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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2018 Volvo XC90
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Expert's Rating

4.0Excellent | Details

MPG

21 City / 28 Highway
Automotive Editor -

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.

Ford Edge

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).

Momentum

The T5 Momentum starts at $47,895 (including $995 destination charge) for a front-wheel-drive variant with the T5. All-wheel-drive is a $2,200 option. The more powerful twin-charged 2.0-liter engine in the T6 Momentum starts at $55,045 while getting a base XC90 with the plug-in hybrid powertrain requires $65,495.

Standard exterior features on the T5 Momentum includes, LED headlights, a panoramic moonroof, 18-inch five-spoke silver alloy wheels, and a power-operated tailgate. On the inside, the SUV comes with four-zone climate control, 10-way power front seats with four-way power adjustable lumbar support, power folding rear headrests, and an eight-inch driver display. The T6 gets 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery in place of the T5's leatherette, heated front seats, a third row of seats, four-zone climate control, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. T8-specific equipment for the base trim includes all that plus a crystal gear shifter from Swedish glassmaker Orrefors.

Available packages on the Momentum includes the Convenience Package ($1,950) that adds a 360-degree Surround View Camera, heated windshield washer nozzles, a compass, a 12-volt power outlet, park assist pilot with front park assist, Homelink, and a grocery bag holder. The Momentum Plus Package ($1,250, or $1,050 on the T6 and T8, likely thanks to their additional standard features) includes active bending lights, illuminated sill plates, Dark Flame Birch Wood inlays, high-pressure headlight cleaning, and a 12.3-inch driver display. The Momentum Plus is, unsurprisingly, only available on the Momentum trim.

R-Design

The R-Design trims start at $53,295 for the front-wheel-drive model and $55,495 for the all-wheel-drive variant. The T6 R-Design demands $59,045 and the T8 R-Design rings up at $69,945.

The R-Design trims have a sportier look with dual integrated tailpipes, aluminum roof rails, 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, an R-Design grille, Glossy Black Stripe rear bumper, and color-coordinated sills and bumpers.

As far as interior features go, the R-Design trims differentiate themselves from the Momentum trims with an R-Design three-spoke steering wheel, perforated gearshift knob, pedals, and carpet, a black headliner, sport seats, and black Nubuck and Nappa Leather.

The T5 R-Design adds a number of features available on the T6 and T8 Momentum – the most notable is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, although you'll also score active bending lights and headlight washers.

Inscription

The XC90 Inscription trim adds a variety of luxurious touches over the other two trims – it also marks the end of the T5 trim, which is not longer available at this price point. The T6 Inscription starts at $60,145 while the T8 Inscription requires $71,045.

This trim comes with an Inscription-specific grille, color-coordinated sills and bumpers, rear exterior trim, and 20-inch 10-spoke wheels on the outside. The interior of the SUV features Linear Walnut Wood inlays, perforated front seats, Nappa leather upholstery, a blond headliner, more premium carpet, heated front seats, and a leather steering wheel. The seats are heated and ventilated at this price point.

The Inscription is the only trim to offer the $3,150 Luxury Package, which introduces a massage function for the front seats, heated outboard rear seats, and leather-wrapped visors with a Nubuck A-, B-, and C-pillars.

Excellence

The range-topping Excellence trim is only available with the plug-in hybrid powertrain and is also the most expensive XC90, at $105,895.

As the priciest model, the T8 Excellence adds even more luxury features over the Inscription. For a start, it's a two-plus-two, ditching the third row and adding a fixed center console in the second row with a 4.3-inch touchscreen control system and dedicated foot rests. That console has two dedicated USB outlets, not to mention the two Orrefors crystal glasses and their associated holsters. Naturally, there's also a refrigerator.

The trim features 21-inch eight-spoke alloy wheels, massaging front and rear seats, front and rear seats with high-spec ventilation, perforated Nappa leather upholstery, a subwoofer, the Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system, and a heated steering wheel. The head-up display and air suspension from lesser trims are standard on the Excellence.

Unsurprisingly, there are no available packages for the T8 Excellence trim.

CarsDirect Tip

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.

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