2016 Volvo XC90 Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Aug 26, 2014
  • Debuts new Volvo design themes
  • Standard turbocharged and supercharged 4-cylinder engine
  • Available plug-in hybrid model with 7-passenger seating
  • Tablet-style touch screen; responsive when user is wearing gloves
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration
  • New City Safety and IntelliSafe technologies
  • First 1,927 units to be special First Edition versions
  • Starting price less than $50,000


For the first time since the XC90 went on sale as a 2003 model, it has been completely redesigned. The new 2016 Volvo XC90 signals the future of the brand in terms of styling, autonomous driving technologies, infotainment systems, powertrain configurations, and more.

A 7-passenger, luxury crossover SUV, the XC90 T6 AWD has a base price of $48,900. A plug-in hybrid version, called the XC90 T8 AWD, will also be available, featuring an estimated electric vehicle range of 25 miles.

Exterior Features

Blending traditional Volvo styling themes with new approaches, the 2016 XC90 points the way toward the future of the automaker's design vision. Highlights include a revamped Volvo iron-mark grille, new "Thor's hammer" LED running lights, and thinner taillights that follow the body's contours from the roof down. A set of 19-in. aluminum wheels is standard.

Interior Features

Calling the new 2016 XC90's interior "the epitome of Scandinavian luxury," Volvo supplies 7-passenger seating in a vehicle that it says delivers the interior room and flexibility of a comfortable SUV with the agility of a smaller and lower vehicle. In fact, the automaker designed the XC90's third-row seat to ensure comfort for adults up to 5 feet 6 inches tall.

New seat designs include front-seat cushion extensions and memory for three different drivers' preferences. The second row features three individual seats, and the third-row seat is mounted inboard and theater-style for a good outward view.

Volvo takes a minimalistic approach to the controls, grouping as many functions as possible into the standard tablet-style center touch-screen display, which employs infrared technology to ensure responsiveness when the user is wearing gloves. The infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technologies, and is paired with adaptive digital instrumentation and a head-up display.

Additionally, every XC90 is equipped with leather upholstery, real wood trim, crystal glass gearshift lever, navigation system, and a power panoramic sunroof.

Optional Features

Buyers can select from two exterior styling packages. The Urban Luxury package adds 21-in. polished aluminum wheels, color-coordinated exterior trim, and polished stainless steel trim. The Rugged Luxury package adds 22-in. aluminum wheels, Tech Matte Black trim, stainless steel front and rear skid plates, illuminated running boards, and integrated exhaust outlets.

Heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats are available, along with heated second-row outboard seats and power third-row seats. Four-zone automatic climate control and a third-row air conditioning system are options, and a 19-speaker, 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system is also available. Volvo says it turns the entire XC90 into one giant subwoofer.

Volvo is launching the XC90 as a First Edition model, which is offered only with Onyx Black paint and 21-in. wheels. Amber-colored premium leather, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power third-row seats, leather-wrapped dashboard, special walnut wood inlays, and the Bower & Wilkins audio system are also included in the XC90 First Edition, serialized and limited to 1,927 units to commemorate the year Volvo was established.

Under the Hood

Two versions of the new 2016 Volvo XC90 will be available. The XC90 T6 AWD will have a turbocharged and supercharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. This is the same Drive-E engine currently offered in top versions of the smaller XC60.

The XC90 T8 AWD is equipped with what Volvo calls a "twin-engine" plug-in hybrid powertrain. Basically, it includes the T6 AWD gasoline engine, an electric motor, and a rechargeable battery to deliver 400 horsepower and 472 lb.-ft. of torque at the same time that it offers up to 25 miles of electric vehicle range.


With the debut of the 2016 XC90, Volvo groups all of its autonomous braking features under its standard package of City Safety technologies. Collectively, they are designed to monitor the road ahead for objects, vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians, and to take action to avoid a collision or mitigate the effects of one. New for the redesigned XC90, an Auto Brake at Intersection system is designed to automatically apply the SUV's brakes if the driver attempts to turn left in front of fast-moving, oncoming vehicles.

The XC90 also debuts a new Run Off Road Protection package designed to help protect front-seat occupants in the event the SUV veers off the highway. The seat belts automatically tighten, and the energy-absorbing seats are designed to limit spine injury to the best extent possible.

Next-generation versions of Volvo's Whiplash Protection System and Roll Stability Control systems are standard for the new XC90, and a new rear-impact Pre-Crash Protection System senses when another car is going to crash into the back of the SUV, tightening the seat belts, flashing the lights, and activating the brakes to restrict the potential for secondary collisions following the initial impact.

The XC90 is also offered with a blind-spot information system, lane-keeping aid system,cross-traffic alert, and Driver Alert Control with Rest Stop Guidance.


In addition to the Apple- and Android-compatible touch-screen infotainment system that's designed to respond to glove-clad fingers, the new XC90 offers Park and Pay technology to help owners find a parking space and to pay for using it.

Park Assist Pilot technology is optional, assisting the driver in terms of entering and exiting parallel spaces and adding a new feature that autonomously backs the XC90 into a perpendicular space. A 360-degree surround-view camera is included with Park Assist Pilot.

The new XC90 is also available with an adaptive cruise control system with Queue Assist technology, which allows the SUV to autonomously manage stop-and-go traffic situations.
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