Today Volvo’s lineup as grown quite stale with the only updates being mild updates to its existing lineup, but some big things are on the horizon for the Swedish brand. What we have here is the all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 SUV, which is getting its first full redesign since it was introduced way back in 2002. The new XC90 is also the first of many new Volvo models, since Volvo says that by 2018 every model in its current lineup will be replaced.
As the new face of Volvo, the 2016 XC90 is a conservative, cleanly styled SUV that exudes a higher level of elegance and refinement than some of its other competitors. The exterior isn’t a dramatic departure from the first-generation XC90, but its smoother lines make it look more refined and sculpted. The 2016 XC90’s exterior is void of the “look at me” styling that some of its German and Japanese competitors subscribe to, which perfectly aligns with Volvo’s continued theme of designing cars for people that don’t want a car that defines them.
While some may want a bit more style from the XC90’s exterior, once you open the door you’ll see where the new XC90 shines. The interior is so elegantly styled and covered in leather and wood that it’s perfect for fans of Scandinavian furniture. The center piece of the interior is the 9-inch touchscreen that acts like a tablet. It houses most of the controls for the interior, including HVAC controls, access to the audio system and the navigation system. If you step up to the T8 model, you’ll also get the sweet genuine Orrefors crystal shifter.
The 2016 XC90 is offered with only two powertrains and you may be surprised to either that neither of them are a V6 or V8. Instead the standard engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission in the XC90 T6. Normally a 2.0L engine wouldn’t have the power to keep a 5,000 pound SUV moving, but this four-cylinder is both turbocharged and supercharged to give it 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. All-wheel-drive is also standard and the XC90 T6 can reach 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. It’s also rated at 20 mpg city and 25 mpg on the highway.
If you want more power, there’s the XC90 T8 that still keeps the same 2.0L engine, but gets two electric motors to give the SUV “V8-like” performance. The plug-in hybrid system generates a total 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft. of torque with the four-cylinder and one electric motor powering the front wheels and a second electric motor powering the rear wheels. The best part is that the T8 model can also travel up to 17 miles in electric mode and has a 59 MPGe rating. The XC90 T8 is also faster than the XC90 T6 with a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds.
How does it drive? Spending an afternoon with the XC90 in Southern California, the XC90 was a comfortable large SUV. For some reason it finally decided to rain in Southern California, which not only helped with the infamous drought, but also gave us a chance to fully check out the XC90’s capabilities. With the optional air suspension, the XC90 successfully hid most of the road’s imperfections. The XC90 places more emphasis on comfortable cruising than sport, even with the Sport mode switched on.
Inside the interior continues the comfortable theme with a quiet space that gives you the ability to fully appreciate the Bowers & Wilkins audio system. You’ll notice that there are seven seats and Volvo worked hard to make sure that there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The front two rows are very cushy, while the third-row rear seat is meant more for kids, just like almost every other model in the luxury SUV segment.
Although it seems like it took forever for Volvo to build a new XC90, it’s a successful redo. The good news is that the XC90 is a preview of what we can expect from the rest of the revamped Volvo lineup.
Pricing for the XC90 T6 starts at $48,900 for the base Momentum model and the R-Design model starts at $52,900, while the top Inscription model starts at $54,500. Stepping up to the XC90 T8 starts at $68,100, while the T8 R-Design starts at $70,000 and the Inscription model is priced at $71,600.