2020 Volvo XC90 Gets a Few Updates, Company Introduces Mild Hybrids
Plug-In and Mild Hybrid Options Spread Through Lineup
Volvo will slightly revise the XC90 for 2020, giving it updated looks and, in Europe at least, a new mild-hybrid powertrain option.
You’re forgiven if you don’t immediately notice the styling changes, as they’re extremely minor. For 2020, the handsome XC90 gets refreshed wheel options, a new grille, and new colors. Volvo doesn’t mention it, but we think the Thor’s Hammer headlights have been updated slightly, with a darker finish on R-Design models. Other changes are minor—slightly altered air intakes in the front bumper and an ever-so-slightly reshaped rear diffuser, we think.
Inside, there’s not much to tell the 2020 XC90 apart from the 2019 either. Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system has been updated with Spotify streaming and Android Auto, which join the Apple CarPlay connectivity that’s been available since 2015. There will also be “new interior materials,” which we presume will be additional wood trim options, and the seats will be available with a smart-looking wool upholstery that is much more stylish and unique than traditional leather. Also available will be a new six-seat interior configuration, offering middle-row bucket seats and a smallish third-row bench. It joins the standard XC90’s five- and seven-seat configurations, as well as the XC90 Excellence’s luxurious four-seat layout.
Under the skin, the 2020 Volvo XC90 will see more significant updates. Its top-spec T8 Twin Engine powertrain will be upgraded with a new battery and brake-by-wire advanced battery charging, and Volvo claims its all-electric range will improve by about 15 percent for vehicles with T8 powerplants. That would mean the 2020 XC90 should be able to go about 21 miles without burning a drop of fuel, enough for many people’s one-way commutes. After that, the T8’s super- and turbocharged 2.0L I-4 will fire up, bringing with it an improvement over the current model’s 27 mpg combined fuel efficiency rating. The updated T8 Twin Engine powertrain will be rated at 420 hp, up from the outgoing XC90 T8’s 400 hp, thanks to that engine and a fair amount of boost from a rear-mounted electric motor.
In Europe, the 2020 XC90 will be among the first recipients of Volvo’s new mild-hybrid powertrain. The B5 will likely use Volvo’s turbocharged, 250hp 2.0L I-4 as its base, adding to it a 48V electrical system with regenerative braking. The B6 should be powered by a super- and turbocharged 2.0L I-4 with 316 hp. Both electrified powertrains are expected to improve fuel efficiency by about 15 percent compared to their conventional counterparts, but it’s not clear if the mild-hybrid propulsion will improve performance or power output at all. The European market will also get a B5 diesel, adding mild-hybrid technology to an efficient, oil-burning engine. The B-branded powertrains will also make their way into other Volvos eventually, becoming the standard option as the company pushes toward building a 100 percent electrified fleet.
Orders for the 2020 Volvo XC90 are open now, with production starting in May and sales late this year.