2019 Volvo XC90

2019 Volvo XC90
2019 Volvo XC90 1
2019 Volvo XC90 Dashboard

2019 Volvo XC90 Review: Who Needs A V6?

It's hard to squeeze three rows of comfortable seating into even a large SUV, so the fact that the mid-size Volvo XC90 manages to be spacious and stylish with seven seats is impressive - and it provides a decent amount of cargo space to boot. Utilizing Volvo's Drive-E lineup of powertrains, four-cylinder engines abound, equipped with either a turbo in default form or a turbo and a supercharger in the case of the 316-horsepower strong T6 derivatives. But, its ride quality is a bit disappointing for an SUV with such a high price tag, especially in a class of SUV that technically contains the Porsche Cayenne in addition to more traditional rivals like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE. Still, with a long list of advanced safety features, a high-quality infotainment suite, and an upscale interior, the Volvo XC90 has plenty of appeal and should be near the top of your list if you're considering a luxury family-focused crossover.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 9 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 10 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 10 /10
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2019 Volvo XC90 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 XC90?

The 2019 model Volvo XC90 sees few changes, with most of them being behind-the-scenes streamlining of optional features. The standard wheels see new designs introduced while Maple Brown, Pine Grey, and Luminous Grey have been dropped from the color palette. The optional packages have been reconfigured with the Convenience and Momentum Plus packages removed in favor of the Advanced and Multimedia Plus packages. Models with all-wheel-drive, which is standard on the trims equipped with the T6 engine, now come with heated front seats as standard, while the upper trims receive a Harman Kardon stereo system.

Pros and Cons

  • Upscale interior
  • Plenty of standard features
  • Superior passenger space despite third row of seats
  • Sharp steering and adequate handling
  • High cargo capacity
  • Clunky transmission
  • Weak standard engine
  • Unrefined T6 engine
  • Touchscreen can be finicky
  • Cramped third-row seating

What's the Price of the 2019 Volvo XC90?

Competitively priced for the luxury SUV segment, the base-model T5 Momentum asks for as little as $47,700 for a new purchase. The R-Design using the same engine will cost you $54,950, while adding all-wheel-drive to either trim will add $2,200 to the price tag. Moving up to the supercharged engine, the T6 Momentum starts at $56,300, with the R-Design adding $4,950. The top-tier T6 Inscription comes in a little more expensive at $62,350. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and a $995 destination fee.

Best Deals on 2019 Volvo XC90

2019 Volvo XC90 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
T5 Momentum
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
T5 R-Design
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
T6 Momentum
2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
T6 R-Design
2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
T6 Inscription
2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2019 Volvo XC90 Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

The mid-size SUV handles surprisingly well for a vehicle of its size and weight, even if it does come in a bit lighter than similarly sized rivals. The steering is light and sharp, which allows the crossover to respond more dexterously, although it gains heft at higher speeds to ensure the vehicle maintains stability on the highway. Negotiating busy in-town roads or packed parking lots is never a chore, despite the larger dimensions of the XC90.

The brakes are a bit on the sensitive side, providing disproportionate stopping power to the amount of input. But when you need extra power, you may find them lacking, as the brakes take slightly longer than average to bring the bulky SUV to a complete stop. But what they lack in brute force they make up for in finesse, as they never allow the crossover to lurch or wobble as it comes to a halt.

The XC90 handles quite well on the road, but never forget that it is a large and heavy vehicle, and not particularly sporty for an SUV. It can handle turns well enough at regular speeds, but even the impressive stability control system won't help you if you try them at higher velocities. Keep the Volvo's limits in mind, though, and you will find it a capable and pleasing drive. The crossover's subpar ride comfort does detract from this, though. While the smaller wheels on the T5 Momentum lessen road impacts, the upper trims are particularly susceptible to bumps in the road. Road noise intrudes into the cabin on anything but smooth surfaces. The overall ride quality can be improved by opting for the optional air suspension, but even this won't deliver the kind of ride we expect from a luxury SUV.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Volvo XC90 A Good SUV?

This is definitely one of the better mid-size luxury SUVs on the market. While the base turbocharged four-cylinder can run out of steam pulling the heavy crossover around town, the available twincharged inline-four puts the Volvo more on par with its V6-powered rivals. It will never be an athletic SUV, but it doesn't try to sell itself as one. The XC90 focuses on its strengths, which include a luxurious and well-appointed interior with plenty of convenience and comfort features to ensure that your ride is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Paired with these are a plethora of advanced safety features that normally only come equipped on the top-most trims of even luxury vehicles.

When combined with excellent town handling, sharp steering, and competitive fuel economy, it's not hard to see why the Volvo SUV is so appealing to those who desire a practical, but pleasurable, daily driver for the whole family. The spacious interior and ample cargo capacity make this the perfect car for taking the kids to soccer practice or carting the whole family off for a quick weekend away. There are certainly sportier SUVs out there, and even some that are more luxurious, but few crossovers on the market can blend together so many opposing priorities to create an SUV that can suit just about any need. The Volvo XC90 may not be perfect, but it comes pretty darn close, and for that reason, it is worth serious consideration when deciding on a new vehicle the whole family can enjoy.

What Volvo XC90 Model Should I Buy?

Opting for one of the T6 models is a must, as the base turbo four-cylinder engine simply doesn't move the hefty SUV as easily as we'd prefer. That said, the entry-level T6 Momentum should present buyers with everything they need to enjoy the Volvo luxury SUV, with lush synthetic leather, plenty of comfort and convenience features, an upscale infotainment suite with smartphone integration, and all the advanced safety features you could need to ensure your family's security. And even then, the T6 Momentum shouldn't break your bank at $55,700. The smaller wheels should be paired with the optional air suspension to get the best ride quality.

Check out other Volvo XC90 Styles

2019 Volvo XC90 Comparisons

Audi Q7 Audi
Volvo XC60 Carbuzz

2019 Volvo XC90 vs Audi Q7

The base turbocharged four-cylinder engine on the Q7 is just as underwhelming as the one found under the hood of the XC90, but the German SUV does weigh in a bit heavier than its Swedish rival. The 329-hp supercharged V6, however, gives the Audi a decent amount of kick, making it the more athletic of the two options. It is also more luxurious inside, with superb levels of comfort and extremely well-thought-out design elements. Unfortunately, it sacrifices more cargo space than the XC90 to achieve this. The Q7 also doesn't come standard with quite as many advanced safety features as the XC90, and its lower starting price is slightly undermined by marginally worse fuel economy. While its engines may be a strong point, they aren't strong enough to compensate for everything else the XC90 does so well. The Swede is the better all-rounder here.

See Audi Q7 Review

2019 Volvo XC90 vs Volvo XC60

With the same choice of engines and trim levels, the XC60 is almost an identical twin to the XC90, albeit a slightly smaller version. If you don't need a third row of seats, then the smaller SUV should certainly garner some attention. Its smaller size and lower weight mean that it can better capitalize on the power of the engines, especially the twin-charged T6. The XC60 also comes with almost all the same features as its larger sibling, with similar customization options. Naturally, it costs less and boasts slightly better fuel economy. Still, as much as it shares the same advantages of the larger crossover, it has the same weaknesses, too. It's not a particularly exciting drive and the ride quality could be a bit better. But if you need a well-appointed and reliable SUV for a family of four to five, then the XC60 might be the smarter buy here.

See Volvo XC60 Review
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