Modern Motoring - 6 takeaways from the 2017 Volvo XC90 (T8 Plug-in hybrid & T6 R Design)

For the Swedish brand that was once teetering on irrelevancy compared to the competition, the XC90 is what you call the “saviour.” The Volvo site says it’s the most awarded SUV of the century (even though the century is weeks away from turning 17) and that’s an accomplishment - it’s one of the most impressive vehicles on today’s market. We’ll go through the aesthetics throughout the vehicle in this review but what we’ll focus on are two very different engines: the T6 AWD R-Design and the T8 PHEV AWD Inscription. And with that, here are our six takeaways from the 2016 Volvo XC90.


As the Volvo brand moves forward, the appearance factor is an unusually high priority. The first generation XC90 far overstayed its welcome from 2002 to 2014; 12 years with minor tinkering as the other luxury movers did full redesigns was a puzzling strategy. 
However, the “good things come to those (who are sometimes forced) to wait” mantra was trumpeted by Volvo when they debuted the 2015 model year XC90.

The 2016 offering is remarkably similar to the 2015. The current model is absolutely beautiful, starting with the “Thor’s Hammer” headlights to the elegant tail lights. There are more flowing design lines than ever before and despite its large size, it doesn’t have that big and boxy look. Simply put, the XC90 blends modern design, sportiness, elegance and simplicity and it stands out in the luxury crowd.


Volvo proclaims that “No one will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by 2020.” They’re already known for their forward thinking safety technologies on prior models and the XC90 follows suit.

What Volvo offers XC90 drivers are the common 360 degree camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Active High Beam, Park Assist, Blind Spot Information, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Keeping Aid. The Pedestrian Detection is new-ish (and even brakes for you if the situation requires it) and the same goes for cyclists. There’s even a pedestrian airbag that reduces the impact but sadly, it’s not yet available in Canada. 

Volvo not only invented the three point seatbelt in 1959 - they now automatically tighten within a few thousandths of a second after a collision.


A 9.3 inch vertically based tablet-esque touch screen infotainment system that’s intuitive and easy to use is the interior jewel of the XC90. You swipe left to right and up and down to navigate the system and the layout is extremely user-friendly.

Just the sheer size makes this one of, if not the best, infotainment systems on the market. Complete with Apple CarPlay, there’s everything from climate and seat adjustments to driving statistics and much more that’s controlled by the Sensus system. The Volvo website has a cool interactive page where you can try out the system.


Volvo makes some of the most comfortable seats in the industry. With ample thigh and back support and 14 ways to move the seats to fit nearly any body type, the XC90 makes for an ideal vehicle for road trips with the family, whether it’s Canada’s east coast or Florida. The materials used are very high quality and the 40/20/40 rear seat configuration allows for plenty of cargo shapes to fit. 

There’s plenty of space in the rear seats so passengers won’t be cramped, which is a nice touch as it’ll be mainly used as a family hauler. Cargo space with all seats down registers at 2,427 L and there’s an option to choose from a five or seven seat option. For the lucky two in the front seat, fit and finish are beautiful and elegantly designed.

10 speakers come standard and there’s an option for 19 with a 1,400 watt Bowers and Wilkins Sound System for those who want impeccable sound.


Volvo’s got some options for you with the XC90 - seven to be exact.
(MSRP as per Volvo Canada on November 21, 2016, subject to change)

  • T5 AWD Momentum 5 Passenger $55,650
  • T5 AWD Momentum 7 Passenger $57,200
  • T6 AWD Momentum $61,300
  • T6 AWD R-Design $65,850
  • T6 AWD Inscription $67,450
  • T8 PHEV AWD R-Design $77,650
  • T8 PHEV AWD Inscription $79,250

There’s many different packages and options to pick from, including a four-corner air suspension for $2,350 which takes an already stellar ride quality and makes it that much better.
Regardless of where you land in the nearly $25,000 price ladder, there’s an XC90 that will fit your wants and needs.


The XC90 comes with one engine, which is a 2.0 L inline four-cylinder that’s turbocharged and supercharged. Yup, Volvo’s done away with the six cylinder version and done more with less. I drove the top end T8 Inscription first and the hybrid option gives you a boost in power. It has a 313 gasoline powered motor coupled with an 87 horsepower electric motor for a total of 400 ponies and 472 lb-ft. of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. For a hybrid, there’s plenty of power and response. The high “get up and go” factor is remarkable on straightaways and more importantly, in passing situations. The crisp, refined power that’s produced through only four cylinders is very impressive and will surely impress buyers.

The XC90 is rated for 22 km of EV-only travel and the regenerative technology will allow for more. I managed to squeeze 30 km of EV-only mileage, but weather, accessories, and what you’re hauling will affect that. 
10.1 City / 8.8 Highway / 9.5 combined L/100 km are the fuel ratings for this motor. Charging wise, a 110 V outlet takes about seven hours and the faster 220 V will run you two and a half hours.

The T6 R Design engine is rated at 330 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque through the same eight speed gearbox. While not as swift as the aforementioned, there’s still respectable power to be utilized. In this case, it’s more about the smooth acceleration than the sprint to the finish line. The T6 offers Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, Individual, and Off Road settings and I’d predict most drivers will live in the Comfort and Eco world. There’s still excitement to be had behind the wheel as this engine does offer a spirited driving experience.
Fuel efficiency rates at 11.5 City / 9.5 Highway / 10.6 Combined for L/100 km.

Enjoy the full gallery below: