The 2016 Volvo XC90 benefits from a full redesign that goes much further than simply some new sheetmetal. Nowhere is this more obvious than under the hood, where the goals of improved fuel economy and improved power are seemingly at odds with one another. Volvo has responded with a brand new 2.0L engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged. The result is an almost-unbelievable 318 hp and fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. All of those numbers are up significantly since 2014 when the XC90 was still powered by a larger, less powerful 6-cylinder engine, showing just how effective Volvo's engineers have been. All-wheel drive is standard on the 2016 Volvo XC90 and the only transmission choice is an 8-speed automatic.
The hybrid powertrain takes the same impressive 2.0L and adds a 82-horsepower electric motor at the rear axle and a crankshaft-mounted generator. The hybrid battery rides mid-ship to keep its effect on handling minimal. Like other hybrids, it features an energy-reclaiming braking system and like the standard XC90 Drive-E, the SUV comes with automatic engine stop-start.
The non-hybrid XC90 will initially be sold in only three trim levels, though there are plans to add more in the coming years. For now though, choices include the T6 AWD, T6 AWD R-Design and T6 AWD Inscription. The hybrid is offered in T8 Momentum, T8 R-Design and T8 Inscription trims.
The base T6 AWD comes with plenty of luxury features as is generally expected in this class. Standard items include 4-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power adjustable and heated front seats, power rear headrests, a panoramic power sunroof, a navigation system, a rearview camera and backup sensors, a power tailgate, 19-inch wheels, a lane departure warning system and satellite radio with a 6-month subscription.
The R-Design trim has a sportier personality. Setting it apart are numerous exterior and interior upgrades to add just a little bit of flair the XC90. Standout features include dual exhaust pipes, a unique front grill, nicer front seats, paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel, sport pedals, 20-inch wheels, LED headlights and subtle aerodynamic upgrades.
The Inscription models include Napa leather upholstery, exterior chrome accents, vented front seats, aluminum roof rails, rear sunshades and a walnut wood and Napa leather lined dashboard.
The XC90 wouldn't be a Volvo if it didn't offer world-class and innovative safety systems and the XC90 offers a couple of new innovations in the field. In an off-road scenario, the XC90 will tighten the front safety belts to help prevent injuries, while at an intersection, the vehicle can automatically brake if it detects the driver turning right in front of an oncoming car. In addition there is an extra layer of cushioning below the seats to help minimize the risk of spinal injuries from a hard landing.