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2019 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription Review by David Colman


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2019 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD

SEE ALSO: 2019 Volvo XC90 News, Features, Parts, Accessories and Opinion

A Well Orchestrated Masterpiece That Will Continue To Delight

By David Colman
Special Correspondent to The Auto Channel


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2019 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD
Can you find a sleeker looking SUV than this Volvo? From outside, the body design is flawless, with flowing character lines, subtle wheel arches and minimal chrome. Inside, the choice of materials and textures is understated but elegant, stylish not lavish. In other words, Volvo's top line SUV is a well orchestrated masterpiece that will continue to delight you long after it is new. Here are some of the more notable attributes we observed during our test of the XC90. Thor's Hammer daytime front running lights illuminate spectacularly in bright orange whenever you press the keyfob remote. Enormous Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires (275/40R21) mounted on super size (21in), $800 optional "5 V-Spoke Alloy Wheels" generate excellent lateral grip despite their hard treadwear rating (TW 600). Copious Linear Walnut Wood Inlays (the most visible attribute of the pricey $6,050 Inscription Package) seem to cover every surface in the cockpit. This matte finished wood lends the cabin an air of subdued professorial dignity. Elegantly tailored front armchairs, which look supremely inviting, are adjustable not only for backrest rake, but also side support, under-thigh cushion extension, and lumbar firmness. The clean sweep dashboard looks like it was molded from a single slab of walnut and charcoal Nappa leather.

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2019 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD
That dash was so bereft of ornamentation, however, that it was initially impossible to determine whether it actually contained a glovebox. We eventually discovered a button, rather distantly removed from the glovebox itself, that drops the door to this invisible storage area. In this same manner, Volvo engineers seem to delight in playing a game of "Seek and Go Hide" with their customers. The glovebox release is but a minor annoyance compared to the baffling 9" Integrated Sensus Connect Touchscreen which dominates the center of the dashboard. This computer interface, which is manipulated by a variety of swipes and pushes, controls virtually every aspect of the XC90's behavior. In order to accomplish even the most trivial tasks, you need to divert your attention from the road to 1) look at the Sensus screen, 2) determine where on the screen you need to place your finger, 3)make the correct gesture with your hand as the Volvo bounces along, and 4)hope you made the appropriate selection so you don't have to repeat this demanding routine a second time. Although Volvo has rightfully long fancied itself a leader in automotive safety, the attention diverting operation of the XC90's Sensus system represents a decisive step backwards over the convenience of knobs and buttons.

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2019 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD
The XC90 is otherwise delightful to drive. With its 2.0 liter engine cranking out 316hp and 295lb.-ft. of torque, the XC is no slug in a straight line. You can attribute its liveliness to the fact that you have 8 transmission speeds to help you maximize thrust, plus a turbocharger and a supercharger to extract maximum torque at just 2200rpm, and maximum horsepower at 5700rpm. The only thing missing here were paddle shifts, which would have been easier to operate than manual movements of the stubby stick shift. In any passing situation, the XC90 moves out smartly and is tow rated at 5000lbs. The 21 inch tall Pirellis grab hold of the pavement securely, although their tall stance dictates that you will find yourself a step short of the ground when you climb out of the cab.

Although the base price for this Volvo is a reasonable $55,700, the long list of options brought the final tally to $70,940. Chief among them was the Inscription Package, which bumped list by $6,050. This seemed rather exorbitant for the aforementioned front seat enhancements, chrome front grill, linear walnut inlay (which is also listed as a standard inclusion), illuminated door handles, dual integrated exhaust pipes with body colored insert, rear manual side curtains, "Inscription" badges, and a "Nappa Leather Key Fob." The "Advanced Package," at just $2,500, seemed like better value since it added the "Park Assist Pilot" for front and rear docking coverage, plus those LED "Thor's Hammer" headlights here enhanced with active bending lights, a 360 surround view camera, and a graphical head up display.

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2019 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD
The XC90 presents a strong case for Swedish Modern design. Its shape is cleaner lined than anything you can find at IKEA. Its cockpit is more harmonious than ABBA. If you can manage to adapt to the shortcomings of the Sensus Connect panel, this big Volvo SUV offers loads of storage space (35 cubic feet), excellent performance characteristics, and reasonable mileage for an affordable base price.

2019 VOLVO XC90 T6 AWD INSCRIPTION

    ENGINE: 2.0 liter inline 4, turbocharged and supercharged, direct injection
    HORSEPOWER: 316 @5700rpm
    TORQUE: 295lb.-ft.@2200rpm
    FUEL CONSUMPTION: 19MPG City/26MPG Highway
    PRICE AS TESTED: $70,940

HYPES: Stunning Looks Inside and Out

GRIPES: Sensus Connect Distracting

STAR RATING: 8 Stars out of 10