2019 Volvo XC90 Expert Review

4.5 Overall Score
Performance 4.4 Comfort 4.5 Styling 4.5 Value 4.5

Editor's Overview

The 2019 Volvo XC90 is the Swedish automaker’s flagship SUV, a 3-row luxury vehicle that drips with alluring design and sophisticated features. As is Volvo’s maxim, safety comes in spades in the XC90, but it also boasts innovative powertrains that compete well with rivals like the Acura MDX and Audi Q7.

You'll Like The 2019 Volvo XC90 If...

If you’re seeking a luxury SUV with seating for seven, exceptional safety features, and a design and spirit that stands out from the crowd, you’ll find it all in the 2019 XC90. A plug-in hybrid version that can travel up to 17 miles on battery power appeals to those seeking a greener machine.

You May Not Like The 2019 Volvo XC90 If...

Some aspects of the XC90 seem too smart for their own good, like the touch-centric display that controls everything from phone connectivity to climate. If you want something other than a 4-cylinder under the hood, you'll also have to look to one of the Volvo's rivals.

What's New

Three-row/7-passenger seating is now standard across the line, except for the exclusive 4-passenger T8 Excellence XC90. A new standard safety feature, Oncoming Mitigation by Braking, is added, and a harman/kardon premium audio system is available. The engine idle start/stop feature can now be set to “off” as a default. Other, smaller changes involve packages and features.

Interior Features

Volvo's interiors continue to impress, and the XC90 is the model that led the way in the automaker’s recent design makeover. Sleek, sophisticated and anchored by Swedish minimalism, it's all elegantly cohesive. From the moment you start the car with the twist of a jewel-like knob, you feel like you're in a special place. Optional leather and wood abound, while the standard 9-inch vertical center display reminds of a Tesla. With the 2-row/5-passenger option gone for 2019, the XC90’s standard form is a 3-row/7-passenger hauler. The front seats remain among our favorites. In back, the third row is sufficient for children, and cargo area is impressive with seats folded. For those willing to spend six figures on a Volvo, the $105,000-plus Excellence trim feels like a private jet. Instead of seating for seven, it has four individual seats (a pair in back to complement the pair in front), and each is seat is heated, cooled and has a massaging function.

Exterior Features

The Volvo XC90 SUV’s exterior is equally elegant with no small dose of strength. Just look to those T-shaped LED running lights, dubbed "Thor's Hammer," or that significant grille with a large Volvo emblem floating in the middle. Around back, long and curvaceous taillights lend grace. Wheels range in size from 18 to 21 inches. On the practical side, the tailgate is hands-free and power-operated, the door handles are illuminated, and the side mirrors are retractable. R-Design models have a sportier, more aggressive character with a unique grille, high-gloss black exterior bits, matte-silver mirror caps and larger, octagonal exhaust outlets.

Driving Impressions

If you need proof a small engine can power a big vehicle, see the Volvo's 4-cylinder as Exhibit A. While the automaker has announced its future vehicles will incorporate electrification, we hope its internal-combustion gem continues to play a role. In standard T5 form, the 2.0-liter engine is turbocharged, similar to rivals like the Audi Q7. With 250 horsepower, it does a competent but not remarkable job moving the XC90. Step up to the T6, though, and you’ll be awed at what it can do. That’s because the engine is turbocharged and supercharged, creating more power -- 316 ponies -- and stronger delivery. The third powertrain, the T8 plug-in hybrid model, is actually the most powerful but we found it in need of refinement. Transitions between the gasoline and electric powertrains were neither seamless nor predictable. Regardless of which engine you choose, expect a quiet and compliant ride. Not surprisingly, the XC90’s handling favors that of other European vehicles -- taut and on the firmer side.

Pricing Notes

The 2019 Volvo XC90 SUV has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $48,195 for a base T5 Momentum model. All-wheel drive, which is standard on every other model, is an extra $2,500 on the T5. An XC90 T6 begins at $56,695, while the T8 plug-in hybrid XC90 starts at $67,295. These prices are where most XC90 buyers will land, but a small minority will opt for the loaded, 4-passenger Excellence plug-in hybrid model. That extravagant hauler comes with a price tag of nearly $106,000. If it's any consolation, it's eligible for roughly $5,000 in federal tax incentives (as are the other T8 plug-in hybrids). At these prices, the XC90 starts under the Audi Q7, Lexus GX, Land Rover Discovery and BMW X5, and above the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60 and Buick Enclave. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Volvo XC90's resale value is expected to hold up quite well in the years ahead.

