If there is one virtue that the 2018 Volvo XC90 possesses in spades, it's elegance. From the extra classy exterior styling to the impressively well-appointed interior, the XC90 exudes panache. It's a luxury crossover with all the fancy vibes you could ever hope for.
More than a good-looking car, though, the 2018 XC90 drives well and has precise handling and a sense of stability on the road. It has plenty of room inside and an abundance of high-tech safety features, both on the standard equipment sheet and available as options.
All of this adds up to a respectable and desirable crossover, but there are a few drawbacks. Our main issue: the XC90's powertrains. While Volvo's turbocharged (T5) and turbo-and-supercharged (T6) four-cylinder engines work fine in the brand's smaller vehicles, they seem less ideally suited for the big XC90. Performance and fuel economy suffer as a result. The T8 hybrid fares better, but it's pricey. And we've found all XC90s can have a rather rough ride over bumpy roads when fitted with the bigger optional wheels. That's not something you expect, or want, in an SUV of this caliber. The XC90's flaws aren't fatal, though. There is a lot to like about this upscale crossover, and if it ends up on your short list, we recommend a test drive.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Volvo XC90 as one of Edmunds' Best Midsize SUVs for this year.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Volvo XC90 is a luxury crossover SUV with three seating configurations and four different trim levels: Momentum, R-Design, Inscription and Excellence. Regular XC90s are referred to as the T5 and T6, while the hybrid is called the T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid. The Momentum trim level comes with plenty of standard equipment such as a rearview camera, lane departure warning and an impressive 9-inch touchscreen. The R-Design is the sporty version of the XC90, while the Inscription and Excellence are more luxury-focused with equipment such as ventilated front seats and an adaptive air suspension.
For standard equipment, the T5 Momentum gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine (250 hp, 258 lb-ft), an eight-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, keyless entry and ignition, faux leather (premium vinyl) upholstery, eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), driver-seat memory settings, 40/20/40-split second-row seats (with individual slide and recline functions), a 50/50-split third-row seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Technology features for the T5 Momentum include Pilot Assist semiautonomous driving mode, adaptive cruise control, a 9-inch central touchscreen, a navigation system, voice controls, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a 10-speaker sound system with satellite radio and a USB port.
The T6 upgrades to a 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine (316 hp, 295 lb-ft). The T8 Plug-In Hybrid uses the same turbocharged and supercharged engine as the XC90 T6, but it adds an 87-hp electric motor. Total output is 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. With a 240-volt charging station, fully recharging the pack takes only about 2.5 hours. The EPA estimates pure-electric range at 14 miles. Both the T6 and T8 Momentum models get 19-inch wheels, a larger digital driver information display, leather upholstery, heated front seats, third-row seating and four-zone automatic climate control. T8 Momentum models also receive LED adaptive headlights and added interior illumination.
The R-Design trim level features 20-inch alloy wheels, unique grille and exterior accents, a sport steering wheel with shift paddles, upgraded sport seats (with power thigh support), leather upholstery, illuminated step plates and aluminum mesh cabin accents.
The XC90 Inscription (available on T6 and T8) is similar to the R-Design but features its own wheels and interior and exterior trim. It also has upgraded leather upholstery and rear side window shades.
Available only on the T8, the Excellence trim level practically turns the XC90 into a four-seat luxury limousine. In place of the rear bench seat, the Excellence adds two captain's chairs with footrests, a rear center console with folding trays, a touchscreen controller, heated and cooled cupholders and two crystal glasses. All four seats in the Excellence come standard with ventilation, heat and massage functions. Additional upgrades include bright exterior trim, 21-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, extended leather upholstery, additional sound deadening, a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system, added rear seat USB ports and a refrigerator.
Options for the XC90 are mainly grouped into packages. The Momentum Plus package includes the adaptive headlights, headlight washers, the larger driver display, illuminated step plates and added interior illumination. You can pick the Convenience package to add front parking sensors, automated parking assist, a surround-view camera, heated windshield washer nozzles and, in the cargo area, a grocery bag holder and a 12-volt power outlet. The Luxury package (Inscription only) adds heated rear seats, a simulated suede headliner, leather grab handles and sun visors, and a massaging function for the fronts seats.
Individual option highlights (depending on trim level) include 20-, 21- or 22-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension (with adaptive dampers), a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, a built-in second-row child booster seat and a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription (turbocharged and supercharged 2.0L inline-4| 8-speed automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current 2018 Volvo XC90 has received some revisions, mostly including the addition of options packages and availability of items such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Volvo XC90.
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edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.