We can think of no better place to spend a family road trip.
The family road trip seems to be a lost past time in this day and age. Packing up and driving to an exciting destination can be a rewarding experience even in a rented minivan but if we had a choice of any vehicle on the market, we'd pick the 2020 Volvo XC90 Hybrid. We recently spent a week testing a 2020 XC90 T8 Inscription trim, the most luxurious (and most powerful) variant of Volvo's flagship SUV. There may be larger SUVs on the market capable of carrying your family and their stuff but the Volvo has five amazing features that make it the perfect family road trip car.
Volvo offers the XC90 with three powertrain options: the T5, T6, and the hybridized T8. The latter pairs a twin-charged four-cylinder with an electric motor to deliver 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque going out to e-AWD through an eight-speed transmission. This is the type of passing power you want on a road trip, to easily breeze past those left-lane hogs holding you up. Only around five and a half seconds is required for a run to 60 and the T8 drivetrain even supplies 18 miles of driving on electric power alone. Between a full charge and a tank of gas, you get around 520 miles before needing to stop.
No matter how comfortable a car seat is, you are bound to need a stop after a certain number of hours. The Volvo XC90 is no different but the Swedish automaker's massage function should help keep you in the seat for longer. Available on the Inscription trim as part of a $3,100 Luxury Package, Volvo's massaging seats are among the best we've ever tested at any price point. Sadly, the kids in the back will have to look jealously at their parents in the front because only the driver and passenger seats have this function.
While you relax in your comfy massage chair, the XC90 will help keep you even more mellow with its advanced Pilot Assist suite of active safety technology. Pilot Assist bundled a host of safety features, most importantly adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, which can essentially drive the car with limited intervention. Unlike Cadillac SuperCruise, you will have to keep your hands on the wheel but the system does make driving feel less involved. Pilot Assist ranks highly with SuperCruise and Autopilot as one of the best semi-autonomous systems.
A family road trip vehicle needs to have plenty of space for passengers and cargo and the XC90 does not disappoint. Volvo offers the XC90 with six or seven seats, both of which offer 37 inches of legroom in the second row. The third row is a bit tight with 31.9 inches, so the XC90 might not be the ideal vehicle for carrying more than four for a long distance. On the plus side, with the third row stowed the XC90 offers 34.1 cubic feet of space or a massive 85.7 cubic feet with the second row folded. We prefer the ease of access granted by the six-seater model with captain's chairs.
We've said it before and we will say it again, the Volvo's Bowers & Wilkins premium sound is one of our favorite audio systems that we've ever tested. In the XC90, opting for the B&W system gets you 19 speakers with 1,400 watts, all for the relative bargain price of $3,200. Creating this type of sound experience in your home would cost thousands more and the system is so clear, it sounds like you are listening to music live.