mpg during a week of mixed driving which is a hair lower than I got in the X5 xDrive35i, but essentially the same as the MDX’s last average. Since the 4-cylinder engine doesn’t seem to be much more efficient than the competition in a large crossover like this, personally I’d rather Volvo just jammed a smoother 5-cylinder under the hood. That said, the XC90 does have a clear fuel economy “win” over the competition when it comes to the city mileage; in very heavy stop-and-go traffic the Volvo beat the BMW or Acura. On the highway, the competition is more efficient.

The second problem will be getting shoppers into the Volvo dealer since the brand doesn’t have the seemingly endless advertising resources of Audi.

Pricing, you ask? I think that’s actually a distinct advantage for Volvo. Spanning from $49,895 to $68,155, the XC90 actually has a very small price range but the features build rapidly. With a high level of standard gadgetry, the Volvo averages $10,000 less than a comparably equipped BMW and nearly $20,000 less than a Mercedes GL.

The Volvo will set you back around $5,000 more than the MDX, but adjusting for the standard features we get in the XC90 it ends up being between $40 and $2,000 more depending on how you option each up. That’s quite a small price jump when you consider the Volvo delivers a more refined ride, better handling, a much more handsome interior and in general more luxury “polish” than we see in the MDX.

The way the safety systems interact with the driver, the fit and finish, the materials quality and integration of the infotainment system, draw a distinct contrast between the Acura and the Volvo. While I’m still not entirely sold on an all-four-cylinder future, I have to admit that the XC90 seriously impresses where it counts.

Since the word “value” ignites a fire in my loins and I’m a sucker for excellent interior design, the XC90 earns a place on the eclectic list of cars that I would actually buy myself. These include the Kia Soul, Audi A3 Cabrio, Honda Accord Hybrid, Hyundai Genesis and Kia K900. (I warned you, it’s an eclectic list.) Whether the Geely/Volvo experiment is destined for success or failure I don’t know. But I do know that Geely’s cash and Volvo’s flair for a design are a tasty combo.

Volvo provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.65 Seconds

0-60: 6.43 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.75 Seconds @ 94 MPH

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

77 Comments on “2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Review – Sweden’s New King (Video)...”


  • avatar
    motormouth

    I drove one of these for about 45 mins a couple of weeks ago. It looks great on the outside and inside, a step and a half above the old model, but I didn’t like aspects of the central control panel. I’m pretty good with such things, but couldn’t figure a way to get a manual setting on the HVAC system and other elements. Not wholly intuitive, then, but it’s still a fine car if the BMW or Merc alternatives are too er… common.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      At first I resisted the auto climate control, but after a few months I gave in and now I prefer it. The only thing I don’t like is they don’t blow hot air out of the center vents and I like to use it to warm my hands.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    316 hp out of 2.0 ltrs

    Holy Hairdryers, Batman! That’s some tremendous forced induction!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Despite all our rage
      More hairdryer pushed hamsters
      Under hoods, enraged

      *Can’t wait for the either BMW 5 and/or 7 competitor Cadillac CT6 with 2.0T motor which I plan to NormSVT Trifecta Tune to the order of 475 horsepower allowing me to get angry hairdryer sounds under WOT, the exhaust note of a wet Labrador fart, while achieving 56 mpg and 0-60 times of 4.4 seconds as I cruise down SoHo cobblestone streets.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Best looking interior out of any suv. Acura and Infiniti need to take note.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    That interior is gorgeous. I wasn’t sold on the front end styling, though having now seen a few of these in the wild the treatment looks much better in person.

    That wood the door panels… wow.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “The exterior of the XC90 is just what you’d expect from a European company” – you mean Chinese

    Catch 1 – Fuel economy: I don’t understand – you pay 50-70 large for a car and worry about fuel economy

    Catch 2 – getting shoppers in – no problem. Volvo will start selling them $7000 under invoice…

    Pricing: “the Volvo averages $10,000 less than a comparably equipped BMW”
    But again, it has 2L engine, while BMW has something more advanced than that. And if X5 is heavier – we know why

    And the wild card? – reliability. Ah, yea, what …bility – you paid 70K, you can afford fixing it

    • 0 avatar
      motormouth

      The only thing Chinese about Volvo is the money backing development. Geely is taking a very hands-off approach.

      Some people worry about fuel economy because they have the ability to rationalize on a variety of levels.

      That a 2.0-litre engine can pump out that level of horsepower should be a clue to how advanced it is, not the GVW.

