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2016 Volvo XC90 AWD Inscription Arrival: Scandinavians Welcome Here

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/13/2016 Motor Trend Staff, Alisa Priddle
2016 Volvo XC90 AWD Inscription Arrival: Scandinavians Welcome Here

I am one of the last automotive journalists on the planet to spend time in the Volvo XC90, which has a cargo hold full of awards, including Motor Trend SUV of the Year.

So I was thrilled to welcome the 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription to Detroit's #MTGarage, where everyone in the Royal Oak office wants time behind the wheel as it spends the next year under my care.

Needless to say, my expectations were high. Add to that a bit of personal bias. My mom is a Finn, so I have a warm spot for anything Scandinavian. Can't wait to take it north, park it near the family sauna, and let them bond.

Even with all the hype, our long-term T6 does not disappoint. The Bright Silver Metallic XC90 has simple, clean lines and a warm and premium interior replete with two-tone Nappa leather, natural walnut wood inlays, and tiny Swedish flags sewn into the front seats. In short, it's the perfect blend of luxury and utility. Nothing is over the top, but there is no denying the simple beauty within. Pretty Zen, really. Relaxing, like the cleansing burst of steam from hot rocks in a wood-fired sauna.

Research the Volvo XC90 on MSN Autos

2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription front three quarter 04© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription front three quarter 04

Power comes from a 2.0-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder engine that generates 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Its turbocharger is expected to do yeoman service—this is a vehicle that weighs more than 4,700 pounds and is designed to haul seven people and their stuff—so Volvo added a small supercharger to keep the turbo lag to a minimum. No one is complaining about a lack of power. In terms of fuel economy, the first 4,000 miles under our care, over the course of two months, we averaged 21 mpg. (Because the Volvo will be based at our Detroit office, it will likely not get tested for Real MPG.)

The XC90 has standard all-wheel drive in T6 form (it's optional on the lower T5), an eight-speed automatic transmission with stop-start technology, double A-arm front and rear integral axle suspension, adjustable drive mode settings, anti-lock brakes with hill-start assist, and electric power-assisted steering. Starting it up signals this is not your ordinary car. Ignition is by turning a small oblong handle between the seats; behind that is a small drum to select your drive mode.

Volvo has built its reputation on safety. As such, our model came with systems to avoid collisions with automatic braking, detect and avoid hitting pedestrians and cyclists, and warn you if you stray out of your lane or appear fatigued based on erratic driving. It also has whiplash protection and run-off road protection designed to keep you upright in your seat and cushioned against impact to prevent spinal injuries if the vehicle leaves the road; we hope those systems go untested.

Volvo is safety conscious to a fault in some respects. The XC90 will not release the parking brake unless you buckle up. That is great in theory, but it's frustrating when you jump back in to move it a few inches in your driveway.

Base price for our T6 AWD tester is $50,795 including destination. Upgrading it to Inscription adds $5,600 for LED headlights that help you see around bends, Thor's Hammer daytime running lights, nice lighting touches inside and out, integrated roof rails, the gorgeous Nappa leather, ventilated seats in the front, and a few other goodies and badging.

2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription front three quarter in motion© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription front three quarter in motion

We also added the Vision package for $1,800, which gives us blind-spot detection and cross-traffic alert, both much appreciated on today's crowded roads. The SUV also has a full 360-degree camera and mirrors that dim and retract. Popping them back out took a little exploration. The answer: Press right and left mirror buttons simultaneously.

Our $1,950 Climate package heats the seats, steering wheel, and washer nozzles and adds a head-up display. The $1,800 Convenience package tosses in parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping—all of which take the SUV closer to autonomous driving—as well as HomeLink, a compass, a grocery bag holder, and an extra 12-volt power outlet in the cargo area.

Upgraded paint, suspension, and a few other items, including the $2,659 Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system with a classy speaker atop the dashboard, bring the cost to $68,675. Miscommunication meant the XC90 arrived without a trailer hitch, a $950 option if ordered from the factory. Because we intend to put our luxury SUV through a few paces, we had it installed at the dealer, which bumped the price to $1,368.89. To be true to the intent of our order, we will use the factory price, bringing the Monroney sticker to $69,625. Give us a year; we'll let you know if it earns every penny.

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription
BASE PRICE $50,795
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L/316-hp/295-lb-ft supercharged DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
WHEELBASE 117.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 194.8 x 75.7 x 69.9 in
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 169/135 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.88 lb/mile


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