2017 Volvo XC90: Flagship for a Generation

Since arriving here in 2002, the Volvo XC90 has become well known for its safety, technology, craftsmanship, and overall efficient utility. It is roomy, comfortable, quiet, stylish, and despite only being powered by a “four banger” it does quite well around town and on the open highway.

The heart of the T6 powertrain is that 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine I spoke of that benefits from both supercharging (for power at the low end) and turbocharging (for speed). The overall combination is quite remarkable and very surprising. Total power output is 316hp and 295 lb. ft. torque. The engine is mated to a slick and smooth eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with start/stop technology. Volvo’s first foray into turbocharged powerplants came in 1981 – you know, back before turbos were cool.

All XC90 models are equipped with Volvo’s electronically-controlled all-wheel drive with instant traction technology. In normal operating mode, nearly all power is sent to the front wheels for optimum fuel efficiency. When slippage is detected, power is automatically redistributed to the wheels with best traction and up to 50 percent power sent to the rear. The XC90 also features adjustable drive modes selectable by the driver. They can choose from Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-Road, and Individual modes. I spent most of my week between Comfort and Dynamic depending on my mood and the road conditions.

The new XC90 chassis is very solid and stable and utilizes new double-wishbone front suspension design along with integral axle rear suspension. Our tester arrived with the optional 4-Corner Air Suspension for even more control over harsh road conditions (apparently the new Corvette uses a similar design). There is automatic leveling with this system as well as rear load height being adjustable for easier loading/unloading.

The advanced safety technologies are nearly mind-blowing as this vehicle can almost drive itself. Almost. There is a new Pilot Assist semi-autonomous system that works in conjunction with many of the other safety features in the XC90 to operate the vehicle is as safe a manner as possible with state-of-the-art accident avoidance technology. The car can even read road signs and detect pedestrians in the roadway and on the sidewalks. The new XC90 can help you drive, help you park, help you avoid accidents – basically help you be a better vehicle on the crowded roads today.


About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.