Our 2003 SUV of the Year Finally Gets Redesigned
We Like: Excellent design, top safety scores, plug-in hybrid availability
We Don’t Like: Lack of USB ports; Infotainment system can be complicated; the fact it took Volvo 12 years to make a second-gen XC90
It’s been a long time since we last had our hands on a new Volvo XC90. Sure, there’ve been face-lifts, new powertrains, and other updates, but the fact of the matter is that the XC90 dates back to a time when Nickleback’s “How You Remind Me” (ugh) sat at the top of the Billboard charts. With 12 years to develop the second-generation XC90, the pressure was on Volvo to develop a successor that captured the magic of the original, which we named our 2003 SUV of the Year.
Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other SUV of the Year contenders and finalists at the links below. Check out the SUV of the Year evaluation process HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.
Thankfully, they’ve mostly delivered. Judges lauded the Volvo’s handsome new sheetmetal. Many liked the tidy, wagonesque proportions, the simple design lines, and the “Thor’s Hammer” LED running lights. The interior won praise, too. Judges found the layout to be functional and elegant with comfortable seats and plenty of room forward of the best-left-for-children third row.
Under the hood, the XC90 sports two powertrain options that couldn’t be more different than the turbo I-5, twin-turbo I-6, and Yamaha-sourced V-8 that powered the original. The base engine, dubbed the T6, is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged and supercharged I-4 that makes a healthy 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque paired with an eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive. Optional is the T8 plug-in hybrid, which pairs the same four-cylinder engine with a rear-axle-mounted 87 hp electric motor, giving the XC90 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque with a claimed 25 miles of EV range. The two engines both proved to be up to the task of motivating the XC90, with our T6 tester accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 6.7 seconds.
Although the logbooks were generally filled with favorable impressions on the Volvo, there’s still certainly some room for improvement. The XC90’s forward collision alert and automatic braking software seemed prone to false alarms, the Volvo slamming on its brakes for no reason a handful of times during our time with it. Ed Loh describes it as a “coffee-spilling, baby crying, nose-diving, embarrassing force.” A few also thought that the XC90’s Sensus infotainment system was a tad too complicated, and others bemoaned the lack of power outlets and USB ports in a family-oriented crossover.
|2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription|
|Price As Tested||$67,605|
|Vehicle Layout||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|Engine||3.5L/260-hp/240-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|Transmission||continuously variable automatic|
|Length x Width x Height||192.8 x 75.4 x 66.6|
|Curb Weight (F/R Dist)||4,048 lb (58/42%)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph||7.4 sec|
|Quarter Mile||15.6 sec @ 91.8 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||115 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.82 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||27.8 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||21/28/24 mpg|
|Energy Consumption, City/Hwy||160/120 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 Emissions||0.82 lb/mile|
|Real MPG City/Hwy/Comb||20/27/23|
2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contenders:
- BMW X6
- Chevrolet Trax
- Fiat 500X
- Ford Edge
- Ford Explorer
- Honda HR-V
- Hyundai Tucson
- Jeep Renegade
- Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Mazda CX-3