NAPA, CA — The easy cliche’ to say about the newest XC90 from Volvo is that it’s “firing on all cylinders” and there are many reasons why we love this vehicle. Not only is it the best-looking XC90 from Volvo, but it also has the features and functionality that make it a wonderful crossover.
Starting under the hood, we find an inline 4-cylinder engine that’s turbocharged. It produces a notable 330 horsepower with 325 lb-ft of torque. This feeds a silky-smooth 8-speed automatic transmission that also features a manual mode. Zero to sixty performance hovers around the 6-second mark. That’s rather good, considering the XC90’s curb weight of 4,545 pounds.
All-wheel-drive is standard on the XC90 so you’ll have an easier time in inclimate weather and with snow tires, have little issues making those ski trips in the wintertime. As far as fuel economy goes, the EPA gives the XC90 a rating of 18 around town and up to 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
Volvo implements its latest Polestar Tuning in this R-Design model. What that means, is that you’ll always have a highly optimized traction system, suspension, and handling in place. There is a sport-drive mode as well that indeed helps the XC90 feel and drive a lot more sporty.
Looks great out here:
With the R-Design trim nuances and a cool-looking design language, it’s no wonder why so many auto journalists this vehicle. It strikes a very good balance between masculine with enough rounded edges to make it palatable to the masses. In fact, the front facia sort of resembles the latest design from Jaguar.
Inside the XC90 you’ll find a very comfortable interior. In fact, it has some of the most comfortable front seats you can find, anywhere. Not only do they have excellent lumbar support and are multi-adjustable, but they also have a section that moves out further under your thighs for better leg support. Side bolsters do an excellent job of keeping you in place around corners and they are heated and vented as well.
That audio system tho:
Volvo has been using its vertical-biased infotainment screen for a few years now. It’s rather intuitive to use as you simply use your finger to slide the menus around – much as you do on a tablet or cellphone. The Bowers and Wilkins audio system features a 1,400-watt amplifier and 19 speakers. Its audio presentation is rather stunning, however, we’d love to see future implementations have a more powerful bass response.
You’ll find audio input for AM/FM/XM Satellite, CD, MP3, Bluetooth audio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On-board navigation is easy to use as well, however, the mapping system is starting to look rather dated. We’d love to see future Volvo cars use Google Earth – as we see in many Audis.
Overall cabin room feels very spacious, even for the rear seat passengers. Plenty of headroom and legroom for four adults – the read middle seat, however, is best left to kids 12 and under. Its third row can certainly be a bit more cramped for those taller than 5’9”, however.
The rear cargo area is 12.6 cubic feet with both sets of rear seats up but goes to an ample 65.5 cubic feet with the seat folded down.
On the road — especially in sport mode — you’ll find that the XC90 T6 R-Design handles itself with great poise and confidence. It has minimal body roll, a spirited throttle response, and almost begs you to push it harder. The standard P275/45R20 tires have excellent grip for most conditions, however, for serious winter driving, you should consider getting a set of dedicated winter tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak line.
Volvo starts the pricing at $62,000 with the R-Design package and while that may seem a bit steep, consider its competition. Its creature comforts, performance, design, and handling all go to help make it very competitively priced to the likes of those from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.
If you’re in the market for a premium crossover and have the budget, you should seriously look at the 2020 XC90 T6 R-Design from Volvo. We’re confident you’ll find it fares very well to the competition and is worth a look for sure.