2021 XC90 New Car Test Drive
The 2020 Volvo XC90 is a stylish standout among three-row luxury SUVs. It has a good looks, a handsome and practical interior, a supple ride, and impressive technology and safety. Its base T5 engine, which is fine in Volvo's smaller SUVs, is short on horsepower to carry the heavier weight of the XC90; however there is a T6 version with plenty of horsepower.
For 2020, the middle of its life cycle, the XC90 gets some changes, inside and out. It gets a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, Android Auto capability, the availability of second-row captains' chairs, and a new system to prevent the vehicle from drifting into opposing traffic. The plug-in hybrid model gets more battery power that increases its electric range to 19 miles.
The exterior changes are barely noticeable. Distinctive LED headlights and sharp wheel designs make the XC90 look even more upscale than it is.
Base models get the turbo-4 T5 with 250 horsepower and front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available. The T6 adds a supercharger to the turbocharger, and makes 316 horsepower. There's also a T8 plug-in hybrid model with two electric motors, making a combined 400 hp.
The third row is actually adult-sized, without stealing from cargo space, giving the XC90 an edge over rivals. The high roof means good head room. The cabin offers some luxury touches such as open-pore wood and a crystal shifter on the hybrid.
The front-wheel-drive T5 manages 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 25 combined; with all-wheel drive it gets 20/27/23 mpg. The more powerful T6 gets 18/26/21 mpg, while the T8 plug-in hybrid gets 27 mpg combined, but that's not using the battery. Combined with its electric range, it gets a 55 MPGe (mpg-equivalent) rating.
The NHTSA gives the XC90 five stars overall for safety, with four stars for the rollover rating, typical for taller SUVs. The independent IIHS gave the 2019 XC90 its top 'Good'? scores for every crash test, while the standard headlights were considered 'Acceptable.'? It received a Top Safety Pick award.
The 2020 XC90 includes standard automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, road sign recognition, and rear collision mitigation. There's an optional Pilot Assist system that can take over steering, accelerating, and braking.
The models are Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. Any one of the powertrains is available with each model.
The T5 Momentum starts at $49,345 including destination, while the T6 version costs $57,295. Standard equipment includes synthetic leather upholstery, a power tailgate, four-zone automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and now Android Auto, and 18-inch wheels.
The R-Design costs $57,095 and comes with black leather and aluminum trim in the cabin, and sporty trim and wheels on the outside.
The Inscription costs $63,595 and comes with perforated leather and open-pore wood. Options include heated and cooled front seats with massage, and a Bowers & Wilkins or Harman Kardon system (the Bowers & Wilkins system steals the show).
The plug-in hybrid T8 model starts at $67,995 in Momentum trim, but it also comes as R-Design or Inscription.
Volvo's warranty covers the XC90 for 4 years or 50,000 miles.