Tuesday 25 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription Review

Test Drive: 2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription Review

As many new vehicles as I drive per year, it is getting harder and harder to really impress me.  Well Volvo has done just that with its all-new flagship SUV, the XC90.

We were introduced to the XC90 in 2002, and this 2016 I am testing is the second generation.  That is an unusually long time without a major re-do, although there have been some minor updates along the way.

We all know Volvos are safe, arguably the safest vehicles on the road, and this new XC90 has it all.  It’ll stop itself if it senses an impending wreck, it will detect pedestrians, cyclists, and animals, even at night.  You get lane departure warning, it can read road signs, and has a ton of airbags and other protection, all standard.  So, yes, you simply can’t be in a safer SUV.

For me, the story is the platform, the engine, and the refinement in exterior and interior looks.  For the first time ever, I found this SUV to be absolutely stunning from bumper-to-bumper and everywhere in between.

Under the hood, you get 316-horses of supercharged and turbocharged power out of – get this – a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder.  You could have taken my money because it felt like a super-powerful V6, if not a small V8.  This engine is designated as the T6, but you can also get a T8, which adds an electric hybrid engine and bumps you to 400-horses.  Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that shifts buttery smooth.  All-wheel drive comes standard on all XC90 models.

As you open any of the doors, you are struck by the luxurious looks of the interior.  Real wood and Nappa leather with stitching is everywhere.  Volvo has always been known for comfortable seating, and this generation takes it to a whole new level, even the 3rd row seating is comfortable and will fit two adults comfortably up to 6-feet tall.  It has as nice an interior as anything I have ever driven. Access to the 3rd row seat is simple and easy, with the back seats folded down you get a massive amount of cargo area.

Everything runs from the Volvo Sensus system, which is right in the middle of dash, and is almost a clone of an Apple iPad, and works the same way.  It’s slick, but there is a learning curve.  It comes with navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, and in fact, everything in the vehicle runs from this screen that swipes every direction.  If you find it distracting, which I sort of did especially at first, there are voice recognition and steering wheel controls, along with a host of apps and real-time information.

My tester is the top-of-the-line Inscription model, and it is loaded with standard equipment such as a full-length panoramic moon roof, heated power front seats, a phenomenal rearview camera, hands-free power lift gate, keyless entry, and a lot more.

The Inscription package adds $5600 to the base price, and gets you LED headlights that turn with the steering wheel, aluminum roof rails, alloy wheels, cooled front seats, and an overall nicer interior.  The Vision Package is $1600 and gives you blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degree surround view camera, automatic dimming interior and exterior mirrors, and retractable outside power mirrors.

The Climate Package gets you heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, heated windshield washer fluid, and a heads-up display for $1950.  Convenience Package is also $1900 and gives you park assist (it will parallel park itself), parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping technology (it will steer itself, actually), and a 12-volt power outlet in the cargo area.

If you want an outrageous sound system, the Bower & Wilkins Premium sound system runs $2500 and gives you 1400-watts and 19-speakers, 21” alloy wheels look great and adds $750 to the cost, and a 4-corner air suspension runs $1600 if you need it.

The XC90 rides and handles extremely well.  Choose one of four drive modes to change the behavior of the SUV.  Chose from eco, comfort, off-road, or to stiffen things up some, choose dynamic.

This is the most incredible Volvo to come along in many years.  Volvo spent eleven billion dollars developing the overall platform for the XC90.  For 2016 it is 250-pounds lighter in spite of the fact it is 5” longer and 8” wider.

XC90 is a game changer for Volvo and SUVs overall.  Volvo amazed me with the price, based on the competition out there today.  It is just an outstanding value.  I congratulate Volvo for all the changes they made to the XC90.  Our Volvo dealer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area had over 50 of these pre-sold, so the biggest issue right now is finding one!

What I liked most:  Interior and exterior looks, performance.

What I would change:  Nothing. Absolutely nothing.   

MSRP: Base price $48,900, as equipped $66,705.

Fuel Economy:  20 in town, 25 on the highway, 22 combined.

Fuel Tank:  18.8 gallons.

Dimensions:  194” long/75.7” wide/69.9” high.

Weight:  4720 Pounds.

Trailer Towing:  5000 pounds.

Miles When Tested:  1800 miles.

2016 XC90 in a few words:  AMAZING SUV, full of safety, amenities, and value!

Final Assembly Point:  Gothenburg, Sweden.

Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, and free scheduled maintenance for 3-years/36,000 miles.

Manufacturers website: Volvo 

Jerry Reynolds, The Car Pro

Photo Credit: Volvo