Have You Seen the 2018 Volvo XC90?

Have You Seen the 2018 Volvo XC90?

We all love Sweden for giving us IKEA, but we’ve got other things to thank them for as well. Since 2016, we’ve been able to witness the American invasion of the redesigned Swedish Volvo XC90 . With its bold, luxurious design and roomy interior, this SUV might be just the thing for people searching for a reliable and classy crossover.

With the 2018 XC90 starting at just $46,900 MSRP, this ultra-luxurious vehicle is quite a step above the status quo for luxury crossovers. A trio of available four-cylinder engines give the competitors’ six-cylinder motors a run for their money.

If luxury and performance are what you’re seeking, the Volvo XC90 is surely worth a peek. In fact, you’ll want to check out the Excellence model, which comes complete with a set of handcrafted crystal glasses and a refrigeration compartment. However, while we are starstruck with the newest Volvo model, you’ll want to consider a few factors before making that leap.

What’s Changed From 2017?

Since 2017, the XC90 has undergone a few changes, though none very extensive. Volvo has made some of the previous optional features standard, making it easier to get the vehicle you want. This includes blind-spot monitoring, retractable side-view mirrors, adaptive cruise control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Some new options include heated front seats, heated steering wheel and new wheel designs. Three original exterior colors for the Volvo have been discontinued and replaced with three new ones: Pine Grey, Denim Blue and Maple Brown.

In addition, the T8 plug-in powertrain can be found even in the entry-level Momentum trim. This powertrain features a new battery pack, giving the EPA range an extra five miles from previous years. In fact, all three of the powertrains have had a bump in the EPA ratings.

What hasn’t changed in the XC90 is its ability to win awards. In the past several years, the Volvo XC90 has been the proud recipient of several prestigious titles, including: 2016 North American Truck of the Year®, 2016 CNET Roadshow Vehicle of the Year, 2018 Consumer Guide® Best Buy Award and 2016 Kelley Blue Book Best Auto Tech Award. And it looks like there’s no reason that this trend won’t continue far into 2018.  Here’s some reasons why:

Performance Specs

At the lowest end of the spectrum, the Volvo XC90 T5 features a 250 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine with front-wheel drive. The next step up takes you to the T6, powered by a 316 horsepower, 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged 1-4 engine and all-wheel drive. This three-row SUV is adequate in power, but might not be sufficient for someone traveling hilly terrain on a regular basis.

At the top end, we have the T8 model, equipped with a 316 horsepower turbo-four engine and an electric motor for a total horsepower of 400, plus all-wheel drive. All three models have an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Motor Trend tested the T8 in 2017 and found the 0 to 60 time to be a responsive 5.0 seconds. In addition to that, the XC90 T8 was capable of stopping from 60 mph in just 115 feet, which is better-than-average for the class. To date, these 2017 stats remain the same for 2018.

Features of the Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 includes too many features and options to list, but here are a few of our favorites.

Safety Features

Volvo’s XC90 was rated a Top Safety Pick by IIHS, plus it earned a 5-star rating from NHTSA. This makes it a great choice for customers who place a high priority on safety. However, the IIHS did note one small issue with the vehicle’s design – that  the child seat LATCH anchors are somewhat difficult to access.

Volvo has added more standard safety technology to the XC90 this year. The adaptive cruise control plus blind-spot monitoring are two additions that make Volvo a great choice for drivers who are concerned about traffic hazards. In addition, the optional Convenience Package includes a 360-degree surround-view camera, great for neighborhoods and highways alike.

Upscale safety features include the Active Bending Headlights, Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, Brake Pedal Release and Door Handle Illumination. One of our favorite features is the Driver Alert Control. A camera in the Volvo compares the driver’s steering with the lane markings on the road. If the system notices any erratic behavior it will issue a warning, suggesting that you take a break. This system is only active at speeds over 40 mph.

The Volvo On Call subscription offers a wide range of safety and convenience features, including roadside assistance, emergency support, theft alert and trip navigation.

The Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system assists you in traffic by maintaining a set distance behind the vehicle in front of you. In addition, it ensures your XC90 remains in the center of your lane. Some drivers need time to adjust before they feel comfortable with semi-autonomous driving, but it is the wave of the future.

Entertainment Features

Volvo’s Sensus Connect system is attractive and intuitive, utilizing straightforward Bluetooth connectivity. From the home screen you have the power to adjust the climate, seat temperatures, steering wheel heating and even the seat positions.

You can also opt for the Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound. Worked into the cabin’s architecture is a 12-channel amplifier with 1400W output and 19 high-end speakers, making the music you love come to life. For the ultimate in design and hip aesthetic, the speaker panels are created from stainless steel, while the speaker cones are yellow Kevlar, visible through the mesh.

Not sure what to listen to on your premium sound system? Volvo offers SiriusXM Satellite Radio, standard with the XC90. That means you have access to over 130 channels, including many with commercial-free music.

Fuel Efficiency

The base 2018 Volvo XC90 T5 delivers 22/29 mpg city/highway on front-wheel drive models and 22/28 mpg all-wheel drive models. The T6 comes standard with all-wheel drive and delivers 20/27 mpg.

