Volvo is known for having the safest cars on the road thanks to their inherent build and added structural enhancements. But that’s not all.
For 2020, their flagship and top selling XC90 six or seven seat SUV, offers a melding of style, technology and a host of new safety features. And in this age of achieving the utmost in fuel economy, XC90 is offered in a T8 e-AWD plug-In version that was tested.
The XC90 eAWD Plug-In is sophisticated and advanced with a host of technological advancements. Volvo’s Sensus system, that we’ll detail later, can do almost everything but change the cars’ oil – although it will notify the driver when it’s needed.
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelson recently told Automotive News that every new Volvo being produced going forward will have an electric motor as part of a plan to make all-electric cars account for half of global sales by 2025, while the remainder will be hybrids. And in fact, Volvo already has an XC40 Recharge that is all-electric.
Volvo XC90 is offered in three trim levels of Momentum, R-Design and top-line Inscription that was tested and in eAWD form. XC90s also comes in three engine choices of T5, T6 and T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid.
XC90s interior is corporate jet-like with its Nappa leather seating, Linear walnut inlay trim, crystal gear-shift knob and massive vertical touchscreen. The latter controls mostly everything except front/rear window defrosters that have their own switches and once set, radio tuning can be done via steering wheel even nav and phone controls. Or, through voice controls for such operations as cabin temperature control, air flow direction and more.
The 9-inch touchscreen (that can be operated with gloved hands) immediately captures the eyes when entering the XC90. It really takes some serious studying though of the owners’ manual to use as it has so many features and functions, some of which owners may never use.
One feature, as mentioned, is Volvo’s Sensus system that is based on what people want and makes their lives easier, says Volvo. It’s designed around Entertainment, Connectivity, Navigation, Services and Control through a suite of applications and interfaces. It includes Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity and can read aloud text messages. Owners can order a host of services as well through the screen, including setting a time/date to remotely start the car. (Told you this SUV can do it all)
The 12-inch digital gauge cluster is a work of art in itself and has a driver information display that provides the driver with a myriad of operating functions, features and alerts. It even flashes the posted speed limit sign if exceeding it.
The test car came with Pilot Assist that has active steering to keep the vehicle centered and can maintain a set distance to a vehicle ahead through its cruise control.
Park Assist, helps the driver steer the vehicle into a parking place requiring the driver to merely apply the brakes.
We can’t say enough about the sumptuous, perforated leather front bucket seats that have perfect lateral support and powered under-thigh support. The comfiest front seats in any SUV and the driver’s seat even has a massage function.
Unique to Volvo is the spring-loaded rotary ignition switch. It takes a little getting used to coming from a key or push button ignition.
A Drive Mode switch below it offers Constant AWD, Pure Eco Drive, Hybrid, Individual, Power and Off-Road modes.
The test car came with second row captain’s chairs that were also very comfy. And an isle between them allows nimble ones to maneuver into the third row seats that are mainly for youngsters.
Back in the cargo area and with the third row seats upright, it measures 22.5-inches deep, 43.5 wide and 31 high. Flip them and there’s 49 inches of cargo depth. Flip the second row and depth expands to 79 inches.
Beneath the cargo floor is a bin that stores the charging cable that with a full-charge, allows between 10-20 miles of total electric driving depending on speed, ambient temperature and driving style. A charging port is located on the front driver’s side fender.
Power wise, it’s exhilarating for a hybrid. The T8 Hybrid employs a 2.4-liter, supercharged and turbocharged direct injection 4-cylinder engine that when combined with an 87-hp electric motor and dual voltage battery, generates a total output of a whopping 400-hp and 472 lb/ft of torque for combined EPA mileage estimates of 27 mpg with start/stop engine technology. Power and torque gets transferred to the wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The combination offers impressive low and high end acceleration and there’s certainly no want for power. So powered, the XC90 eAWD comes with a tow rating of up to 5,000 pounds with trailer brakes. And our test car came with an air suspension system that levels heavy loads including trailer hitch weight.
With the air suspension system, XC90 rides smoothly on premium Pirelli tires that feels taut and secure with nary any body lean in sharp turns. It handles with preciseness and parks easily, especially if using the self park feature. It came standard with City Collision Avoidance, run off road protection/mitigation, lane keeping assist/mitigation, rear park assist and many more safety features and functions.
With a base price of $67,500, the options list included Inscription trim ($6,300) that adds Nappa leather, 21-inch tires, front park assist, powered cushion extension, Harmon Kardon audio and more; Advanced Package ($2,450) added active bending LED headlights, 360 degree surround view camera, heads-up display; Luxury Package ($3,100) added heated rear seats and special trim; Metallic paint ($645); Bowers/Wilkins premium sound ($3,200); Park Assist ($200); air suspension ($1,800); 21-inch wheels ($800); and delivery tacked on $995 for a total bottom line of $86,990. If you can live without some of the aforementioned options, this price can be shaved somewhat.
But what this price doesn’t reflect are the top 5-star government safety ratings the XC90 received. It received a full 5-star overall vehicle score; 5 for driver/passenger frontal crash; 5 for front/rear seat side crash and four for rollover.
All top scores for a safe, family oriented AWD SUV.