Vision Package ($1,600 -- includes blind spot information system and cross traffic alert, 360-degree surround-view camera, auto-dimming inner and outer mirrors, retractable rearview mirrors); Climate Package With HUD ($1,950 -- includes heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, heated washer nozzles, graphical head-up display); Convenience Package ($1,800 -- includes Park Assist Pilot, Front Park Assist; adaptive cruise control with Pilot Assist, lane keeping aid, Homelink, compass, grocery bag holder, 12-volt power outlet in cargo area); Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound With CD ($2,650); Metallic Paint ($60); Second-Row Center Booster ($250); 21-Inch Eight-Spoke Alloy Wheels ($750); Four-Corner Air Suspension ($1,800)
Supercharged, turbocharged, direct-injected, inline-4, gasoline with auto stop-start
DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
316 @ 5,700
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
295 @ 4,500
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
I was expecting more from this thing, seeing as how it's both turbo- and supercharged. Regardless of its slower-than-expected speed, the Volvo gets off the line with minimal hesitation. Full-throttle upshifts are a bit abrupt, but fairly quick. The engine is never thrashy and remains subdued-sounding at all times. Switching to Dynamic mode netted about a tenth of a second, but the biggest gains came using power-braking (overlapping brake and throttle prior to launch to increase revs) and the Manual shift mode (even though it still upshifts for itself). Upshifts felt a bit quicker and slightly more abrupt in Manual mode, and the Volvo would get a bit of front wheelspin leaving the line. For some reason it would fall on its face after shifting into 4th gear, but it didn't seem so much like a tall gear spacing issue as it did a loss of power, almost ike turbo lag. Strange. Manual shifting is via the console lever (pull back for downshifts). It blips the throttle on manual downshifts but does not hold gears to a rev limiter; it upshifts anywhere from 5,800-6,200 rpm depending on the gear.
Extremely firm brake pedal with short travel and impressively little nosedive. All of the Volvo's actions speak to short stopping distances, except for the all-season tires, which provide little grip. Still, it stopped straight every time with zero drama. The stopping distances increased just slightly on nearly every stop, with the first stop the shortest at 124 feet and the sixth and final stop the longest at 130 feet, but we didn't experience any pedal fade.
Slalom: Although the steering could be a bit more direct, this big Volvo has some nice moves, thanks largely to the well-tuned chassis. Turn-in is quick without being overly twitchy, and body roll is pretty well controlled. The suspension takes a nice set after each transition, and seems to hunker down to attack the next cone. The limiting factor was the stability control system. It would have been nice if the ESC Sport setting was a bit less intrusive. Skid pad: Body roll seemed far less controlled here in the steady-state cornering of the skid pad; this thing really leans over and the all-season tires howl. But the XC90 is receptive to changes in throttle, meaning letting off the gas quickly reduces understeer and even causes minor oversteer moments, which helps it turn. ESC is always on to some extent, intervening heavily enough with all systems on that you could just about keep your right foot planted all the way around the circle. ESC Sport was less intrusive.