At the higher end, the T8 is rated at 26/30 mpg when used in hybrid mode. The T8 is capable of traveling 19 miles on all-electric power.

2018 Audi Q7 vs. 2018 Volvo XC90

Many luxury midsize SUVs are available today, but two of the most popular competing in this class are the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90. They are comparable in price and both feature seven-passenger seating in three rows.

When it comes to the comfort of the seats, Volvo is the clear winner with extra room, albeit limited, in the third row as compared to the Q7. The XC90’s seats feel as if they have some extra padding, and they allow passengers to recline and slide.

With cargo space in mind, the Volvo is the clear victor.  Folding both the second and third row of seats down, the Volvo offers 85.7 cubic feet of space, while the Audi Q7 only has 71.6 cubic feet.  When it comes to the interior detailing, they are both winners. The Volvo’s interior is classified as Swedish-modern, while Audi features a refined, high-quality appeal, even if it is not Swedish Modern.

Every version of the Volvo beats the Audi in fuel economy but lacks slightly in performance. If you are concerned about towing, the Audi is a clear choice. The V6 version is capable of towing up to 7,700 pounds, while the Volvo is only capable of 5,200 pounds.

How the XC90 Stacks Up Against Others in Its Class

The Volvo XC90 falls into the class of luxury midsize SUVs. These vehicles typically provide more seating and cargo room than a typical compact SUV, and usually have fewer features.

Of course, budget-friendly midsize SUVs are available. However, owners of lower-priced SUVs  miss out on the upscale interior and higher levels of performance that only come with the luxury category.

In the U.S. News rankings of best luxury midsize SUVs, the Volvo tied for 15th place with the 2018 Lincoln MKX and the 2018 BMW X6. All three vehicles were awarded an overall 8.2 rating out of 10. One of the biggest differences among these three vehicles is that the Lincoln starts at a lower price point and the BMW is much more expensive. Both the Volvo and the Lincoln have a near perfect safety score – 9.7 out of 10.

The winner of the U.S. News rankings was the 2017 Tesla Model X. You will notice, however, that the Volvo does rank almost an entire point higher than the Tesla for its interior. In addition, the Tesla starts at almost double the price of the XC90.

Pros and Cons of the Volvo XC90

Every vehicle has both its great qualities and problem areas. Let’s consider what the Volvo has to offer, both good and bad.


When looking at what Volvo has done right, we have to start with the captivating beauty of this luxurious design. Let’s face it – Volvo created a piece of art in this midsize SUV, and it is nothing short of elegant. The cabin displays an extension of this beauty. All materials used in the interior are of the highest quality.

Volvo has created a vehicle with solid driving dynamics. The precise handling of this SUV helps to inspire confidence while on the road.

We can’t talk about the pros without touching on the safety aspects of this SUV.  If you’ll be toting your family around, safety will be the number-one priority. Volvo is known for their attention to detail in this area, and they’ve received the rankings to prove it. They’ve also gone a step above the competition by making many of their safety features standard instead of optional.

As discussed, the XC90 features spacious seating in the second and third rows. This has been an issue with some luxury midsize SUVs, so it is nice to see Volvo offering the extra space. Also a nice touc is the four-zone climate system, passengers in the third row can regulate their own airflow. If you fold the seats down for cargo, it’s easy to control the climate from the central touchscreen.

Overall, in the Pros column, Volvo hit the nail on the head with its quick and efficient T8 model. And the plug-in hybrid is sure to be a success among consumers looking to go green.


The first and obvious downfall of the Volvo is the pricing. Yes, it is lower than many of the luxury midsize SUVs, but that doesn’t change the fact that several of the higher-end models competitors approach first-time-home monthly mortgage payment level. If you choose to save money and go with the base trim, your vehicle might lack many of the best features.

When compared to some other models on the market, the XC90 comes up short on performance. We wish they would’ve done a little more to upgrade to a more powerful engine. While most people won’t notice the difference on an everyday drive, there are some minor powertrain flaws.

When it comes to the touchscreen functionality, some controls are difficult to use at first. While this is something that most people get used to, there is a learning curve.

Finally, when driving the T8 hybrid model, you may notice a strange feeling when braking. It is nothing glaring, but the braking system also takes some getting used to, especially if you’re used to driving vehicles made by a different car maker. Overall, these negative aspects are minor when compared to the space, luxury and overall feel of the Volvo XC90.

Final Verdict

After carefully weighing everything the Volvo XC90 has to offer, we feel confident in recommending this luxury midsize SUV for upscale families across America. With an emphasis on safety without skimping on luxury, this vehicle richly cradles your loved ones driving both in the city or on the highway.  

In addition, the spacious seating and rich amenities throughout the cabin make this SUV comfortable for every passenger. It isn’t often that you can all pile into one car and spread out without complaints.

Considering the price, overall value and stylish design, we believe the 2018 Volvo XC90 will make many American families feel happy, comfortable and safe.