Volvo XC90 Review: The Luxury SUV That Makes Carpool Less Painful (PureWow)

You can stop looking. I’ve found the ultimate mom car. That's if you're looking for a luxury SUV crossover, of course. Yep, this fully loaded, beautifully designed vehicle is packed with safety and technology, spacious enough for carpooling and won’t force you to sacrifice on style. Here’s everything to know about the 2019 Volvo XC90.

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The safety features

Volvo is known for safety. In fact, the circle-and-arrow logo is an ancient symbol for iron, which makes sense, because Volvos are designed to protect passengers both with strong steel and with active safety features, most of which are standard on all models. A 360-degree camera helps the driver see what's going on around her, and there are sensors that let you know if another car, animal, pedestrian or cyclist is near. The XC90 will also brake if it detects somebody pulling out in front of you. And to save energy, the auto stop/start will shut off the engine when you are idling, such as at a traffic light or in the school pick-up line. (You can turn this feature off if you find it annoying). Among the features I most loved were:

  • Distance alert, which is part of the adaptive cruise controls system, lets you know if you are too close to another car.

  • Lane-keeping aid nudges the car back into its lane if you drift too close to the line

  • Road sign information reads key road signs like the speed limit or a Do Not Enter sign and pops the info up for you on the speedometer

The Tech Features

If you like technology, this car has lots of it. And it all displays on a lush 12.3" screen that’s easy to use and nicely organized. Just swipe left for apps such as Apple CarPlay and swipe right for vehicle settings such as head up display. Swipe to the left to turn off systems like the blind spot monitor or the auto stop/start feature.

You can control everything from the climate to the heated (or cooled) seats from the stationary climate control bar at the bottom of the touch screen, and the driver's digital display shows your speed and gas level, as well as if any of your passengers are not wearing their seat belts. (Looking at you, Dad!)

And did I mention you can pop open the trunk in three different ways? From inside the car, using the key fob or by sliding your foot underneath the rear bumper to activate the sensor. In case I missed anything, here’s the tech that made this car really great:

  • 360 surround view camera

  • Apple CarPlay

  • 3" digital driver display

  • Center display with touch screen

  • 12V power outlets in backseat console and trunk

  • Bowers & Wilkins sound system

  • Hands-free trunk

  • Park assist

  • Wi-Fi and entertainment apps (some are an optional service)

The Third Row

The ample size and shape of the Volvo xC90 mean that this car offers a generous amount of space and comfort. The second row is available as a bench that seats three or two captain's chairs, and allows access to the third row through the center. The back seat also has adjustable air vents, cup holders and storage compartments. And last but certainly not least, the XC90's third row comfortably seats two passengers. I'd recommend the third row for older kids or adults who are in good shape. For example, a person with bad knees or back issues may not find it ideal. Aside from that, it is very comfortable. My daughter loved hopping back there; she felt cozy and like she was in her own little space.

The Storage

In the front, there’s a place for your phone, two cup holders and a power outlet. Inside the armrest, you'll find USB and AUX ports. And behind the third row, there’s a generous amount of cargo space—15.8 cubic feet to be exact. But if you need more room to load up, put the third row seats down and take advantage a full 41.8 cubic feet. There's even a secret storage compartment under the cargo floor where you can keep stuff like cleaning supplies.

What We Love About this Luxury SUV

  • Cabin filter: I have to put this at the top of my list because my daughter has bad allergies. So having a cabin filter that prevents dust and pollen from entering is pretty amazing.

  • Panoramic moonroof: Brings light into the car and is a lot of fun to look out during road trips. It has a power-operated shade to soften the light and if you want some air, the top part opens up.

  • Rain sensing wipers: When it starts raining, the car automatically turns on the wipers. This is a feature I never knew I wanted, but now I do.

  • Power operated liftgate: I love that you can open the trunk by pushing a button on the car key or swiping your foot under the bumper.

  • Seat massagers: Being on the road for too long can be damaging to your back. I found the seat massage feature to be quite nice. The option is available to both the driver and passenger and it has three levels of intensity to choose from.

  • A built-in booster seat: This is great for carpools or times you have an extra passenger who needs a booster. Just push a button on the front of the seat and the seat bottom pops up and pushes back to offer a higher seat position so the seat belt fits properly.

  • Leather gearshift: Many cars now come with push-button gear selectors but I personally like to have a nice gearshift.

What You Need to Know

  • There are many options when it comes to this luxury crossover; you can get it nicely outfitted or fully loaded. Many of the tech features are available on all models, and increasing the trim level essentially increases the level of luxury.

  • The model I test-drove was the T6 AWD Inscription; T6 indicates the 4-cylinder turbo 316-horsepower engine, and it was loaded with extras including the Advance package, upgraded paint and wheels, a built-in child booster seat and a premium sound system. The price on this model starts at $61,750 and came to just over $70,000 including delivery.

  • To accommodate seven passengers, buyers should opt for a second row bench seat

  • The all-wheel-drive 4-cylinder turbo model we drove is estimated to get 20 MPG city/27 highway

  • The plug-in hybrid model is estimated to get 26 MPG city/30 MPG highway

  • Volvo's warranty covers the car for 4 years/50,000 miles

  • Scheduled maintenance is complimentary for 3 years/36,000 miles

How Much this Luxury SUV Costs

The nice thing about Volvo is that each trim level is inclusive of a number of features; then, you can add a few packages that add more luxury, technology and drive capability. The four different trims are:

  • Momentum, the base model, which has a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, leatherette upholstery, hands-free liftgate, multiple drive modes, a suite of active safety features and pilot assist semi-autonomous driver assistance with adaptive cruise control, is $47,700

  • R-Design, which adds sporty style details, a premium Harman Kardon sound system and the large 12.3" display screen that has won the hearts of critics and customers, starts at $54,950

  • Inscription, which adds more luxury including premium design details, Napa leather upholstery, a premium Bowers & Wilkins sound system and hill descent assist, starts at $61,750

  • Excellence, the top of the line, is the highest priced trim package, adding the most powerful 400PH plug-in hybrid engine, head up display, a crystal Orrefors gearshift knob and massaging front seats, starts at $104,900

  • Among the engine choices, all-wheel drive adds $2,500; upgrade to the 4-cylinder turbo 316-horsepower AWD engine for $6,100; upgrade to the 400-horsepower AWD plug-in hybrid, which has a range of 19 miles on a full charge, for an additional $6,100

  • Among the option packages are Heated Seats and Steering Wheel ($750), the Advanced Package with 360-degree surround view camera, park assist pilot that steers you into a parking spot—both perpendicular and parallel—while you control speed, head up display and active bending headlights ($2,500) and the Luxury package that adds heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and massaging front seats ($3,100).

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