Reviews

2017 Volvo XC90 Driving Impressions


On the highway, the sizable XC90 handles, steers and stops much like a passenger car, clinging predictably to the pavement. Electric power steering provides helpful, natural feedback. Only if taking a corner quickly does body roll become noticeable. In addition to its ample dimensions, the XC90 has a 9.3-inch ground clearance.

Though small in displacement, engines respond with spirit; T6 and T8 powertrains are especially enjoyable. Such peppiness, combined with carlike control, helps make the XC90 feel nearly nimble for a vehicle of its size. From a standstill, the T8 is clearly quicker, especially in Power mode; but the T6 isn’t likely to disappoint. The T6’s supercharger helps the engine respond briskly at low rpm, until the turbocharger can deliver boost.

Noise can be an issue, but only on specific pavement surfaces, or when accelerating hard. T5 and T6 models include a Stop/Start function, shutting the engine off when stopped at intersections. When ready to resume, the engine starts quickly and smoothly.

EPA fuel-economy estimates are compelling. With all-wheel drive, the T5 is EPA-rated at 22/25 mpg City/Highway, or 23 mpg Combined. The T6 is EPA-rated at 20/25 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined.

Volvo’s T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid can travel up to 13 miles on the battery alone, with a Combined rating of 25 mpg when operating as a hybrid. The EPA rates equivalent efficiency relatively low, at 54 MPGe.

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