All-new from nose to tail, the 2016 Volvo XC90 blends sturdy construction, a new lineup of high-efficiency 4-cylinder engines, luxurious cabin trim, the latest infotainment technology and carlike driving manners in a package with highly attractive design. It can be configured as a 5-, 6- or 7-passenger, with 85.7 cu ft. of cargo space behind the front seats and 15.8 cu ft. aft of the third-row.
A comprehensive array of standard systems are onboard including 10 airbags, Collision Avoidance with City Safety automatic braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-departure warning, road sign information, Volvo On-Call and Run-off Road Protection.
What We Like
Premium cabin materials; large infotainment screen; topnotch audio system; attractive exterior design; top-rated crash scores; comfortable front seats; integrated child seat
What We Don’t
Some turbo lag; third-row access tight; undistinguished handling
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2016 XC90 T5 model is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder producing 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s teamed with a Geartronic 8-speed automatic transmission and configured with front- or all-wheel drive. The FWD version is EPA-rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. AWD models net a 22 mpg city/25 mpg hwy rating.
The T6 model features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with both turbocharging and supercharging. It is rated at 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Also hooked to an 8-speed Geartronic automatic, but equipped exclusively with on-demand AWD, the T6 model earns a 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy EPA rating.
Both the T5 and T6 engines require premium unleaded fuel and use a stop/start system that automatically shuts off the engine at stoplights.
The T8 is a plug-in gas-electric hybrid that blends the power of the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with a 6.5-kW electric motor driving the rear wheels for a total system output of 400 hp. The AWD XC90 T8 nets a 25 mpg EPA estimate in combined driving or 53 MPGe the first 100 miles on a full battery charge. The fully charged T8 can travel up to 25 miles solely on electric power.
Standard Features & Options
The Volvo XC90 is available in base Momentum, sporty R-Design and premium Inscription trims.
Momentum standard equipment includes Sensus navigation with a 9-in touchscreen, a panoramic sunroof, FWD, 18-in alloy wheels, faux-leather seat trim, power front seats with adjustable lumbar and driver memory, aluminum interior trim, LED headlamps and fog lamps, automatic high beams, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, a split fold-flat second-row seat, a backup camera, rear park assist, a hands-free power liftgate, a 10-speaker AM/FM stereo with SiriusXM, privacy glass, aluminum roof rails and a cargo cover. AWD is optional on the Momentum. T6 versions of the Momentum also have a third-row seat, heated front seats, 4-zone automatic climate control, leather seats and 19-in alloy wheels.
The R-Design trim nets 20-in alloys, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Active bending headlamps, Nubeck and Nappa leather seats, a front spoiler, aluminum pedals, a black headliner and a sport steering wheel with shift paddles.
The Inscription brings a folding third-row seat, Nappa leather seat trim, heated front seats, 4-zone automatic climate control, wood trim and a host of other upgrades.
Key options include a 1400-watt 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkens audio system, a second-row integrated child seat, 4-corner air suspension, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic assist, a 360-degree surround-view monitor, massaging front seats and semi-autonomous Pilot Assist active cruise control.
The XC90 has topped Volvo’s sales charts for years, so there is a good supply of used examples available. You’ll generally pay more for 7-passenger and AWD models.
For a good idea of the 2016 XC90’s price range, investigate the Kelley Blue Book used-car values at KBB.com. Also, search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following safety recalls for the 2016 XC90:
The front passenger seat belt buckle may separate from its bracket, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.
The A/C drain hose may leak condensation into the passenger compartment, affecting airbag deployment.
The sunroof may close fully if the overhead console switch is unintentionally pressed, creating a pinch hazard.
The third-row overhead airbags may get snagged on trim and not fully inflate in a crash.
Damaged front seat side airbag wiring may disable the airbag.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2016 XC90 a 5-star rating overall, plus five stars in frontal and side impacts. AWD models got four stars for rollover performance, FWD versions were not rated.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2016 XC90 a Top Safety Pick+, with Good ratings for small- and moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seats.
Volvo sold the 2016 XC90 with a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties and 4 years/unlimited-distance of roadside assistance.
Volvo certified pre-owned vehicles must be less than 5 years old and have no more than 80,000 miles on the odometer. Every certified pre-owned XC90 undergoes a 170-point inspection. Those that pass receive a fully transferable, no-deductible 7-year/unlimited-mile limited warranty dating from when the vehicle was first sold.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Acura MDX — All-new for 2014, the 2016 MDX continues to offer a peppy 290-hp 3.5-liter V6, now teamed with a 9-speed automatic and a choice of FWD or AWD. Third-row seating is on the small side. The MDX is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.
2016 Buick Enclave — Buick’s flagship SUV has one of the roomiest third-row seats and offers a sliding second-row as well. Available with FWD or AWD, the Enclave is powered by a 288-hp 3.6-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic. OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi is standard for 2016.
The "base" Momentum in either FWD or AWD comes with a long list of standard amenities and safety features, delivering a lot of bang for the buck. There’s plenty of room inside and even an available third-row seat although getting there is a tight squeeze. The 250-hp T5 turbo offers more than ample power for most needs. Most used examples have AWD, unnecessary for most drivers but a boon for winter driving. And it will also add resale value. A wise choice is a certified pre-owned XC90, but also consider lower-mileage examples that have been cared for. Check that the XC90 you are considering has had all applicable safety recalls performed by the factory-authorized dealer.