What the experts say about the 2017 Volvo XC90

An analyst, a safety official, and an editor weigh in.

2017 Volvo XC90 T8 R-design.
2017 Volvo XC90 T8. –Volvo

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2017 Volvo XC90

Safe, luxurious, and affordable, the redesigned Volvo XC90 launched the Swedish automaker’s comeback. Take a closer look, and it’s no wonder why the luxury midsize SUV has garnered a long list of awards since its debut.

The XC90 comes in three trims varying in seating capacity and horsepower. The base trim, called T5, seats five passengers and comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 250 horsepower. The mid-grade T6 trim boosts seating capacity to seven and adds all-wheel drive and a 316-horsepower turbocharged and supercharged engine. The T8 plug-in hybrid returns 400 horsepower and can travel 13 miles on a battery charge. All trims are equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

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The SUV stands out for its elegant cabin decked in leather, wood, and padded surfaces, and spacious third row available on the upper trims. The XC90 also comes with more cargo space than many of its rivals, a standard hands-free power liftgate, and an optional air suspension that lowers the rear to make it easier to load.

Bluetooth, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay connectivity come standard. The XC90 also includes the Volvo Sensus infotainment system with a 9-inch touch screen that responds even when you’re wearing gloves.

The 2017 Volvo XC90 earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, acing all five of its crash tests, and a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and Volvo’s City Safety suite, which includes lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking, come standard. Blind spot monitoring, a 360-degree camera, and front parking sensors are available.

The Volvo XC90 T5 trim starts at $45,750. The T6 and T8 trims begin at $52,250 and $67,800, respectively.

What the experts are saying

Volvo returns

“The Volvo XC90 represents Volvo truly getting back into the game after a long period where the brand languished under Ford’s ownership. Now owned by Chinese automaker Geely, Volvo developed a new platform and new engines that help make the second generation XC90 a true first class luxury SUV. Its design is unmistakably Swedish, and it’s remarkably solid and composed on the road. The interior is spacious, and the third row seating is impressively spacious given the manageable exterior size. Perhaps most impressive is the technology suite, with Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system standing out as one of the best in the business. Of course, being a Volvo, it is absolutely state of the art in terms of safety features. The XC90 is one of my clear favorites in the increasingly competitive luxury SUV marketplace, and it truly puts Volvo back on the map.” – Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at marketing research and consulting firm AutoPacific

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Excelling in safety

“The Volvo XC90 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2017.  This luxury SUV misses getting the extra credit ‘Plus’ designation because its best available headlights are rated only marginal. IIHS added headlight performance to our safety criteria in 2017.  Half of all deaths in crashes happen at night, or at dusk or dawn, so there’s a big opportunity to improve safety with better headlights. Volvo should get kudos for being the early leader in putting automatic emergency braking technology on its vehicles as standard equipment. The XC90’s standard City Safety system earns a superior rating in our front crash prevention tests.” –Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

An affordable standout

“The Volvo XC90 sets the standard for luxury SUVs in nearly every area – interior look and feel, compelling technology, seat comfort, audio sound quality and safety.  Plus it’s fun to drive, delivers excellent handling and has distinct driving modes that really work giving the SUV a different dynamic feel on the road based on whatever the driver chooses. With an understated elegance inside and a very expensive look overall, the XC90’s value is remarkable. The fact that Volvo’s plushest SUV starts at just above $45,000 is great for shoppers who want a luxury SUV that doesn’t look like everything else on the road and is about the same price as a nicely equipped near-luxury sedan.” – Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader