Shopping in the premium mid-size SUV segment means scouring catalogs from brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo, with the Swedish automaker having won over buyers with tech-forward vehicles that are opulent in a low-key way. The XC90 brings three rows, a gorgeous cabin, exceptional safety standards, and a smooth-as-butter ride to the table, but the BMW X5 outdoes it in terms of power and driver enjoyment. The 2024 Volvo XC90 isn't comprehensively beaten as a whole, however, and has pricing, presence, and practicality on its side - it goes toe-to-toe with the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV, too, and doesn't have to bow its head. It's not the most potent or fuel-efficient in the segment, with a powerful, frugal plug-in-hybrid version available that puts the gas-only models on the back foot. So, what is there to consider in the standard lineup?
Not much changes for the new model year, and the Volvo XC90 carries over with just a few changes to the way you can customize your car. The Dark theme falls away, and laminated side windows are made standard on the top-spec Ultimate trim. This trim can now also be had with 22-inch wheels if you opt for the most powerful B6 engine.
The cheapest 2024 XC90 is the Core model with the B5 engine, which has an MSRP of $56,000, excluding the $1,195 destination fee. Adding the more potent engine will cost you $4,900. One step up to the Plus model sees the price of the 2024 Volvo XC90 increase to $59,900 with the B5 engine. The B6 will add $3,500 to the bill, and opting for the second-row captain's chairs requires a further $4,000 on this model. The Ultimate is the most expensive, with a starting price of $69,400, but you do get the more powerful engine as standard and switching out to the six-seater option costs only $500.
In this lineup, we don't necessarily recommend going for the Ultimate trim as a rule, unless budget isn't a concern. The added luxuries and tech are great, but if your budget is a little tighter, we'd opt for the mid-range Plus with the B6 engine. Adding in the upgraded Harman Kardon sound system will bring the total to $65,395 all-in, which is still cheaper than the Ultimate by at least $4k. The only things you'd be missing out on are ventilated Nappa leather seats, a crystal gear shifter, a head-up display, and the option to add on adaptive air suspension. Admittedly, the Ultimate does suit the XC90's intended personality the best, but kitted out this way will see pricing rise to a total of over $72k.
The interior of the Volvo XC90 can't be praised enough for its use of high-quality materials, its ergonomic layout, and the way it insulates occupants from the outside world.
A strong suit for the brand, the interior of the Volvo XC90 is everything we expect from a Volvo: understated luxury, elegance, and space. Depending on which trim you choose, you can have your new Volvo XC90 SUV with six seats, or seven, and in all configurations, the first two rows are the best place to spend your time. Not just in terms of space, but also comfort - heated seats up front are standard, and in higher trims, the second row gets heating. The clean-cut cabin design is uncluttered, functional, and easy to use, which goes a long way to ensuring your drive is stress-free. There's also a host of safety features from the entry-spec model, while the top-most trim gets a graphical head-up display and a premium Harman Kardon sound system. Four-zone climate control is standard across the range, as is a panoramic sunroof that makes the cabin feel even more airy and spacious.
The XC90 isn't the largest SUV out there, but it's big enough to accommodate seven occupants. The three-row configuration is standard across all trims, but the top two models allow you to switch out the middle row for two captain's chairs, dropping the seating capacity to six. As in most three-row SUVs, the third row is not overly spacious and will be cramped and restrictive for adults. The front two rows get ample space, with headroom being generous and legroom allowing even taller people to stretch out a little.
Cargo space in the Volvo XC90 is on par, if not slightly better than, most rivals. The cargo bay has a flat floor and there's no lip to lift items over, which makes larger and heavier items easy to haul. The trunk floor also has some additional covered storage and there are clever bag hooks that make it incredibly practical. With all seats folded down, you have up 85.7 cubic feet of space to fill, although the manufacturer notes that figure goes up to the headliner, so it will mean you can't see out the back if filled it to the brim. With all the seats in place, there are 12.6 cubes for groceries, school bags, or even a pooch or two on the way to the park. With only the third row folded, the XC90 offers 35.6 cubes of space.
