2017 Volvo XC90 Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Elegant styling inside and out
- Spacious second- and third-row seating for a midsize SUV
- Many standard safety technology features
- Precise handling that inspires confidence
- Overly busy ride quality for a vehicle in its class
- Comes up short on performance and real-world fuel economy
- some of its standard touchscreen controls can be hard to use
- Handling doesn't inspire much confidence when going around turns
Although Volvo's latest four-cylinder engine has considerable power, the heavy weight of the XC90 makes it feel unimpressive. Its numbers are promising, but in real-world, day-to-day use, acceleration and refinement are lacking. Other rival crossovers feel notably snappier and more responsive when accelerating up to freeway speeds or passing a slow-moving vehicle. We haven't driven the XC90 with the base turbocharged engine, but we expect to find its 250 hp a bit meager for a vehicle of this size.
The XC90's suspension tuning is another mixed bag. On smooth pavement, the XC90 feels calm and controlled on its available air suspension. But over ruts, bumps and broken pavement, the vehicle delivers too many impacts and jitters to the occupants for a luxury SUV. We've only driven the XC90 with the big 21-inch wheels, but based on that experience, we recommend going with smaller wheels if possible to help smooth out the ride. Around turns, there's better news, as the XC90 inspires confidence with its planted character and nimble responses, feeling lighter than it really is.
With its spare design aesthetic and high-quality materials, the 2017 Volvo XC90’s cabin is undeniably handsome. Its matte-finish wood, genuine metal and even real carbon-fiber accents are pleasing to the eye and the touch, and its controls are generally laid out in a logical and uncluttered manner. The 9-inch central touchscreen is oriented vertically rather than horizontally, which Volvo says allows for superior map viewing and menu structures. In usability testing, we found that the screen responded quickly to our inputs, but the climate, radio and heated-seat controls can be inherently cumbersome to access quickly.
Front seat accommodations are comfortable and spacious, although tall drivers who slide the seat back might find their elbows hanging off the backs of the door and center armrests. The front seats provide exceptional long-haul comfort. Second-row passengers are treated similarly well and enjoy a healthy amount of legroom, although the third-row seats are best left to short trips or smaller folks and children. The available child booster seat built into the center section of the 40/20/40-split second-row bench can be scooted forward to put its occupant within easy reach of parents. However, families with more than one youngster should note that Volvo's XC60 offers two of these integrated booster seats.
The XC90’s cargo capacity is ample. With all the seats up, there's 15.8 cubic feet of space available behind the third row. Fold the second- and third-row seats down and maximum capacity rises to 85.7 cubic feet. By either measure, these figures are at the top of the segment. The standard power tailgate includes a hands-free feature that opens the door when you wave your foot under the rear bumper.