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The Volvo XC90, from a mid-size luxury utility vehicle segment, was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in 2002 and has been a big seller for more than a decade. Then, it was mounted on the same platform other Volvo vehicles, including the S80, were – the Volvo P2 platform. The second-generation XC90 was launched at the end of 2014, based on the Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA). However, it isn’t the only significant innovation applied in the vehicle. The new XC90 got upgraded powertrain and interior design apart from groundbreaking technologies and safety features.
The Volvo XC90 of the 2016 production year has been completely redesigned since the very launch of the model back in 2002. The SUV is powered by a new engine now, offers its passengers improved comfort, and surprises them with pioneering infotainment and safety technologies. However, nothing of the kind can be said about its exterior, which underwent the least alterations.
The new XC90, using a steel monocoque body, is longer (by 5.5 in) and has a longer wheelbase than its predecessors and some vehicles by other manufacturers in the segment (the Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X5 for example).
The classic Volvo’s traits are preserved in it: it looks sophisticated, with nothing in excess although the contours are smoother and more concise than its precursors’. The model’s exterior isn’t ostentatious but self-effacing (it definitely isn’t for those who like to lay special emphasis on their social status).
The 2016 Volvo XC90 is really outstanding. The thing is that its exterior and interior dimensions aren’t proportioned (in a good way). Somehow, its exterior size manages to conceal the incredible spaciousness inside. Moreover, it’s a luxury SUV which luxury isn’t so much obvious until you get inside.
Interior & Comfort
The 2016 Volvo XC90 isn’t German, American, Japanese, or Korean. You know it for sure the moment you climb into. The cabin with wooden, metal, and leather elements make clear that it’s Swedish. The XC90’s cabin is where its splendour can be seen, touched, and smelled. It can be two-tone or all-black. In any case, it’s very light due to large windows and a panoramic sunroof (standard).
There’s a large 9-in LCD colour touchscreen display installed in the centre of the dashboard. It uses the same operational principle as the most modern electronic devices, so you operate it intuitively. The home screen shows four windows: phone, navigation, audio, and an app used the last. While most of the functions are activated with the help of swiping, double tapping, and pinching, some of them can be regulated with a rotating knob or steering wheel buttons.
When the automaker affirmed that the 2016 Volvo XC90 can accommodate seven passengers, they meant it. They say it took the manufacturer seven years to develop the front seats that are electronically adjustable in various ways. The second-row seats (as well as all the seats in the vehicle) can slide forth and back separately. The 40/20/40 seat backs allow folding down as much as you need. In the centre of the row, there can be placed a child booster cushion if you opt for it (the cushion doesn’t only improve a child’s side and forward visibility during the ride but also lifts them so that they could use a seatbelt the most efficiently).
All the seat rows provide plenty of head- and legroom except for the third one where legroom is somewhat restricted. This notwithstanding, it can seat two adults if passengers on the second-row seats agree to move a little forward. The fact that the third row is functional in the XC90 makes the SUV a better choice if compared to its rivals. It’s another proof that it’s much more capacious inside than it may seem from the outside. Moreover, each row is higher than the one ahead. It allows all passengers, wherever they sit, enjoy unobstructed view of the road.
Cargo capacity in the 2016 Volvo XC90 is 15.8 cu ft when all the seats are in place. When the third row is folded flat, it’s increased to 41.8 cu ft; when the second row of seats is also bent flat, the figure is 85.7 cu ft. There are a cargo divider, which keeps stuff separated during the journey, and a power tailgate in the vehicle. A lot of small storage compartments are scattered across the cabin.
Particular manoeuvers can be difficult to execute in the XC90 due to confined rear visibility (a common problem in large vehicles). However, the 360-degree Surround View camera system solves this issue easily. As for road, engine, and wind noise penetrating into the cabin during the ride, you won’t hear anything.
Engine & Fuel Economy
The 2016 Volvo XC90 can be equipped with 2.0-L 4-cylinder direct-injected super-turbocharged petrol and diesel engines that generate 316 hp at 5,700 rpm and 295 lb/ft of torque at 2,250-4,500 rpm. It lets the vehicle accelerate to 62 mph in 6.4 seconds. The SUV uses the Aisin 8-speed automatic transmission and Haldex AWD system. The XC90 powered by these engines offers the following drive modes: the Individual, Comfort, Dynamic, Eco, and Off Road.
Apart from this, the new XC90 is available with the ‘Twin Engine’ plug-in hybrid that also uses the super-turbocharged engine together with an electric motor and battery. This system, making 400 hp and 443 lb/ft of torque, can accelerate the vehicle to 62 mph in 6.1-5.9 seconds. A driver can choose from seven drive modes: the same Individual and Off Road plus the Hybrid, Power, Pure, Save, and the AWD mode.
The super-turbocharged 2.0-L engine is estimated at 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway (22 mpg combined). The start-stop function, which turns the engine off when the vehicle isn’t on the run, contributes to fuel economy.
The U.S. EPA hasn’t rated the plug-in hybrid motor of the 2016 Volvo XC90 yet. But the manufacturer has high hopes for it to achieve at least 59 MPGe. According to the European NEDC cycle, the SUV exploiting the plug-in hybrid technology can cover 25-mile distance on electric power alone. Chances are the U.S. EPA will estimate it at 18-21 miles.
The 2016 Volvo XC90 uses a lot of innovative safety features. Although the SUV hasn’t been rated by either the NHTSA or IIHS yet, the automaker expects it’ll demonstrate excellent results as its precursors did. The new XC90 comes standard with seat belts for all seven passengers, anti-lock brakes, and stability and traction controls.
The Run Off Road Design is used when the Volvo XC90 is constructed. It means that all the seats as well as the body structure are built in a special way aimed at decreasing probability of the passengers getting injured and minimizing the vehicle’s damage if it unintentionally goes off the road. The vehicle is also equipped with the Lane Departure Warning and Road Side Information systems, Rear Collision Warning, Park Assist Pilot, and Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection. The Auto Braking at Intersections reacts to side traffic and traffic coming toward by slowing the vehicle down or stopping it.
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