2018 XC90 New Car Test Drive
The Volvo XC90 is a superb luxury sport-utility, and this second-generation model launched for the 2015 model year, is a major competitor in the premium crossover class thanks to high-level technology and sharp styling.
Little has changed for the 2018 model year, except for making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. Four trim levels are offered: Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and Excellence. The XC90 may be fitted with any of three turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, including a plug-in hybrid.
The base T5 engine produces 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. In T6 models, a supercharger is added to the turbo configuration, resulting in output of 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet.
In the T8 plug-in hybrid, a 10.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric motors team with the T6 gasoline engine, yielding 400-horsepower total system output. Not only is the T8 the most fuel-efficient version, it's the swiftest.
Each engine mates with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. Base T5 versions come with standard front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is standard on T6 and T8 editions, but optional for the T5.
Two- and three-row seating configurations are available. Rear occupants in the T8 Excellence get individual seats separated by a long console.
As expected from a brand long known for emphasis on safety, the XC90 has an impressive list of standard advanced safety features. Systems include blind-spot monitoring, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, road sign recognition, and rear collision mitigation. A rearview camera also is standard.
Each XC90 includes Pilot Assist II. This semi-autonomous system can operate the vehicle, steering lightly and braking, with no input from the driver beyond holding the steering wheel.
Crash-test scores have been superlative. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the XC90 five-star ratings overall and for both frontal and side impact. It earned a four-star score (typical of tall crossovers) for rollover protection, which is a calculated figure.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it Good ratings for side-impact crashes, as well as both small and moderate frontal overlap incidents. Frontal crash protection was deemed Superior, if an appropriate option is installed, but headlights were rated Marginal.
T5 Momentum ($46,900) has front-wheel drive and includes a power tailgate, four-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, and 18-inch wheels. A vertically-oriented 9.0-inch touchscreen includes navigation. Five- and seven-passenger cabins are offered.
T5 AWD Momentum ($49,100) includes all-wheel drive. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
T5 R-Design ($51,900) has a sportier look, including 20-inch wheels, a blacked-out grille, and heated front seats. Volvo offers five- and seven-passenger versions. T5 AWD R-Design ($54,100) substitutes all-wheel drive.
T6 AWD 7-Passenger Momentum ($54,350) comes with the supercharged/turbo engine, standard all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, and three-row seating. T6 AWD 7-Passenger R-Design ($57,950) is equipped similar to T5 R-Design, but with T6 engine. T6 AWD 7-Passenger Inscription ($59,450) adds a digital instrument cluster, wood interior surfaces, upgraded audio, Nappa leather upholstery, all-wheel drive, and active noise cancellation.
T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid 7-Passenger Momentum ($64,950) is equipped similar to regular Momentum, with plug-in hybrid powertrain. T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid 7-Passenger R-Design ($68,500) is equipped similar to regular R-Design. T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid 7-Passenger Inscription ($70,050) is equipped similar to T6 Inscription. T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid Excellence ($104,900) includes an air suspension, 21-inch wheels, premium Bowers & Wilkins audio, heated/ventilated four-passenger seating, massaging function, a beverage cooler, crystal gearshift, head-up display, and panoramic moonroof.