2016 Volvo XC90 First Look
It’s been 12 years since the first Volvo XC90 rolled off a Swedish assembly line and several years since the automaker has launched an all-new product. After a complete stall in research and development while the brand was being sold, Volvo is back in action, ready to show the world what it’s been working on the past few years.
Based on the brand’s all-new Scalable Product Architecture, which will underpin all new Volvos, the 2016 XC90 will be slightly larger than the outgoing three-row luxury crossover but also lighter. U.S models will get two Drive-E engine options, both of which are supercharged and turbocharged. The base engine, called T6, is good for 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a Volvo eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. It’s rated to tow up to 5291 pounds. The top-flight T8 matches the T6 engine with a 60-kW, 80-hp electric motor on the rear axle with a combined system output of 395 hp and 472 lb-ft from the plug-in hybrid drivetrain. T8 models can run on pure electricity from the 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, pure gasoline or as a hybrid and are, by default, all-wheel drive. All-electric range is estimated at up to 25 miles. In other markets, a 222-hp twin-turbo diesel engine is offered, with 347 lb-ft.
Volvo is also considering additional powertrain and drivetrain options. Another gasoline engine, known as T5, is under consideration for the U.S. market. It also displaces 2.0 liters but is only turbocharged, not supercharged, and produces 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and would be the new base engine. Volvo may also offer the T6, and eventually T5 if it happens, in front-wheel drive as well as the currently standard all-wheel drive.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Volvo if it weren’t safe. The 2016 XC90 introduces pedestrian and cyclist detection day or night, cross-traffic detection when backing up, collision warning and automatic braking, rear impact detection, and will even stop you if you try to turn in front of an oncoming vehicle. It’ll also try to steer you back onto the road if you’re drifting off or toward a barrier, park itself in both perpendicular and parallel spaces, and drive itself while stuck in a traffic jam. Also available are adaptive headlights, blind spot warning, power-operated and hands-free tailgate, power-operated third-row seats, four-zone climate control, a built-in child booster seat in the second-row center seat, a 360-degree camera system with parking aids, and an air suspension. The second-row seats also slide to make more room in the third row and fold 40:20:40. With both second and third rows folded, the XC90 will swallow 85.7 cubic feet of cargo. The 2016 Volvo XC90 also features what the automaker is calling "Thor's Hammer" daytime running lights, a look that will spread to the rest of the lineup.
Inside, the 2016 XC90 features an all-new luxury interior with high-end leather, real wood and metal trim, and an optional 19-speaker, 1400-watt, Bowers & Wilkins stereo. The tablet-like Sensus center touch-screen display controls most of the car’s functions and works with both Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. It can also be used while wearing gloves. It’s matched by a digital instrument cluster and head-up display for the driver. Dressing things up further are diamond-cut controls for the engine start/stop button and stereo volume knob, as well as an optional crystal shifter from Swedish glassmaker Orrefors. The seats, meanwhile, include a shock absorber between the seat and rails to help prevent spinal injuries in an accident.
Production of the all-new XC90 begins in January with sales later in 2015, and prices starting at $48,900 for the T6 AWD model that includes as standard 19-inch wheels, navigation, and a panoramic sunroof (that price does not include destination, which on 2015 Volvos is $925). The first 1927 cars built will be special T6 AWD Inscription First Edition models commemorating the year Volvo was founded. They feature a four-corner air suspension, Onyx Black paint, eight-spoke, 21-inch wheels, Nappa leather seats in Amber, a dashboard wrapped in Charcoal-color leather, Linear Walnut trim, numbered tread plates, and a special badge on the tailgate. The Inscription First Edition is priced at $65,900 (add about $925 for destination) and will only be available through an online reservation and payment system on volvocars.com/us.