Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2018 Volvo XC90 OVERVIEW
Some SUVs are meant to be rugged, others focus on having the most interior space. The Volvo XC90, on the other hand, puts style and safety first, and does both incredibly well. Last year’s XC90 earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award, while this year’s model is fitted with safety features that put other SUVs to shame. The XC90 is also one of the few three-row SUVs that’s available as a plug-in hybrid model.
What's New for 2018
Various changes have been made to the XC90 for 2018. There are new Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription trim levels for the T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain, which now features an updated battery pack that bumps the SUV’s range up by five miles, for a total of 19 miles per charge. The three other available powertrains on the XC90 have received better ratings from the EPA, as well.
The SUV gets some new standard features, including blind-spot monitoring, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and adaptive cruise control. Lastly, three new colors replace three paint schemes that are no longer offered.
Choosing Your XC90
The easiest way to a pick your XC90 is to narrow the SUV down by performance. The T5 trims feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The next step up is T6's 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder, which generates 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Both of the gas engines are matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The T8 trims have the same twincharged engine as the T6 trims, but also come with an electric motor that’s good for 87 hp. Combined output for T8 trims is 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque.
The most efficient T5 returns 22 miles per gallon city, 29 highway, and 25 combined, while the more powerful T6 and its standard all-wheel-drive system drops those numbers to 20 city, 27 highway, and 23 combined. The T8, meanwhile, can cover 19 miles on a full charge en route to 62 mpge. Once the battery is drained, the plug-in hybrid XC90 can still net 27 mpg combined.
The XC90 offers an extensive array of standard and optional safety equipment. From its headlining Pilot Assist system, which is one of the most advanced semi-autonomous driving aids on the market, to more traditional active safety features like blind-spot monitoring and automatic high beams, if you want the safest vehicle possible, the XC90 should be able to accommodate you.
The XC90 comes in 12 different trims, which are broken down by their powertrains.
Standalone optional extras and their prices are largely unchanged from trim to trim. For example, the Bowers and Wilkins audio system is a $3,200 upgrade across the board, while a heated steering wheel demands $300 regardless of powertrain. Other standalone features include an $1,800 four-corner air suspension (T6 and T8 only), a $900 head-up display, and metallic paint ($595).
The XC90 is a handsome SUV right out of the gate, which has us shying away from the R-Design lineup and into the entry-level Momentum trims. The T6 powertrain offers a good balance of performance and fuel economy and keeps the price down to a reasonable level. The Convenience Package is worth the price of admission, while heated rear seats ($425), a heated steering wheel ($300), and a Graphical Head-up Display ($900) are standalone options that are worth looking into.