The 2017 Volvo XC90 is the automaker’s flagship model and they didn’t hold anything back when they built it. It was redesigned last year, and this year it gets a few new features to set it apart even further. It’s a premium crossover and it looks the part both inside and out.
It’s luxurious and modern and can be loaded with a number of packages that can push up the price.
This week, we drove the 2017 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription that comes loaded with options. We’ll see how it can add comfort and safety to your commute.
What’s New For 2016?
Volvo gave the XC90 a complete makeover last year and it remains relatively unchanged for 2017. It gets updates for its driver assistance system and more apps for its infotainment system.
Features & Options
The 2017 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription ($51,600) comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels, a unique grille and exterior accents, a sport steering wheel with shift paddles, upgraded sport seats, leather upholstery, illuminated step plates, aluminum mesh cabin accents, and lighting upgrades.
Our XC90 T6 tester came loaded with seven different options. The XC90 T6 Inscription package ($5,600) features its own 20-inch wheels and special interior and exterior trim. It also has upgraded Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, ventilated front seats with adjustable side bolsters, and rear side window shades.
The Climate package ($1,950) includes a heated windshield, heated windshield washer nozzles, and a heads-up display. It also adds a heated steering wheel for Inscription models.
The Convenience package ($1,800) added front parking sensors, Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving mode, automated parking assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and, in the cargo area, a grocery bag holder and a 12-volt power outlet.
The Luxury package ($2,900) adds a suede headliner, leather grab handles and sun visors, and a massaging function to the fronts seats. The Vision package ($1,950) features power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, a 360 degree surround-view parking camera, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Our XC90 tester also came with a Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system ($2,650) and a 4-corner air-suspension ($1,800). Total MSRP including destination: $72,805.
Stepping inside the XC90 Inscription let us know quickly this model is about luxury and comfort. Volvo is challenging the Americans, Germans, and Japanese in the upscale SUV segment. Inside we see walnut wood inlays, Nappa leather on the sun visors and grab handles and even the massaging front seats.
If that doesn’t shout luxury, nothing does.
All this comes at a steep price, because the Luxury and Inscription packages combine for an $8,500 price tag. These are options, so if you don’t need to be pampered, the standard XC90 is still plenty satisfying.
If there’s any doubt as to its luxury aspirations, the available 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system, with the round tweeter in the middle of the dash, will put it to rest. We tried the massaging seats and they are a nice “touch” for the long commute. It also didn’t hurt that our tester came with the 4-corner air-suspension to make the bumps feels like you are floating through space.
The XC90 gets the best materials and the Nappa leather heated and cooled front seats won’t leave you tired after a long trip. Our passengers in back had plenty of legroom and were able to use the rear sun curtains for extra comfort. This tester also came with the optional child booster seat ($250) built into the center section of the second-row bench. It can conveniently be scooted forward to make it easy for parents to reach their children.
For cargo, the XC90 features 15.8 cubic feet with the seats up, and an impressive 85.7 cubic feet with all the seats folded flat. The standard hands-free power tailgate easily opens if and when your hands are full.
The only complaint we have is with the climate, radio, and heated-seat controls on the 9-inch touchscreen. They can be cumbersome to access quickly.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The Volvo XC90 T6 is powered by a 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direct injection. It pumps out 316 horsepower and 295 lb.ft of torque. It comes mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with a stop/start function to save fuel. Power is sent to all four wheels.
EPA-estimated fuel economy checks in at 20/25 city/highway and 22 combined mpg. In our high-altitude, real-world test, the vehicle struggled to come close to that.
When underway, the XC90 gives the driver and occupants a feeling of security. You can feel it when you shut the door and the feeling is solid. The XC90 gave us the feeling of being safely cocooned inside the unseen steel safety cage that surrounds its occupants.
Volvo has long been a safety leader and their flagship SUV is their safety performance leader.
On the highway, we were constantly reminded of its safety features. When we drifted slightly out of our lane, there was a small tug of the steering wheel, guiding us back into the middle. When we switched lanes, the alert let us know there was a car in our blind spot. The 360 degree surround view camera kept us alerted to anything that could cause a potential accident.
On the mountain roads at altitude we needed the turbocharger to help with the rarified air at 8,500 feet elevation. When we pushed hard, the XC90 responded with enough power to get us up the hill and pass slower cars without much trouble. With a loaded down XC90, it could be a different story, however.
The air-suspension kept the bumps to a minimum and we barely felt the ruts in the dirt road leading to the house. In the tight mountain curves, the XC90 stayed planted and felt nimble for a vehicle this size.
The 2017 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription is a luxurious offering for families. It’s likely the safest vehicle on the road and features the latest safety technology available on any car. If you don’t need all the luxury options, the XC90 is a good vehicle for families wanting a premium crossover. It’s easy to drive the price up if you get all the extra goodies.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy
Volvo XC90 Gallery
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2017 Volvo XC90 Official Site
Photos: Volvo Car Corporation
*2016 XC90 models and other variants shown