Notable Equipment

Volvo’s naming structure can be a little confusing, but for simplicity there are three major trims: Momentum, R-Design and Inscription. The other nomenclature is tied to powertrain: the base engine is T5, the uplevel powertrain is T6, and the plug-in hybrid is called T8. The least expensive XC90 Momentum is well-equipped with the Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system, active safety features like blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping aid, and a new feature that can prevent an on-coming collision. Leatherette upholstery is the base seat covering, but each front seat has commendable 10-way-power operation. Also included are a hands-free power tailgate, HomeLink universal garage remote, panoramic moonroof, and four years’ complimentary service of Volvo On-Call, which allows you to control certain vehicle functions via a mobile phone. The XC90’s standard infotainment system bundles a 9-inch touch screen with navigation, 10-speaker/330-watt audio system, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration.

Notable Options

Moving up to the R-Design trim adds features that are also optional on the Momentum. They include leather interior, 12.3-inch digital dashboard, larger wheels, and a new harman/kardon audio system. The Volvo XC90 Inscription includes higher-grade Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, unique wheels and other premium aesthetics. Other options include the wonderful Bowers & Wilkins audio system, 4-corner air suspension, heated steering wheel and heated rear seats, and a headlight pressure-washing system. If you’re among the select few who opt for the Volvo XC90 Excellence trim, you will get four individual seats, Orrefors crystal glasses, folding tray tables and a rear-seat refrigerator.

Favorite Features


This standard system brings us one step closer to autonomous driving. In addition to offering adaptive cruise control that paces the vehicle ahead, the system has the ability to steer the vehicle to keep it in lanes. Together, they can take stress out of a commute.


This optional audio system is the epitome of premium sound. With 1,400 watts and 19 speakers it's loud, yes, but the quality is superb, even when playing music files from your phone.

Under the Hood

All versions of the XC90 lineup use some form of a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. In T5 models, it’s turbocharged for a respectable 250 horsepower. T5 models come standard with front-wheel drive (FWD) and have all-wheel drive (AWD) optional. In the T6, with AWD standard, the engine is a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes a stout 316 horsepower and develops 295 lb-ft of torque. The T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid’s electric-motor/gas-engine combo yields 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. Recharging takes 2.5 to six hours, depending on voltage. For 2019, the gasoline tank in the T8 has been increased by over five gallons. That extends total range from 380 miles in last year’s model to 490 for this current one. All models use an 8-speed automatic transmission and an engine start/stop system that cuts power at idle. In our tests, we opted to shut off that system to prevent rough restarts, and for 2019 you can set it to stay off by default (swipe left on the touch screen). Drive-mode settings allow you to optimize the XC90 for comfort, efficiency, sportiness and even off-road settings. The XC90 SUV is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (T5)

250 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm

258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter supercharged/turbocharged inline-4 (T6 AWD)

316 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm

295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg

2.0-liter supercharged/turbocharged inline-4 + electric motor (T8 AWD)


313 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm

295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200-5,400 rpm

Electric Motor:

87 horsepower/177 lb-ft of torque

Net Output: 400 horsepower / 472 lb-ft of torque

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25 mpg combined, 58 MPGe combined

Pure electric range on a full charge: Up to 17 miles

Editors' Notes

The 2019 Volvo XC90 is the Swedish automaker’s flagship SUV, a 3-row luxury vehicle that drips with alluring design and sophisticated features. As is Volvo’s maxim, safety comes in spades in the XC90. Standard systems do everything from prevent a collision with a vehicle in your blind spot to automatically apply the brakes if an animal or other object is in the road. In addition to being a tech and safety powerhouse, the XC90 deftly competes with luxury-crossover SUVs like the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Acura MDX thanks to innovative powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid variant. Pricing spans from a reasonable $48,000 for a base model to $67,000 for a plug-in hybrid. An exclusive, ultra-luxurious 4-passenger model is offered at an eye-popping $105,000-plus.

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Owner Reviews


2 Reviews

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Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

Volvo xc90 t6 inscription. Pure luxury! High tech! Safe drive!

This model Volvo is very luxurious, spacious and comfortable. The features are very hi tech and the LCD screen is very friendly. The luxury feel of this car makes it a very pleasurable ride. This car model comes fully loaded! The harmon Larson sound system is fantastic. I have not found anything negative to say about this car. The Volvo also has an amazing safety review. A factor in my choice of model and make. The third row on this car is an added bonus and gives me extra trunk space when needed.

- Ani S

but so far really like it. It offers a comfortable

I've only had it for a few months

- Barbara P