Small-item storage options in the cabin are excellent, with a bin under the front central armrest as well as a wireless charging pad, and cupholders that can be closed up when not in use. There are door pockets and a glovebox, too, and the rear seats have an armrest with cupholders that flips down from the middle perch.
|Volvo XC90||BMW X5||Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV|
|6/7 Seater||5 Seater||5/7 Seater|
|38.9 in. 1st row|
38.5 in. 2nd row
36.3 in. 3rd row
|40.7 in. 1st row|
39.4 in. 2nd row
|40.5 in. 1st row |
36.9 in. 2nd row
TBA for 3rd row
|40.9 in. 1st row|
37 in. 2nd row
31.9 in. 3rd row
|39.8 in. 1st row|
37.4 in. 2nd row
|40.3 in. 1st row |
40.9 in. 2nd row
TBA for 3rd row
|12.6 - 85.7 ft³||33.9 - 72.3 ft³||33.3 - 74.9 ft³ (no third-row figures supplied)|
For those who adore a sublime, meticulously crafted interior, Volvo should be your first stop when car shopping. Tech-forward doesn't have to mean gaudy, flashy, or overly digital, and we love that the Volvo XC90 manages to combine both technology-rich and simple, straightforward elegance. Every surface is covered in fine materials, and even though the base Core models get leatherette for the seats, it feels high-end. Interior color options are limited to Blond with Charcoal along the dash and door cards, or only Charcoal. The latter doesn't show off the cabin as well, in our opinion. In either case, Iron Ore aluminum cabin trim is used.
One step up to the Plus trim means leather upholstery and an added color scheme: Maroon Brown. It's paired with Charcoal, which isn't going to be everyone's vibe, but it does look elegant with the Linear Walnut accent decor. Opting for the Blond switches this out for Gray Ash, which we are particularly fond of. Nappa leather is standard on the Ultimate trim, which also opens up Amber upholstery with Blackened Ash trim and Slate with Gray Ash trim. The honey-warm tones of the Amber work well with the XC90 - especially given this trim comes with an Orrefors crystal shifter that offsets so well against it.
For even more luxury, the optional Lounge Package on the Ultimate adds a nubuck textile finish to the headliner, roof pillars, and sun visors.
The feature count is high in the XC90, which is good given the price tag. From the base model, four-zone climate control, heated front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, keyless entry, a hands-free tailgate, and a HomeLink transceiver are standard. You also get a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control, and loads of power adjustment for the front seats. Plus models gain heating for the steering wheel and second row, and surround-view camera, while the top-spec Ultimate gets ventilated front seats and more adjustment opportunities for the front seats. It's also the only trim that can be optioned with a massage function for the front seats.
The infotainment system lives on a nine-inch touchscreen that comes programmed with Google built-in and Apple CarPlay, as well as Bluetooth, SiriusXM, and a ten-speaker basic sound system. The Ultimate comes with a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with an air-ventilated subwoofer, but an excellent 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio setup is available, which is still one of the best in the business.
|Four-zone climate control|
|Nine-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay/Google built-in|
|Heated rear seats|
|Ventilated front seats with Nappa leather|
|Graphical head-up display|
With two mild-hybrid engines on offer, buyers can choose between frugality and a little more eagerness off the line.
The XC90 lineup actually offers three powertrain options, but the most potent version, the T8 plug-in hybrid Recharge version, is reviewed separately. For the regular gas models, there are two options, but both the B5 and B6 options use the same basic engine, which is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine with mild-hybrid assist. The base B5 engine is available for the two lower trims, and this setup makes 247 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This allows the XC90 to get to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.
The B6 powertrain is standard on the Ultimate and optional on the lower-tier models and makes more impressive outputs, thanks to the addition of a supercharger. To get the Volvo XC90's 0-60 mph sprint down to 6.4 seconds, the B6 makes 295 hp and 310 lb-ft. In both cases, an eight-speed automatic transmission does duty, and all-wheel drive is your only drivetrain configuration. Volvo's focus on safety means the automaker limits all its vehicles to a top speed of 112 mph. In this application, that makes sense as the XC90 isn't a performance SUV. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is useful but less than the Merc GLE SUV's 7,700-lbs towing capacity. Even the BMW X5 can pull over 7,000 lbs behind it.
We've driven the AWD XC90 on various occasions and in both gas and hybrid guise and have found it to be pleasant and comfortable at its worst and genuinely sublime at its best. The latter requires the addition of the optional active air suspension, however, which is a $1,800 outlay and can only be had on the top-spec Ultimate trim. The adaptive suspension all but eliminates bumps and jostles, underscoring the SUV's comfort focus. The XC90 isn't the type of car that will stimulate a jolt of adrenalin, but for the driver, it is effortless and relaxing, even if the steering feel isn't as great as it is in German rivals.
