If you're enamored with sport utility vehicles, you'll like what you see with the updated 2020 Volvo XC90 lineup. It's been completely refreshed and is now available with a six-seat variant that makes it easier to get into the third row.
No longer boxy, some Volvos are downright sexy and the 2020 XC90 R-Design slips into that description. It has eye-appealing sporty looks both outside and in, with unique styling details and colors on the exterior along with 20-inch standard wheels; its Scandinavian designers have adorned the seats with perforated Nappa leather upholstery and added metal mesh aluminum inlays inside.
Volvo says its award-winning XC90 is its most-popular model and draws its youngest and most diverse buyers; most have an active lifestyle and are looking for a vehicle with all-weather capability. Many are millennial parents with young families.
Volvo's safety reputation is also appealing to its owners. Well-established as a world-leader in safety, the Swedish automaker patented the three-point safety belt in 1959, was the first manufacturer to use side-impact airbags, and pioneered and advanced a long list of occupant and pedestrian safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and daytime running lights. Large animal detection has now been added to the roster of imprints that will make the vehicle stop when they appear on a roadway.
The XC90's refresh gives an attractive and confident stance to the large-bodied, three-row family hauler. A newly created concave grill features an updated Volvo Ironmark logo. Restyled front and rear bumpers and updated wheel designs bring a fresh and catchy look and feel. Full-LED headlights feature active-bending lights to help see around corners. Gloss black window trim, mirror caps, and an integrated roof rack replace the matte silver options and bring more personalized choices.
The Scandinavian-designed cabin has a fresh, open ambiance, and is highlighted with natural materials. The gear lever is made of Orrefors crystal and diamond-cut controls adorn the start/stop button and drive mode control, located on the center console between the driver and passenger seats. Several new leather and wool blend colors and finishes are available.
I drove the R-Design trim on a 125-mile-long drive through the Canadian Rockies: Its 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged, direct-injected engine pumps out 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. My favorite features were the sport shift paddles, selectable drive modes, and Volvo's all-wheel-drive system that's been engineered with "Instant Traction," that brings a rapid-fire response of torque and traction.
Its double wishbone suspension and optional 22-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires gave good grip on dirt surfaces on high-elevation mountain terrain along my route. Air suspension added dynamic comfort, automatic leveling, and ride-height adjustment. Of note, the XC90 can tow up to 5,000 pounds and has 9.4 inches of ground clearance.
The R-Design trim offers a choice between a 600-watt Harman Kardon sound system that delivers premium audio through 14 speakers or a Bowers & Wilkins 1,400-watt setup with 19 speakers. Other goodies include a 10-way adjustable driver seat, keyless start, four-zone climate control, a 9-inch tablet-like touch screen control console, along with steering-wheel controls and a voice-control system.
Redesigned seats have adjustable side bolsters, as well as seat cushion extension and massage. The second row features three individual seats with recline adjustment; a sliding function brings more legroom for the passengers in the third row or increases loading space. An integrated child booster cushion in the center seat is available.
Copyright © 2019 Motor Matters
|Base price||$56,100 (as tested: $74,735)|
|Curb weight||4,394 lbs.|
|Engine type||turbocharged 4-cylinder|
|Epa mileage rating||19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway|
|Fuel capacity||18.8 gal.|
|Horsepower (net)||316 at 5700 rpm|
|Overall length||195 in.|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||295 at 2200 rpm|
|Vehicle type||6/7-passenger AWD SUV|
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