    • 0 avatar
      andyinatl

      Re: reliability, Volvo is easily most reliable of the EU brands. There were a few issues with XC90 T6 transmissions in early 00’s, but after than it was smooth sailing. Having had a few of the Volvos myself (960, S90, two V70s), none of which were under 100K miles, i can tell you for sure that Volvo would be the only brand i’d buy from Europe. Others may make sense to lease….

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Advanced”?

      Can you quantify that word, in context?

      Bigger? Yes. More-cylinder-y? Yes. Smoother? Could be; call it yes.

      But “more advanced”? Well, in the old days we’d call greater power density “more advanced”, but that’s just me…

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Yes, bigger, smoother, more enjoyable, and all other thing – more advanced. We all know that Volvo is not an engine company. They can build an engine but it wouldn’t be “HEMI” if you know what I mean

  • avatar

    #1 Interior materials are FANTASTIC – exactly what I expect out of an “entry-luxury” or “Luxury” car.

    #2 The Exterior isn’t exactly “gorgeous” but looks better than that ugly Infiniti RHINO-looking big SUV.

    #3 The touchscreen is not as well thought out as the Uconnect touch. It passes the test that C.U.E. fails though.

    #4 Driving it feels a bit heavy. It feels like it wants to come to a dead stop. However, I enjoyed driving it.

    #5 Backseat could use a little more space – but the executive package makes up for that.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I like the interior looks, but I’m dubious about ditching the previous generation Sensus system’s hard buttons for air location [the man-shaped feet/dash/window controller is actually intuitive, in a way most things called intuitive aren’t] and temperature and fan speed.

      Same reason people don’t like it on the Fords that have/had it; it’s nice to be able to adjust climate control by feel, rather than having to look and see that you’re touching the right part of a screen.

      “One degree per click” knobs are … very, very friendly for that.

      (Yes, I know, “set it and forget it”, but for some reason my XC70 often thinks I need lots of cold air on my hands when I vehemently disagree, so I turn down the fan, etc.)

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I gotta give credit to these guys for having had the guts to shape this vehicle in proper SUV/stationwagon style, instead of succumbing to the CUV sham which passes for a wagon these days, and which is nothing but a liftback (I hate the term 5-door) sedan on stilts.

  • avatar
    don1967

    How interesting that the world leader in active safety technology is actually leaning towards less invasive systems. Especially at a time when fully-autonomous cars are grabbing all the headlines.

    Does Volvo know something we don’t?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Maybe they got tired of ramming trucks while demonstrating their automatic brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Well, yes, Volvo knows something we don’t. They’ve been studying crashes for decades and actually know what it takes to reduce them.

      Everyone else just builds what they think will reduce crashes. Well, that’s not totally true. Everyone else builds what they are required to build, plus what they think will sell cars.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    I definitely like the rear wheel drive proportions of the side profile.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      2010 Highlander has very similar side view. You see the difference though where Highlander A-pillar comes down right behind the front wheel, Volvo has some more space there.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        Why are you saying that they have a similar side view when they’re not similar at all?

        The Highlander has a boatlike prow ahead of it’s front wheels, the XC90, at least visually, doesn’t, giving it very RWD like proportions.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    On that 0-60 time, wouldn’t anything under nine seconds be sufficient for a vehicle of this type? Way too much emphasis is put on acceleration times in non-sporting vehicles. Traffic conditions usually mean that you’re barely going to crack the throttle anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      A lot of people emphasize handling too, even though it means squat in stop and go traffic.

      For this Id vote 8 seconds, its a luxury vehicle so it should have some oomph.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Here in the capital of progressive idiocy, we have stop signals on our freeway entrance ramps. That’s why luxury sedans with 400+ hp are the norm.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Please. I had no trouble getting up to speed from ramp meters in my 98 hp ’88 Accord.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Was that in 1988? There’s been an arms race here when it comes to cars, and freeways move at speeds closer to 80 mph than 60.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            No one is doing 80 mph in the right lane of urban freeways. If you can make it to 65-70 you’re doing fine, and the ’88 Accord (which I owned from 2001-2006) had no trouble getting to those speeds from a ramp meter.

            People have 400 hp luxury sedans because they want to accelerate from a ramp meter without exceeding 2500 rpm. It’s not a safety issue but one of perceived luxury.

            Spend a bit of time driving heavy trucks or buses that may not be able to reach 60 mph at all, and you’ll quickly learn how absurd the idea is that sports-car acceleration is an essential safety feature.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          98hp – such luxury. I had no problem with them in a 57hp ’79 Peugeot 504D, and I bet it outweighs your Accord by a good chunk of a Civic. Foot to the floor, what a concept!

          I love how the average American “needs” 300hp to only every use 100 of them.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’ve owned a 240D automatic, but there’s no way I’d drive one in San Diego today.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @CJinSD

            Why not? Having spent a week there a few months ago, I rarely went more than 60, and an awful lot of the time traffic was all but stopped. Seems like a pretty good place to drive a slow car.

            It always amuses me that people say they need 500hp to merge onto the highway, when most of the time the highways are so congested I could merge easily with my fat @ss on a bicycle.

            I wouldn’t drive an old Merc diesel these days because I like a car quiet enough to hear myself think, but the performance is perfectly adequate. Foot to the floor until desired velocity is reached, or it won’t go any faster. Such a simple concept, lost on so many of my fellow Americans.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          98 hp in 2500 pounds, a full ton lighter than the XC90 (and 50% slower to 60, and just under 10 seconds.).

          6.4 is … plenty risk enough, and the torque band from the forced air means you can actually pass people sanely at highway speeds.

          Those are both important things; 0-60 time gives you a basic idea of “zippy enough”.

          I personally want a car, if I’m buying one that costs $50k+, to *not* be slower than a Corolla.

          (Agreed, by all means, not a necessary safety feature; my old 300D had a 0-60 time of 19 seconds, and I got on freeways just fine by flooring it and being careful.

          But remember that many of us aren’t on “urban freeways” primarily…)

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I had no trouble in my notably slow Volvo 240s, well except for a few rare instances:

          1. Going downhill onto the highway a dump truck decided to race me up to 80mph, and I was stuck in a lane that’d be exiting soon.

          2. Getting on the highway up hill early in the morning a school bus made me pull over, though that may’ve just been my wimpy driving.

          Either way I usually emphasize interior comfort over power, ’tis where you’ll be spending your time in a car.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @FormerFF:

      “On that 0-60 time, wouldn’t anything under nine seconds be sufficient for a vehicle of this type?”

      For me, yes. For people who will actually pay the premium fon this vehicle over the Pilot/Highlander or the Sienna/Oddysey, it probably matters.

      As for me, my passengers start screaming before the tires start squealing on my 2004 Sienna, so I’d never get to use all that power. I ain’t genna buy what I ain’t gonna use.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    Finally an SUV/CUV with windows you can actually see out of. None of those swoopy portholes for windows, they like so much across the board now. And still easily the most safe vehicle out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      What ablut the Tiguan? Or the Tourag..Tour…stupid VW named SUV?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Touareg, named after a group of indigenous peoples in North Africa. It’s no stupider than a Jeep named Cherokee or a Dodge named Dakota.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I disagree on that logic as the average American has heard the word “Cherokee” or “Dakota” in reference to something (be it a tribe, a drink, or the name of a state). They have never heard of the Touareg tribe (Europeans perhaps but not Americans). Just as Subaru named their wagon “Outback” instead of “Aborigine” or “Aboriginal” since Americans had heard of the Australian Outback if only from a Paul Hogan movie. I’d wager at least 8 out of 10 do not know who the Aborigines happen to be.

          That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Cars are slightly more difficult to name in Europe because you need something that doesn’t mean something offensive in any EU language–or anything, really. Fiat seems to be very good at this. Given that they wanted something that communicated freedom and adventure, what would you suggest?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s a good point. For the US, Toureg could have been called Yellowstone, Teton, Blackfoot, or Shoshone (looking at a map of Wyoming). Most of those names are not well known to Americans but could be pointed out to be places in CONUS.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Volkswagen Kickapoo

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            We might be past the point where it’s socially acceptable to use names of indigenous peoples as American model names (Touareg works because, as you said, Americans don’t know it). Locations are fair game, though (Ram Laramie springs to mind, as well as all the Hyundai/Kia names), so Teton would be best.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I want to see a ACR Dodge Viper “Apache” edition (murdered out), taking scalps of Eurotrash exotics that cost 2x to 3x as much, on the track, stat.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I think using a tribe name is still alright (Tribes seem to generally approve college football names like Seminoles, Chippewa, Sioux, etc more than the NCAA). That is, unless the Cherokee Nation has an issue with FCA making a product with their name on it.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            I see you’ve played knifey-outbacky before!

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I meant to say “new American model names.” Cherokee has been around since the ’70s, when it was still acceptable.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s a good point but many new models continue to use acronyms and others are recycled from trademarks of years past (such as Jeep’s new “Renegade”). I think Compass and Patriot may have been new car names. Neon was in its time, and I think Cavalier and Escort as well.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah, General Motors wouldn’t bring out the Chevrolet Navajo at the NAIAS.

            Ford would think about using a Native American tribal name if it started with “F” or “E”. I can’t think of any offhand though.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Then who on Earth are the Tiguan?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Tiguan is a mashup of Tiger and Leguan (tiger and iguana, respectively, in German), and was the winning entry in a naming contest from a German car magazine. It’s not much stupider a mashup than “Toronado.”

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      But wait, the apologists for hideous styling trends and no visibility keep telling us that regulations are what forces vehicles to have no windows you can see out of to the rear or sides. Are you telling me that it’s just bad styling decisions made by the “American Idol generation” designers who never saw a piece of goop or a weird side panel crease they didn’t like? Couldn’t be. It’s got to be regulations.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    I like the looks of this rig, but Volvo is going to have the same problems VW has with the Touareg: poor resale value + high lease payments= no sales. It’s hard to compete with BMWs huge subsidies and the MDXs 68% residual.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      1,200 a month isn’t exactly “no sales”, at twice the count of the Touareg – and only half the sales of the X5, last month, per GoodCarBadCar.

      I’m sure Volvo is *thrilled* rather than disappointed.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    I tried one after seeing it the NYMS. Car is perfect size for my and wifes needs. the interior is fantastic.

    However, the stop start has to be deactivated every time you drive, and I think you have to go through screens to do that..

    The motor I though sucked. Yes it was fine and strong off the line, and maybe if you floor and rev it the objective numbers look ok. But when I tried it on the highway it felt like a slug, slow to kickdown and slow to acclerate, almosta s bad as the last Honda Pilot.

    Then there is the lane departure crap. Going onto an onramp the car tried to kill me, I guess it saw the line didnt see an indicator on and tried steering me left, felt like the supesion had suddenly broken.

    Then there are the prices. Most people lease. For the same money or slight;ly less as volvo currently wants I can lease a loaded X5 with the V8.

    So maybe the headline price number for the volvo is lower, but in relaity its an expensive car which to me felt gutless on the highway and whole electronics made it feel like an accident waiting to happen.

    The steering is eps meh, and the ride even with regular wheels and airbags is low speed brittle.

    Seriouly its a great body and a fantastic interior, otherwise its subpar powertrain and questionable suspension dynamics, all wrapped in a prescritive package where the car drives you.

    Maybe that what suburban mons comming from toyota minivans like, but I thought it sucked. Maybe I need to try a different one?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    On a different note, I think Bogward just found someone to build their SUV and slap the correct grille on it.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/borgward-reborn-bizarre-buick-porsche-lovechild-apparently/

    Should work out splendidly…

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Lease rates drive too many decisions in this segment. Volvo can’t compete with this disposable diaper. They’ll suffer now, or they’ll suffer when their subsidized leases of compound Rube Goldberg-charged mistakes are turned in as paper weights.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Lotta money for a clunky ride.

    I could get that and a lifetime of gas by buying a Pilot.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Are the 3rd row headrests still connected to a dope-slap button on the dashboard?

  • avatar
    pdl2dmtl

    With a 2.0 liter engine and it could not break the 30mpg on the highway…
    A bit ridiculous if you ask me. And Alex probably did not put it through its paces.
    Shouldn’t the alleged weight reduction due to the new lighter engine have some benefits in that respect?
    And I await patiently to see the long term ownership reports on that high output engine. From the 2nd owners, after the lease… That should be interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The only way you are going to break 30mpg highway real world with something like this is with a diesel. 5000lbs with a driver and passenger, the frontal area of a garden shed. Whether it has 3/4/5/6/8/10 or 12 cylinders is largely irrelevant, it will take something like 70hp to push it at 65mph on the level.

      The fewer cylinder engines will have an advantage due to less friction and supposedly .5L is the ideal size for a single cylinder. Turbos recover energy that is otherwise chucked out the exhaust. The smaller displacement is negated by the forced induction when you get on it. It basically takes X gas to make Y horsepower (assuming you can flow enough air), so if you are making the horsepower you are using the gas. Where this engine will do better is around town, where presumably you are sitting at lights, were it uses less fuel – ideally, none with the stop/start. Smaller displacement and less friction.

      So surprise, Alex saw exactly that – better mileage around town than the 3.0L+ rivals, the same on the highways, more or less. 300hp = 300hp performance, regardless of how many cylinders, and if you use all 300hp, similar fuel consumption too.

      As for durability, time will tell. Volvo has been making turbocharged cars for nearly 40 years now, and with very few turbo related issues. They are not new to this game. Turbos and superchargers ARE wear parts ultimately, but will certainly outlast the overwhelming majority of first owners. Beyond that, it’s a used car, you roll the dice and take your chances. I sure wouldn’t buy the first couple years of this though. Let other folks be the beta testers.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “They are not new to this game. Turbos and superchargers ARE wear parts ultimately, but will certainly outlast the overwhelming majority of first owners.”

        Not to detract from your excellent points, but many first owners trade in the 30-40K range. Reliability needs to exceed this and should target 10 year/100K at minimum. I do hope the “first owner” or “warranty period” mindset wasn’t in play here.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Ultimately, not the makers problem. Their primary customer is the new car buyer. To a large extent they do care about the second owner due to the success of CPO programs – they don’t want ridiculous warranty costs on those cars. But that still means mostly 6-7 years and something under 100K.

          And ultimately, are some $$$$ repairs on an out of warranty vehicle that cost $50-60K new really that out of line? If you are the original owner it’s paid for by then – much cheaper than buying a new one. If you a second, third, fourth owner, you paid much less than new for it. It’s not a Corolla. You have to pay to play. And if you can’t afford to pay, you should be playing with used Corollas, not 10yo luxury CUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      You want 30mpg highway, you want more aerodynamics than you get in that segment.

      (I can’t find any car in that segment that gets 30 with a gas motor, though the Cayenne [!] claims to get 29. The Q5 TDI gets 31, but of course diesel fuel is more energetic per gallon, which is why it does and the Q5 2.0T doesn’t.)

      Highway economy is all about wind flow, not about weight and power.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It’s more about frontal area. You can have a lovely low drag coefficient, but if you are pushing a barn through the air, your total drag will still suck. Which is why a 328i wagon gets 6 mpg better on the highway than an X3 with the same drivetrain. BMWs are great to use as examples because they use identical drivetrains across a nice variety of vehicles. The 328i wagon is ~300lbs lighter than the X3, so it gets 1mpg higher in the city, but 6mpg higher highway is largely aerodynamics. The wagon *may* have a slightly lower drag coefficient, but it has a MUCH smaller frontal area so lower total drag.

        Weight does factor in though, just to a lesser extent. If it is lighter, you reduce rolling friction. You can use a smaller engine to get the same level of acceleration, with will likely be more efficient as well.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    22″ rims are just ridiculous, no matter what sort of suspension you have underneath it, it’s not going to have the sort of ride people want from from a luxury SUV. And never mind what it’s going to cost for the consumer to replace tires vs something more reasonable. I’d like to see this trend put to bed. It’s purely for cosmetics at the expense of handling, acceleration and fuel economy.

    The tiny fraction that wants really big “dubs” can go to the aftermarket. Imagine how much better this thing would rid on like 18″ rims with a taller profile tire.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      Even 18″ wheels are ridiculous.

      Traditionally, full size cars and 1/2 ton pickups used 15″ wheels (think 1974 Chevy station wagon, which probably weighed about what this vehicle does), and 3/4 ton trucks used 16″ wheels. Trust me, no one is going to make use of skidpad performance in a vehicle like this; but everyone will use the ability to ride over potholes without breaking stuff. Also, imagine how much better the car would remain rattle- and squeak- free if manufacturers would take full advantage of Dr. Dunlop’s invention.

      And by the way, no car that turns the quarter mile in the high 14s is a slow car.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Remember that there’s also larger brakes on newer cars that need larger wheels.

        16″ is the maximum in my experience for cars and CUV/SUVs up to full-size. Full-size CUVs, SUVs, and pickups should be 18″ max.

        • 0 avatar
          turf3

          I believe that the designers pick the wheel size and then the engineers stuff the biggest brakes in that will fit; not the other way around.

          If I can lock up the brakes with brakes that will fit in a 15″ wheel, then I don’t need bigger brakes – for normal duty service. I guarantee you that you could put 15″ wheels on this car, and you could put disc brakes on the front and drums on the rear, that would fit inside 15″ wheels, and you could lock up the brakes all day long.