The less powerful engine is the most efficient in the XC90 lineup, earning gas mileage figures of 22/27/24 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. This is almost as good as what the BMW X5 xDrive40i gets, but it's worth noting that the Bimmer comes with a much more powerful inline-six engine. The Volvo XC90 with the B6 engine achieves worse fuel economy at 20/26/23 mpg - similar to what the Merc GLE gets from a similar 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 255 hp. If you have to have an XC90 but want to prioritize either (or both) fuel economy and performance, the T8 Recharge is the way to go - it achieves 58 MPGe and 27 mpg combined on gas only and has a 33-mile electric range.
With a fuel tank capacity of 18.8 gallons, the XC90 has a range of 432 miles with the supercharged powertrain and 451 miles for the more frugal base engine.
|2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas B5|
|2.0L Twin-Charged Inline-4 Gas B6 |
|247 hp||295 hp|
|112 mph||112 mph|
|22/27/24 mpg||20/26/23 mpg|
|7.3 seconds||6.4 seconds|
With near-perfect safety scores and an enviable pedigree, the Volvo XC90 is at the top of its segment when it comes to keeping its passengers safe and sound.
Safety is another of the brand's strengths, so it's no surprise that every safety review of the Volvo XC90 is excellent. The NHTSA rates the 2024 model with top scores for all tests, barring the rollover evaluation, which earned four out of five stars - a common rating in the segment of tall SUVs. The IIHS has yet to evaluate the 2024 model, but the 2023 version (which isn't mechanically different) earned top scores of 'Good' for all tests other than headlights (Acceptable). So confident is the IIHS in the safety of the XC90 that it earned a Top Safety Pick+ award for 2023 - and for the three years preceding that.
These brilliant review results for the XC90 come courtesy of a comprehensive standard safety specification, which includes seven airbags, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot information with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, oncoming lane mitigation, front and rear park assist, and road sign information. Upgrading to the Plus adds a 360-degree camera and side park assist, but it's only the Ultimate that gets the graphical head-up display.
|BLIS with cross traffic alert|
|Oncoming lane mitigation and lane keep|
|Road sign information|
|Graphical head-up display|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
Reliability ratings for the Volvo XC90 aren't stellar, earning a score of 70 out of 100 from JD Power for quality and reliability. Three recalls have been issued by the NHTSA for 2023, which could have something to do with that. These recalls were for issues like a false warning message from the emergency call system, an error that may cause a loss of ABS and ESC, and a loss of drive power relating to the battery.
The standard warranty for the 2024 Volvo XC90 covers four years or 50,000 miles, and roadside assistance is included. Volvo also offers three years or 36,000 miles of complimentary maintenance in the USA, matching BMW in this regard.
We are fans of the Swedish design that manages to make a boxy SUV look suave and elegant. The XC90 range is understated and yet pleasing to the eye, with soft lines that don't try to hide the car's body style. This year, the Dark Theme that offered blacked-out exterior accents has been done away with, so chrome brightwork is standard fare. Up front, the grille in matte silver is bookended by LED headlights with signature Thor's Hammer motif. All models come with a panoramic roof and tinted rear windows.
Base models have 19-inch six-spoke Turbine Silver alloy wheels, which are upgraded to 20-inch 10-spoke Black Diamond Cut alloys on the Plus trim. The top-end model gets 21-inch items. Regardless of trim, the XC90 isn't available in any vibrant exterior colors, and buyers have to make do with a choice of grey, silver, white, black, or blue.
The Volvo XC90 is a thoughtfully designed and elegant vehicle that meets all of the criteria for being a good family car. It can seat up to seven - or six in absolute comfort - and has many comfort and convenience features. It's safe as houses with a track record that many SUVs can only dream about from the IIHS. But personal thoughts on style and design aside, it's not particularly potent, nor does that mean it's fuel efficient, and rivals outdo it on both counts - unless you opt for the XC90 Recharge, which changes the game entirely. But one of the advantages the XC90 has is that it starts at a cheaper price than both the BMW X5 and the Merc GLE SUV, so choosing the T8 version means spending more than $71k for the base trim. Our thoughts are that if you're buying for the sake of family safety and comfort, the Volvo XC90 should be at the top of your list. However, if you want a spritely SUV with good fuel economy returns, go straight to the T8 Recharge and skip the gas models entirely.
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