The 2018 model of the luxury SUV has three engine setups and all are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The T5 starts with a 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-4 engine producing 250 horsepower and 258 lb. ft. of torque. The T6 adds a supercharger to the 2.0 liter setup that now produces 316 horsepower and 295 lb. ft. of torque. The T8 Plug-in Hybrid is a hybrid that adds two electric motors with the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0 liter that has a total output of 400 horsepower and 472 lb. ft. of torque. Only T5 has the option for front-wheel drive aside from the all-wheel drive, while the T6 and T8 come standard with all-wheel drive. In testing the T6 engine, the performance is sufficient for everyday use. The XC90 pulls off from a halt with no hesitation and its 0-60 mph time of 6.4 seconds is in the average range for the midsize SUV class. However lag is still present with the supercharger and turbocharger spooling up slightly late and then will the transmission only downshift to let the power through. On the road, the XC90 is easy to handle for its size since it felt low to the ground. When approaching the corner it turns at will and is sure-footed through the turn. The steering is responsive and has a good weight without being cumbersome. The brakes stopped the XC90 from 60 mph in 124 feet, a decent achievement in its class. The pedal felt firm and the stroke is relatively short, but no jerky reactions. The bite from the calipers was predictable and easy to modulate. Given that its ride height is lower, the body did not lurch forward even under heavy braking.
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The base T5 Momentum trim comes standard with LED headlights, power tailgate, keyless entry and ignition, power-adjustable seats with lumbar support, driver-seat memory settings, auto-dimming mirrors, navigation, satellite radio, voice command, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Andoird Auto, USB port, and infotainment system with 9-inch touchscreen and 10-speaker sound system. Advanced safety and driver assist technologies also come standard with the base trim. When upgrading the base Momentum trim to the T6 and T8 engines, additional features include heated front seats and automatic climate control. The T8 Momentum also comes standard adaptive LED headlights and ambient interior lighting. The Momentum Plus package adds active headlights, headlight washers, larger digital instrument cluster, and more interior lighting. The R-Design trim, available with all three engine setups, include a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters and a power-adjustable sport seat with thigh support. It also includes sportier interior and exterior appointments. The Inscription trim, available with the T6 and T8 engine setups only, builds off of the R-Design trim with heating and ventilation for front seats, and unique exterior and interior features. The Excellence trim is the cream of the crop of the XC90 and only comes with the T8 hybrid powertrain, adds adaptive air suspension, rear center console with touchscreen, heated and cooled cup holders, a refrigerator, additional USB ports, massage functionality to the heated and ventilated seats, and a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system. Also unique to the Excellence trim are the two captain’s chairs with footrests for a limo-like passenger experience The Convenience package is applicable for all trims and it includes heated windshield washers, a compass for the overhead rearview mirror and 12V power outlet in the cargo area. A couple of advanced safety and driver assist technologies are also included. Other options available for the majority of trims include a rear seat entertainment system, adaptive air suspension (needs the Convenience package), heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, heads-up display, and a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
The 2018 model has been tested by the NHTSA and it earns 5 stars for the frontal crash test, 5 stars for the side crash test, and 4 stars for the rollover test. Overall, it achieves a 5-star safety rating. The IIHS has also tested the 2018 model and scores “Good” in crashworthiness and “Superior” in front crash prevention. Its headlights however only scored “Marginal” for crash prevention and mitigation. Standard safety and driver assist technologies include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, road sign detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and Pilot Assist semi-auto driving mode. The optional features are front parking sensors, 360-degree camera and front park assist.
The 2018 model has a 70-inch height, 195-inch length, 84.3-inch width, and a 117.5-inch wheelbase. The 2018 model is also visually identical to last year’s model. The base trim starts with 18-inch wheels and going up through the trims, the standard wheel size gets bigger. The T5 Momentum configuration can only opt up to 20-inch wheels while the rest of the trim configurations can opt up to 22-inch wheels. Typically, Volvo makes vehicles that tend to be in the upper segment of the price spectrum, and the XC90 definitely looks the part. The Swedish philosophy of design is evident here, with its refined silhouette that doesn’t really sacrifice function. Overall, the XC90 doesn’t have a busy look and the streamlined minimalist approach is pleasing to the eye.
Getting inside the cabin is a breeze, and the doors aren’t as wide when fully opened so that’s advantageous when opening it in tighter parking lots. The adaptive air suspension lowers the ride height when the XC90 senses that it is parked, which was very convenient. Headroom and legroom is more than sufficient for the first two rows of seats, while the third row would only accommodate smaller people. The XC90 can seat up to 7 people inside, and upon seating the quality of the interior is just evident. The leather upholstery is top notch and seat comfort is commendable even on longer road trips. Lots of ways of adjusting to find a sweet spot for the most ergonomic position, although the head rest doesn’t slide up or down. The ride quality with the adaptive air suspension is very comfortable on the majority of roads. The cushion from irregularities on the pavement was smooth, although sharpness can be felt on jagged obstacles. Take note that the bigger wheels may affect ride quality due to having less impact protection from the tires.
Behind the third row of seats is 15.4 cu. ft. of space, and folding the third row yields 41.8 cu. ft. of space. The cargo space then expands to 85.7 cu. ft. when folding down the second and third rows.