Value. Safety. Luxury. The Volvo XC90, the most awarded luxury SUV of the century, packs these powerful traits into one incredible car. And now, this SUV is better than ever. Here’s why the 2018 Volvo XC90 should be your next SUV.
New Features for 2018
The Volvo XC90 hasn’t undergone many changes since it first arrived on American shores in 2016, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The most significant changes for the 2018 model year come in the form of new standard features. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are all now standard across trim levels. The excellent T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain is now available in all trims as well, and it’s paired with a new battery pack that squeezes out an additional five miles of range per charge.
Available Trim Packages
The XC90 is available in four distinct trim levels — Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and Excellence.
Momentum is the entry-level trim, though its $46,900 MSRP still includes an impressive array of standard features. The $52,300 R-Design trim offers a sportier configuration, with Volvo’s Automatic Bending Lights system, a 12.3-inch digital infotainment system, a variety of color-coordinated illumination features, and a handful of other accent pieces. The Inscription trim offers heated Nappa leather seats, walnut wood accents, all-wheel drive and a variety of other upgrades for an MSRP of $59,450, while the ultra-luxury Excellence – starting at $104,900 – adds on a bevy of advanced safety and infotainment features, nubuck leather accents, a crystal gearshift knob, luxurious captain’s chair seating, and many other upgrades that practically transform the XC90 into an SUV-sized executive limousine.
Safety and Specifications
The base Volvo XC90 model is motivated by a turbocharged 2.0-liter T5 powerplant, supplying 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The T6 powertrain, which comes with all-wheel drive standard, features a 2.0-liter twin charged four-cylinder engine that produces 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The top-of-the-line T8 hybrid powertrain, meanwhile, employs the same engine but pairs it with an 87-horsepower electric motor for a combined output of 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque.
For 2018, the Volvo XC90 gets a slight boost in efficiency across the board. The base T5 powertrain registers an EPA-rated 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway in front-wheel drive configurations, though all-wheel drive drops highway mileage to 28 mpg. The T6 twin charged engine clocks in at 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, while the hybrid T8 powertrain musters a respectable 26 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 62 MPGe. It can also travel up to 19 miles on electric power alone thanks to a battery capacity increase from 9.2 kilowatt-hours to 10.4 kilowatt-hours.
Thanks to smart design and a wide range of active assists, the Volvo XC90 really shines when it comes to safety. This is no surprise given Volvo’s legendary commitment to building safe and reliable vehicles, and it’s borne out by a suite of sterling safety ratings. The XC90 boasts the highest marks from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and its suite of safety features is among the best in its class.
Comparing the Competition
Luxury midsize SUVs have become increasingly popular in recent years, and though the Volvo XC90 has only been available in the American market since 2016, it’s already faced stiff competition from several competitors. If you’re in the market for an upscale SUV that’s big enough to haul the whole family without sacrificing efficiency or style, here are a few worthy competitors to consider.
2018 Audi Q7
With an MSRP starting at $49,900, the 2018 Audi Q7 isn’t quite as affordable as the base Volvo XC90 trim. For the extra cost, however, you’ll get an extra row of seating and standard all-wheel drive. The Q7 also boasts one of the best infotainment systems in the business, and it offers an interior of comparable comfort and luxury to the XC90. You’ll also get a better driving experience thanks to the Q7’s quieter, more responsive ride and slightly more powerful drivetrains. However, the XC90 still wins out in terms of standard and optional tech features, fuel economy and safety.
2018 BMW X5
It starts with a rather steep MSRP of $57,200, but there’s a whole lot to like about the BMW X5. The array of powertrains is impressive and includes options for both performance and efficiency, assuring there’s something for everyone. Handling and ride quality are every bit what you’d expect of a BMW, and the interior is roomy, comfortable and well-appointed. BMW’s sophisticated xDrive all-wheel-drive system only adds to the X5’s performance capability, and it’s available on all trim levels except the base 35i. Still, a relatively cramped passenger space means the X5 may not be as well-suited to larger families, and the subdued styling may not be to everyone’s tastes.
The Bottom Line
The 2018 Volvo XC90 has earned no shortage of high praise, and the fuss is largely justified. It’s an undeniably handsome and luxurious vehicle, and its fusion of comfort, technology and safety makes it a wonderful choice for families who prefer to travel in style. Still, it isn’t without some minor flaws. If you’re debating whether the XC90 is worth its considerable price tag, here’s what you need to know.
- Luxury and style to the point of opulence
- Impeccable crash ratings and robust safety systems
- Packed with useful technology
- Can become very pricey with available options
- Powertrain options are less inspiring than some competitors
- Ride quality isn’t what you’d expect from a high-end luxury SUV