After sitting out the 2015 model year, Volvo's flagship crossover returns with cleaner styling and renewed emphasis on interior luxury. Most significant is an efficient new four-cylinder engine that's more than capable of motivating the XC90 and a load of passengers.
What's New for 2016
The XC90 has been completely redesigned.
Choosing Your Volvo XC90
The previous XC90 had been on sale for more than a decade, so the new model brings major improvements in most areas. While it still looks exactly like a Volvo should, the big crossover is now pleasantly modern, with crisp and assertive styling that lends a premium air to the whole package.
Like all crossovers of this size, the XC90 seats seven passengers, and there's more room than before in the second and third rows. All seats carry shock-absorbing cushions to enhance occupant protection. Cargo space has increased as well, maxing out at 86 cubic feet.
The use of a 2-liter four-cylinder engine in a full-size luxury crossover will certainly raise some eyebrows -- that is, until you look at its output. Thanks to turbocharging and supercharging, the engine produces 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. According to Volvo, going from zero to 60 mph takes 6.6 seconds, which is actually faster than some V6 crossovers of similar size.
Every XC90 gets an eight-speed automatic transmission, selectable driving modes and all-wheel drive.
Along with the new design comes some novel trim levels: the base Momentum, sport-flavored R-Design and high-lux Inscription.
All models are eligible for a handful of option packages:
The Convenience package adds a bevy of safety technology, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, an automatic parking system and front parking sensors. A power-folding third row and grocery bag holder are also part of the deal.
There's also a Vision package featuring power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors, a surround-view camera system, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The Climate package adds heat functions to the second-row seats, steering wheel, windshield and washer nozzles. A head-up display can be added to the package at additional cost.
Volvo also provides a number of individual options, including an adaptive air suspension, a power-folding third row and a 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
When equipped with the Plus package, the Momentum provides the best overall value in the line. Whether to upgrade to beyond that -- $4,000 extra for an R-Design or $5,600 for an Inscription -- boils down to how expressive you want your XC90 to look and feel.