2016 Volvo XC90
It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a really all-new Volvo to sample. And, for a while we were having doubts whether Volvo would ever get around to addressing their large but aging XC90 crossover. Well, not only have they gotten around to it, but they’ve turned it into a potential luxury-class hall of famer.
13-years have passed since Volvo made its mark in the burgeoning three-row luxury crossover segment with the first XC90. But, over all that time, newer rivals have seriously dampened the “nine-0’s” sales. So the all-new, 2016 XC90 has certainly got its work cut out for it.
That first 2002 XC90 proved to be the right vehicle at the right time. And, at least visually, this stylish second-gen 7-seater looks like it scores again.
It’s wagon-ish two-box shape is familiar enough to be easily pegged as a Volvo, but like your Aunt that took a mysteriously long vacation to South America and came back looking younger than ever, it’s clear there’s been a lot of work done here.
But we all know it’s what’s inside that counts; and impressively, the XC90’s interior has transformed from utility grade to flagship material. The layout is smooth, simple, and not muddled at all. Very few traditional buttons or knobs remain; but the few that do, are the right ones.
A tablet-like Sensus touch display dominates the center stack. It’s arranged more vertically than horizontally, like a Tesla S, and its use is very intuitive.
As in every Volvo we can remember, the front seats are a highlight; offering great levels of comfort and support. That’s also true for the sliding and reclining second row, and even the still adult capable third row. Plus, features like the built-in child booster seat are still far and above class typical.
And, even with Volvo’s latest change of ownership, the brand’s commitment to safety hasn’t wavered. The XC90 is packed with enough safety features to keep even worry warts at ease.
Indeed, our car’s automatic braking system worked perfectly in our crash barrier test. The available self-parking system also worked better than most.
As for its actual utility factor, the XC90 can carry plenty of goods.13.0 cubic feet worth behind the third row seats, 41.8 behind the second, and 85.7 behind the first. And, for ease of loading there’s a hands-free power liftgate.
All XC90s are equipped with advanced all-wheel-drive, 8-speed automatic transmission, but somewhat surprisingly, only 4-cylinder power. But, the 2.0-liter I4 in our T6 is both turbocharged and supercharged for 316-horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque.
And, you forget it’s a 4-cylinder after just a few minutes behind the wheel, as it provides effortless power. Even the automatic stop/start is seamless, and it can still tow 5,000 lbs.
Regardless, we still think an inline 4 may be a tough sell in this segment. Though the forthcoming plug-in hybrid T8, with the boosted 2.0 plus an electric motor for 400 total horsepower, will certainly be a Volvo differentiator.
The more time spent driving, it becomes clear that this vehicle is built for family vacations over long distances. It’s extremely quiet and solid. Rough roads and slick pavement do nothing to upset it.
There’s a very natural feel to the electric power steering, and through the cones we were mostly impressed with the XC90’s sporty firmness. The rear suspension features a Corvette-style transverse leaf spring to eliminate cargo-robbing coils and shocks. A full air suspension is also available.
As for acceleration… truly the little engine that could, this 4-banger picks up the XC90’s 46-hundred lbs. and delivers it to 60 in a swift 6.5-seconds. The ¼-mile is over in 14.9-seconds at 94 miles-per-hour.
Plus, T6 Government Fuel Economy Ratings are still 20-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged a very good, for its nearly full-size demeanor, 26.0 miles-per-gallon of Premium. The Energy Impact Score is an average one at 15.0-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emission of 6.6-tons.
Choices in this segment are indeed plentiful, but base pricing of just $49,825 means the XC90 T6 is highly competitive.
Lavish interiors, sporty attitudes, and sophisticated powertrains are just the price of entry into the high end crossover segment. So, how does the 2016 Volvo XC90 expect to get back on people’s short list? Well, by providing all of that and more, in the way that only Volvo can, with top notch safety, otherworldly comfort, and family extra-friendly features; all wrapped up in unmistakably Swedish style. We are very impressed!
- Engine: 2.0 liter I4
- Horsepower: 316
- Torque: 295 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14.9 seconds @ 94 mph
- EPA: 20 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.6 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined