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2017 Volvo XC90: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader December 2016

The 2017 Volvo XC90 is a midsize luxury SUV with up to three rows of seating. This is the second year of the second generation. Its design is simple yet elegant and looks as if it will wear the years well. It also camouflages the fact that this one of the most spacious vehicles in its class. An equal amount of thought and ingenuity can also be found in the cabin.

What's New for 2017?

The T8 plug-in hybrid drivetrain no longer comes in the entry-level Momentum trim, but it's now available in a new Excellence trim level at the top of the range. Some of the electronic driver aids have been updated, and more apps have become available for the infotainment system.

What We Like

Handsome exterior design; thoughtful interior design; top-notch safety equipment.

What We Don't

Stop/start engine feature a little too intrusive; smallest engine not the best choice.

How Much?

$46,745 to $105,895

Fuel Economy

The engine in T5 models is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit turbocharged to produce 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission that sends drive to the front wheels by default. All-wheel drive is optional.

The Environmental Protection agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption in front-drive form at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving. With all-wheel drive, the numbers are 22 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.

The T6 has the same transmission, but all-wheel drive comes standard. It also uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, but this one is turbocharged and supercharged. The result is 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Despite that extra power, fuel consumption is pretty good, at 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

Add the engine and all-wheel-drive setup of the T6 to an electric motor to make the T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid version. The whole system develops 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. The EPA states an all-electric range of 14 miles and an average miles per gallon equivalent of 53 MPGe. In standard hybrid mode, combined consumption is 25 mpg. Charging the lithium-ion battery pack from a 240-volt outlet takes 2.5 hours; using a 120-volt outlet takes almost three times as long.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Volvo XC90 comes in T5, T6 and T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid versions. The T5 accommodates five occupants, the T6 and T8 can take seven -- except for the super-luxurious T8 Excellence trim level, which seats four.

The T5 comes in Momentum and R-Design trims. The T6 is available in Momentum, Inscription or R-Design. And the T8 comes in Inscription, R-Design or Excellence trims.

The T5 Momentum ($46,745) comes well equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 8-way power-adjustable front seats with driver's-side memory settings, a hands-free lift gate, roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, drive mode selection, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, navigation, keyless entry/ignition, Bluetooth phone and audio, a 9-inch touchscreen (set vertically), and a 10-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary input. A suite of advanced protection features (see the Safety section below) are also part of the stock package.

The T5 R-Design ($52,145) brings a sportier steering wheel with gearshift paddles, plus 20-in alloys, sport seats, leather upholstery, automatic high beams, Apple CarPlay and various cosmetic touches.

The T6 Momentum ($53,245) adds 19-in wheels, heated front seats, leather upholstery and quad-zone automatic climate control.

The T6 Inscription ($57,245) has even nicer leather upholstery to accompany its own set of plusher cosmetic additions. Comfort comes even more to the fore, with heated/ventilated front seats providing adjustable bolstering, and sunshades in the rear section of the cabin.

The T6 R-Design ($58,045) and T8 R-Design ($68,795) bring their own drivetrains.

The T8 Inscription ($69,595) contributes its own drivetrain, plus LED adaptive headlights and daytime running lights, a crystal gearshift knob and extendable under-thigh support for the front seats.

The T8 Excellence ($105,895) is limo quality. Virtually everything is standard, including all the advanced safety features and 21-in alloy wheels. Rear accommodation consists of two reclining captain's chairs with heating, ventilating and massaging functions, folding trays, heated/cooled cup holders (with a pair of crystal glasses), a rear touchscreen, a refrigerator, more leather and more sound insulation.

Among the many options are a built-in children's booster seat (for the second row), a head-up display, an adaptive air suspension, 22-in wheels, automated parking and a Bowers & Wilkins 19-speaker audio system. The Climate package entails heating for the steering wheel, windshield (not available with the head-up display), windshield washer nozzles and the first two rows of seats.


Those versions with seating for seven have a third row that can split and fold in 50/50 fashion. Behind these seats is a generous 15.8 cu ft. of cargo space. Fold down the second and third rows for a maximum of 85.7 cu ft. No rivals can offer anything better.

Safety

If Volvo had a middle name, it would be Safety. As well as the mandatory anti-lock brakes, airbags and traction control, the XC90 comes standard with a forward-collision system featuring automatic braking and detection of pedestrians and cyclists.

Run-Off Road Protection is also standard. Should the XC90 suddenly leave the pavement, the system tightens the seat belts and uses shock-absorbing seat cushions to reduce the risk of spinal injuries. This is also standard equipment. The 2017 model year sees the option of Pilot Assist II, a semi-autonomous function that works up to 80 mph, plus a self-steering feature to help prevent any veering off the pavement in the first place.

Optional safety gear includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure intervention and a 360-degree camera system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the XC90 five out of five stars overall. In front and side impacts, the XC90 also earned five stars; it took four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has made it a Top Safety Pick Plus after awarding the vehicle its highest score of Good in all the major categories.

Behind the Wheel

Inside the tranquil cabin are cool surfaces of aluminum trim and matte-finish wood accents. Even with three rows of seating, there's still plenty of passenger space. The seats themselves are typically sumptuous and typically Volvo, some of the most comfortable in the business. And the controls are all laid out in a tidy manner; Volvo doesn't go in for clutter.

The handling is similarly tidy, with stability and composure shining through, even when tackling corners. But here's the usual piece of advice about not going for a big-wheel/lower-profile-tire combination: Comfort levels will be far better with smaller wheels and more forgiving tire sidewalls.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Acura MDX -- One of the few premium rivals that can also seat seven. Refreshed for 2017.

2017 Audi Q7 -- Another completely renewed SUV. This time around, the Q7 is a little more elegant and comes packed with technology.

2017 BMW X5 -- The driver's choice, but not too firm. Comes with diesel and plug-in hybrid options.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class -- A change of name and a redesign updates the former M-Class. Like the X5, diesel and plug-in hybrid options are also offered.

2017 Lexus RX -- Well built and a big seller. The looks might deter some buyers. The unremarkable driving experience might put off others. A hybrid version is available.

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport -- Has much of its bigger sibling's plushness in a more accessible package.

Autotrader's Advice

The T5 seems somewhat underpowered for such a large vehicle. Better to go for the T6, since there isn't much of a penalty at the fuel pump, and even the entry-level Momentum trim is well-stocked. Do try to include as many optional safety features as your budget allows.

Find a Volvo XC90 for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2016 Volvo XC90 AWD T6 R-Design
Used 2016 Volvo XC90
$42,997
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Volvo XC90 AWD T5 Momentum
Used 2016 Volvo XC90
$35,495
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Volvo XC90 AWD T6 Momentum
Used 2016 Volvo XC90
$36,988
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Volvo XC90: New Car Review - Autotrader