2016 Volvo XC90 Redesign, Specs, Price and Review

The 2016 Volvo XC90 features a whole new redesign including new body structure, better performance with more efficient engine and transmission. Being one of the best selling model of the Swedish brand, the XC90 hasn’t changed much from its first debut.

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The 2016 Volvo XC90 marks the SUV’s first comprehensive redesign since its debut in 2003. That’s ancient in today’s sport-utility segment, where models visit the surgeon about every five years. Safety and understated style have been Volvo pillars for decades, so one can understand Volvo’s reluctance to deviate from its course. But the quick evolution of its competitors means the XC90 is no longer the hip, bullet-proof icon of old. Family SUVs like the Acura MDX and GMC Acadia offer comparable class, comfort and safety standards.

Exterior

The new XC90, however, should make Volvo a conversation starter again. A more upright grille, aggressive front end air vents and narrow headlamps show a fresh direction for the Swedish automaker’s styling. Large wheels (up to 22 inches), pillar-length taillights and sculpted sides reshape the frump of today’s XC into something fit, assertive and Audi-esque. The overhauled exterior will sit atop an all-new platform infused with high-strength steel to maximize safety and minimize weight.

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Interior

Inside, the 2016 XC90 features an all-new luxury interior with high-end leather, real wood and metal trim, and an optional 19-speaker, 1400-watt, Bowers & Wilkins stereo. The tablet-like Sensus center touch-screen display controls most of the car’s functions and works with both Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. It can also be used while wearing gloves. It’s matched by a digital instrument cluster and head-up display for the driver. Dressing things up further are diamond-cut controls for the engine start/stop button and stereo volume knob, as well as an optional crystal shifter from Swedish glassmaker Orrefors. The seats, meanwhile, include a shock absorber between the seat and rails to help prevent spinal injuries in an accident.

The XC90 can also be customized with one of two exterior packages: Urban Luxury adds 21-inch polished wheels, polished stainless steel accents and front and rear skid plates, while Rugged Luxury uses matte black trim, integrated exhaust pipes and 22-inch wheels.

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Powertrain

The XC90 model line for the U.S. will include a 316-horsepower, turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Above that, there’s a top-of-the-range Twin Engine plug-in hybrid model, combining the top supercharged-and-turbocharged engine with an electric motor system that, altogether, can deliver 400 horsepower. The system will offer three modes, including a ‘power’ setting that permits this model to get to 60 mph in less than 6.4 seconds; the plug-in can also go up to 40 miles (around 25 miles) on electricity alone.

No matter which powertrain is aboard the XC90, Volvo claims that the new SPA platform enables a more nimble driving experience compared to the current XC90. The 2016 model is more than 250 pounds lighter than a comparable outgoing model.

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Technology and Safety

Technology has been a major focus of the redesign as well. The main interface for the car is a large touchscreen that is the size of most tablet devices. Most of the controls for the various systems of the XC90 have been replaced with touch, leaving very few actual buttons in the cabin. This makes the cabin look and feel very futuristic, but it could hamper usability.

Technology has been used to make the XC90 safer and easier to drive as well. The new and updated IntelliSafe technologies of the XC90 include systems like the extended Park Assist Pilot. Not only can this system pull a car into or out of a parallel parking spot, it can now manage to back a car directly into a standard space too. The system is also capable of displaying a full 360-degree view of the car, much like Nissan’s AroundView monitor technology. Cross Traffic Alert is another system coming to the newest version of the Swedish SUV. The system can detect if a car is approaching from either side from up to 90 feet away. This is most useful when backing out of a crowded parking space when you can’t necessarily see what is coming on either side.

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Release Date and Price

The 2016 Volvo XC90 is very likely to hit the dealer’s showrooms in spring 2015 as 2016 model year. Pricing will start from $42,000. The redesigned XC90 will directly compete against Acura MDX, Audi Q5 and BMW X5. With the plug-in hybrid available, buyers will have more options before choosing the upcoming Tesla Model X crossover.

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