2017 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 7-Passenger By Larry Nutson +VIDEO
The Most Awarded SUV Of The Century
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Globally, the 2017 Volvo XC90 has won more than 70 awards since being launched in July 2015. Here in the U.S. it’s received numerous awards including being named the 2016 North American Truck of the Year and the Motor Trend 2016 SUV of the Year.
On a more local basis for me, last February at the Chicago Auto Show the Volvo XC90 was named the 2016 Family Vehicle of the Year by the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), of which I am a voting member.
The reality is, there are no bad cars today. Having one that rises to the top certainly makes an automaker’s life a lot easier. And, it assuredly helps give a new car buyer confidence in narrowing the choices within the segment they are shopping.
Year-to-date, Volvo sales in the U.S. are up nearly 21% and the XC90 is proving so popular that they’re hard to come by. SUVs continue to dominant each month’s new vehicle sales reports. In the luxury SUV segment the innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar all make the XC90 a top choice.
Back about a year ago when I was voting for the MAMA Family Vehicle I mentioned above, my colleagues and I were tasked with driving and evaluating a myriad of new vehicles. We cycle through many vehicles striving to give each a fair and complete evaluation.
I’m was pleased to again have the chance to drive the XC90, this time the 2017 XC90 T6 AWD Inscription model. With a week’s time on the calendar I could reacquaint myself with this gem of an SUV.
The XC90 comes in T5, T6, T8 and Excellence models with base prices ranging from $45,750 to $104,900. The T5 is a five-seater and can be had in FWD or AWD configurations with power coming from a 250HP 2.0-L turbo 4-cylinder, you can find specs for all 2017 Volvo XC90 trim levels below this review.o.
The T6 is a 7-seater, available only in AWD and is powered by a 316 HP 2.0-L supercharged and turbocharged 4-cyinder. The 7-seat T8 and Excellence are both plug-in hybrids with a 313 HP 2.0-L driving the front wheels and an electric motor driving the rear for a total of 400 system horsepower. Depending on model there are Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription packages available to add on more features and equipment.
The XC90 T6 Inscription media-loan test car I drove was quite loaded having been also equipped with a number of packages and options pushing the total up to $72,805. With room for seven the XC90 has tons of style and sophistication and oozes luxury. It’s important to me to like a vehicles design from the outside but since we spend all our time on the inside that’s really where it counts. The XC90’s cabin is particularly elegant and the huge Sensus touch screen really keeps things clean and uncluttered instead of having rows and rows of buttons and switches.
The elegant combination of a black exterior and tan interior of my test vehicle was right up my alley. It’s one of my favorite combinations. The Scandinavian design is evident with the simplicity, minimalism and functionality of a Volvo.
The all-new Volvo XC90 has earned a spot among the 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors awards, which recognizes new or significantly improved passenger vehicle interiors.
Rather than a push button for the engine, the XC90 has a knob on the center console that is rotated for start and stop. There’s a knob for audio volume and all other controls are from the 9-inch Sensus center screen. This iPad-like command center for the XC90 takes a bit to get used to. It was recommended that I just sit, stopped in a parking lot and play with it to become familiar with all the menus and functions. Within a short time I was swiping left and right and up and down.
If you’re an audiophile the optional Bowers and Wilkins audio system is a must have. I just sat parked and scrolled through various music genres much to my enjoyment.
Most of my driving was just me alone or occasionally with my wife. The 316 HP engine combined with the eight-speed automatic was smooth and capable. Acceleration, highway merging and passing proved to be no challenge. Volvo says zero to 60 mph can be done in 6.6 seconds. More heavily loaded or in hilly terrain could be different. It’s rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, and overall the powertrain is highly refined.
EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are 22 mpg combined, with 20 city mpg and 25 highway mpg. The 18.8 gallon fuel tank should get you a good long 470 mile highway run.
I tried out the second row and thought it quite spacious. I’d leave the third row for the younger and more limber. The rear cargo area is roomy and easily accessible and the XC90’s optional air suspension has a height adjustment to lower the rear for easier cargo loading.
For 2017 Volvo XC90 received updates to its driver assistance system and more apps for its infotainment system, plus the addition of the new Excellence trim level at the top.
Volvo continues its long-running reputation for safety and the XC90 has earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The XC90 is loaded with driver-assistance safety features including technology that will avoid a collision and bring the vehicle to a stop. This Volvo will even park itself with the Park Assist technology. I’ve been surprised at how well Volvo’s lane keep assist maintains the center of the lane, even through long and gentle highway curves, and the radar cruise control is quite smooth.
Volvo just announced a new program to help make your life a little bit simpler. If you are not a fan of going to the gasoline station, the car wash or taking your car in for service a new concierge services will become an integrated part of the Volvo On Call mobile platform. Volvo is announcing the roll-out of a pilot program in San Francisco, targeting Volvo owners driving the new XC90 SUV and S90 luxury sedan.
The Volvo owners participating in the pilot can use the pilot app to identify concierge services available in the immediate vicinity and order them via their smartphone. Requests are then sent to an authorized Volvo service provider, who will refuel the vehicle, perform scheduled maintenance, or whatever additional service the owner has requested.
My wife would love this.
Visit www.volvocars.com/us for more information and specifications on the XC90 Look here at TheAutoChannel.com for comparative information on other luxury SUVs.
A neighbor in my parking garage has a new XC90 that she said they got because it offers three-rows of seating for the children while also being not too cumbersome for big-city living.
© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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