          The tires would be cheaper; the wheels would be cheaper; the brakes would be cheaper; the ride would be better; reduced shock and vibration would help all components last longer; unsprung weight would (probably) be less. The money saved could go to the bottom line; it could be passed on to the customer; or it could be used to improve something else. The only thing Volvo have to lose is the wagon wheel look, which ought to be lost anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Seriously. The 18s on my XC70 are bigger than I want, but with the T6 you can’t put on smaller ones, because of the brake size.

      Nevermind that the car doesn’t really weigh any more than the base FWD 4cyl, and I’m not taking it on the track; nope, I “need” giant brakes and huge wheels, when I’d rather have 16s.

  • avatar

    I finally got to drive one of these on Saturday. It was a base model Momentum with no options aside from LED lights.

    The interior and workmanship inside and out is exemplary. It also perfectly quiet inside and rides tremendously good on the standard 19″ wheels on broken city pavement. The only thing you do hear inside is the engine when you goose it.

    The powertrain is going to be disappointing for some buyers, especially if they live in mountainous areas. It has a bit more scoot than I expected and the stop start is very refined, almost transparent but you do have to cane it to get it to move and you can hear it windup in the cabin.

    I did look under the hood and it really looks like they original designed the engine compartment to accommodate their excellent 3.0L inline six originally. Volvo discontinued that engine on the S80 and XC70 last Spring. They just discontinued it a few weeks ago on everything else for MY16. It’s a shame, it’s a hugely refined engine and would move this car with authority.

    Don’t let the power put you off though, it’s got enough to for most use and the rest of the vehicle is about as well executed as a car in any class for any amount of money can get.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I have to say I disagree with the mountainous terrain comment. I commute over the Santa Cruz Mountains on a ridgeline road that goes from sea level to over 2,400 feet repeatedly and the XC90 has no issues at all. I was of your mindset before however this engine mirrors the power output of BMW’s larger 3.0L turbo six very closely with slightly better low end torque thanks to the supercharger and more oomph if the engine has engaged start/stop. So to anyone who asks “what’s it like when there’s a hill” I ask would you ask the same of the BMW X5? Because the XC90 is faster or just as fast depending on what test you throw at it.

  • avatar
    schoc

    I would never pay $50.000 for such a smal 4 cilinder engine

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    This is a vehicle I want to like. I like the exterior, interior and technology. It’s modern, attractive, substantial. However the most important part of the car is silly: the engine. For all that effort they put into blowing the little 4-cyl it still averages 20mpg. A turbo or NA V6 would probably give identical numbers. Heck, even a V8 like the previous gen had would probably only be off by an MPG or 2. A 4×4 Tahoe with a big ‘ole pushrod V8 averages 18mpg, to the average consumer that difference doesn’t matter.

    Seriously all that effort is just a waste. Those engines are overly complex for their task. The Volvo only weighs 4400lbs. My Q7 is 1000lbs more and matches it on fuel economy.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    This was on the shortlist of possible replacements for our 2008 MDX before an inattentive driver (in the other vehicle) ended that vehicle’s life with a BANG. This was early January, meaning that the new XC90 wasn’t yet available.

    We ended up with an Audi Q5 TDi, which has been a great car – sort of a sleeper “muscle-ute” that hits 60 mph in less than 6 seconds yet has averaged 31 mpg overall.

    XC90s looks great, inside and out, but I guess I’d have to drive one to know whether I could live with the power and the way it’s delivered. Then there’s the whole issue of this being a brand-new vehicle and the unknown reliability that goes along with that…

  • avatar
    wristtwist

    Alex, another great review! Handsome car (for a SUV), I could just about wish for a smooth NA inline 6 though.

    When are you going to get a new miata???!?!?!?!?!?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • rpn453: The Micra is still available in Canada at an MSRP of CDN$10500 (US$7900). I’d be interested in test...
  • thegamper: Pure speculation on my part, but I would think as more luxury automakers get EV’s to market with...
  • Rocket: I don’t see it. For one, it’s a lot of money to spend. But more important, Toyota is all about...
  • Giskard: Unlike other cars an electric car is likely to “know” it’s plugged in. My i3s, for...
  • Lie2me: I agree, or at least greatly reduce the amount of salt used. Here in southern Wisconsin I appreciate that...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States