By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 9.3
After launching one of the most ambitious design overhauls in modern memory, Volvo’s XC90 crossover SUV for 2017 utterly validates the Swedish automaker’s efforts. The 7-passenger XC90 breaks new ground on a number of fronts, the most obvious being under its hood where 4-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged Drive-E engines replace what is traditionally the job of a V6 or V8. All-wheel drive is available on the T5 and standard on the T6, while the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid is enhanced by a rear electric motor replacing the traditional mechanical setup. Taking direct aim at the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and Acura MDX, the XC90 offers a fresh design, more intriguing interior toys and a revolutionary drivetrain marking a new beginning in Volvo engineering.
Those in the market for an exceptionally safe 7-passenger luxury SUV that truly stands apart from the crowd will find it in the 2017 Volvo XC90. From its massive Tesla-inspired center display to its available business-class executive rear seating, the XC90 is like no other in this segment.
KBB Expert Ratings
Volvo’s 2017 XC90 SUV drops the Inscription trim from the T5 but adds an 8-inch driver’s display, LED headlights and, on R-Design trims and higher, Apple CarPlay. The T8 gains a new Excellence trim bringing heated and ventilated massaging rear seats, a built-in refrigerator and 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio.
Volvo’s 2017 XC90 luxury-crossover SUV moves both the segment and the company into uncharted territory. Marrying a new double-wishbone-front/multilink-rear suspension to the SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) creates a lightweight yet...
... strong vehicle that is exceptionally well mannered in the curves. At cruising speeds the cabin is devoid of road noise, although wind noise around the glass is noticeable. The XC90’s ride is somewhat on the firm side, but those seeking a more luxurious feel can opt for the available air suspension that features auto-leveling and automatic ride-height adjustment. Volvo’s multi-position Drive Mode selector permits the driver to optimize settings for Economy, Comfort and Performance. The big center-console touch screen uses infrared technology that improves response and is impressively quick. The T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid features the same 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged gasoline engine mated to an electric motor that can run up to 25 miles solely on electric power.
SENSUS TOUCH CONTROL INTERFACE
The XC90’s central control panel is a 9-inch high-definition infrared touch screen with tablet-style controls. The Sensus interface sets a new bar for controlling infotainment, navigation and climate controls, and its long body limits the need for constant scrolling in order to view screens or options.
It’s a word sometimes overused by luxury manufacturers, but in this case it’s spot-on. The T8 Excellence trim includes rear seating for two, with heated and ventilated massaging seats that recline and are separated by a wide center console containing a refrigerator and fold-out airline-style tables.
Roomy and elegantly upscale, Volvo’s 2017 XC90’s cabin details include everything from supple leather upholstery and aluminum/wood accents to its new Sensus touch interface, an available 12.3-inch digital instrument display and diamond-cut surfaces on the various rotary controls.. The 40/20/40 2nd-row bench seat includes an available center child booster seat and is matched with a more accommodating 50/50 third tier that offers best-in-class legroom. Each seat can be individually folded flat to increase cargo space from 15.8 cubic feet to a segment-leading 85.7 cubic feet -- all easily accessed through a large rear hatch with hands-free activation.
The XC90’s bold and sophisticated SUV body lines are complemented by a rectangular face that features a sleeker graphic character with a revised grille and redrawn logo. More expressive front/rear lighting adds visual punch and features full LED headlights with corner-following Active Bending and T-shaped “Thor’s Hammer” LED running lights. Wheel/tire fitments rise from 18-inchers on the base model to 20 inch on Inscriptions and 21 inch on the R-Design -- which also gets a selection of unique trim elements and offers a bespoke Matte Metallic Blue finish.
All XC90s are comprehensively equipped, complementing a lengthy roster of features with premium touches like the groundbreaking Sensus touch-control interface and GPS navigation, a 10-speaker/330-watt audio package, 4-zone climate control with Clean Zone Air Quality System, panoramic glass sunroof and Wi-Fi hotspot. Its bounty of active/passive protective touches include Volvo’s City Safety System with Pedestrian & Cyclist Detection and Avoidance, Lane Departure Warning, and new Run-Off-Road protection plus automatic braking should the driver inadvertently turn in front of an oncoming vehicle. Surprisingly, the new XC90 offers just one built-in USB port and has no power assist for its tilt/telescoping steering column.
Descriptively named Climate, Convenience and Vision Packages add even more appeal to the new XC90. These include Surround View Cameras, power-retracting side-view mirrors, and heating controls for the windshield, the headlight washers and the rear seats. Blind Spot/Cross Traffic warnings, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist and Park Assist Pilot are also available as part of option packages. Single options on all models include Four-Corner Air Suspension, a 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system, Head-Up Display, plus an Integrated 2nd-row child booster seat along with Contour Seats in Nappa leather (Momentum only), and carbon-fiber accents and 22-inch wheels (R-Design only).
The 2017 XC90 lineup is fitted with Volvo’s new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. In the T5, the engine is turbocharged for a respectable 250 horsepower. In the T6, a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter Drive-E gasoline engine makes a stout 316 horsepower and develops 295 lb-ft of torque. The T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid also uses a rear-mounted electric motor that sends all of its motive force to the aft wheels. Collectively, the combo yields 400 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Both XC90 SUV variants can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Their Drive-E engines are backed by a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission that helps them earn what are projected to be best-in-class EPA ratings, although on our test drive we didn’t quite see the same rosy figures.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (T5)
250 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/26 mpg (FWD), 22/25 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter supercharged/turbocharged inline-4 (T6 AWD)
316 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/25 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline-4 + electric motor (T8 AWD)
316 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-4,500 rpm
80 horsepower/177 lb-ft of torque
Net Output: 400 horsepower / 443 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/27 mpg, 54 mpge combined
Pure electric range on a full charge: 25 miles
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Volvo XC90 T5 Momentum has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just shy of $46,750, while the sporty R-Design starts just north of $52,000. All-wheel drive adds another $2,000. The XC90 T6 AWD starts around $52,500, with the Inscription trim pushing the price just north of $58,000. The XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid starts close to $73,000 and tops out over $105,000 for a nicely equipped T8 Excellence. Given its numerous standard features, the 2017 XC90 will hold a solid price advantage against its comparably equipped German rivals and be competitive with the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 as well as domestic alternatives like the Cadillac SRX and the Buick Enclave. Be sure to check the KBB Fair Purchase Price before purchasing your 2017 XC90. We expect the XC90 to hold good resale value, still below that of the Acura MDX but slightly better than the Mercedes-Benz GL.