2016 XC90 T6 AWD R-Design is best Volvo luxury SUV yet

XCMike

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Volvo has hit a home run with their all new 2016 XC90 all-wheel-drive (AWD), 7-passenger, crossover SUV that continues to win industry accolades for its new styling, engineering, powertrain, safety and infotainment technology. We have had three occasions to drive the new XC90 T6 AWD in two competitions plus a full-week ride and drive test since it arrived last fall. Based on our 10- plus days behind the wheel of the T6 AWD, we concur solidly with all of the major media accolades.

Just a few of the better known awards include the 2016 North American Truck of the Year, Motor Trend's 2016 SUV of the Year, MotorWeek Driver's Choice Award, Consumer Guide Automotive Best Buy and a Ward's 10 Best Interior award.

XC90 T6 AWD Powertrain
All Volvo XC90 T6 AWD trim levels are powered by a 2.0L Direct Injection Supercharged and Turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. All are mated to an eight-speed Geartronic Automatic Transmission with driver controlled Start/Stop functionality (we recommend turn it off), Hill Start Assist, Instant Traction Control and Electric Power Assisted Steering.

An Adjustable Drive Mode selector allows the driver to choose drive mode settings to suit their preferences and/or road conditions. Choices include COMFORT MODE for every day driving and ECO MODE for fuel economy optimization. A DYNAMIC MODE gives sportier performance through throttle and transmission response adjustments plus a trim adjustment at high speed for aerodynamic efficiency.

The OFF ROAD MODE is for the obvious road challenges found in the outback. It is available under 25 mph and uses accelerator control to manage speed, increases ground clearance by 1.6-inches, activates Hill Descent Control, locks the differentials and optimizes both engine and transmission for traction and sets the ESC system to traction/sport.

Before you ask, we can attest that it works just like it is supposed to when challenged by tougher than average outback off-road terrain.

Lastly, an INDIVIDUAL MODE is available for the experienced user to input steering, braking, powertrain and other dynamic control settings to their own personal preferences.

The XC90 T6 AWD also tows - up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.

XC90 T6 AWD R-Design
R-Design is aimed at drivers who want a sporty and dynamic look with a drive experience to match. The R-Design features distinctive details like a unique grille, lower front spoiler, silk-metal window trims, dual tailpipe surround, integrated bright roof rails and matte silver mirror covers. Also standard are uniquely styled 20-inch wheels. Specially crafted R-Design 22-inch alloy wheels are optional.

Inside R-Design offers Nappa leather and Nubuck contour seating plus a number of R-Design motif details like the gearshift knob made from Orrefors Crystal and diamond-cut start/stop knob, metal pedals, logo floor mats and illuminated tread plates. Even the 12.3-inch Driver Information display features R-Design elements.

The R-Design features, in addition to the exterior and interior treatments already mentioned, include LED headlights with Active Bending Light feature, distinctive ‘Thor's Hammer' LED Daytime Running Lights, R-Design leather covered steering wheel, steering wheel paddle shifters and R-Design badging.

The MSRP for the 2016 XC90 T6 AWD R-Design before packages and optional items is $53,800.

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD R-Design
Our test XC90 T6 AWD R-Design came in a Bursting Blue Metallic Exterior with Charcoal Nubuck and Nappa leather interior.

Features on our R-Design included Power Panoramic Sun Roof with Sunshade, 10-Way Power Heated Front Seats, Rear Park Assist and Camera, Hands-Free Power Tailgate, Keyless Entry and Drive, 4-Zone Electronic Climate Control, LED Fog Lamps with corner illumination and a 40/20/40 Second Row Folding Seat.

The XC90 also features the new Volvo Sensus Connect with Navigation system that uses a segment first tablet-style-functionality 9-inch display for intuitive operation of infotainment, climate control and vehicle management functions. The Sensus system eliminates most of the center stack buttons and knobs common to other vehicles. It takes a little time to become proficient, but once you are, you will never miss the button clutter.

Packages on our R-Design included a Vision Package ($1,800) with Blind Spot Information System and CrossTraffic Alert, 360 degree Surround View Camera and Retractable Side Mirrors. The Climate Package ($1,700) added the Head-Up Display, Heated Rear Seats, Steering Wheel, Windshield and Washer Nozzles. The Convenience Package ($1,800) completed the offering with Lane Keep Assist, Park Pilot Assist, Front Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control with Pilot Assist that (maintaining distance to car in front under 30 mph) can steer your XC90 in trail to that vehicle.

Standalone Options included:
• Bursting Blue Metallic paint ($560)
• 22-inch 5-Double Spoke Alloy Wheels in Matte Black Diamond Cut ($1,000)
• FOUR-C Active Chassis with 4-Corner Air Suspension ($1,800)
• Carbon Fibre Interior Accent Inlays ($800)
• Second Row Center Seat Child Booster ($250)
• Bowers and Wilkinson 1400-Watt 12-Channel, Class D Amplifier with CD audio ($2,650).

The Bowers and Wilkinson system is engineered for the XC90 with the type and placement of 19-speakers such that the passenger sound experience is outstanding no matter where one is sitting. The speakers are artfully crafted and located to accent both the sound experience as well as the interior design. A couple of examples are the unusual ‘Tweeter on Top' of the dash placed there to deliver sound into the cabin without reflection from the windshield and passenger doors that feature an artfully stacked 25mm Nautilus tweeter on top of 100mm Kevlar Midrange Cones in each door.

There are three levels of selectable “Sound Experience” to choose from on the Bowers and Wilkinson. STUDIO delivers what Volvo considers the classic premium audio experience. INDIVIDUAL STAGE is designed to enhance vocals in the audio while CONCERT HALL enhances instrumentals in the sound experience.

With destination charges, our 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD R-Design priced at $67,155.

In addition to the R-Design, the 2016 Volvo XC 90 AWD crossover SUV comes in two other trim levels, Momentum and Inscription.

Momentum - MSRP $49,800: Is the volume model in the lineup. The Momentum comes with 19-inch wheels, navigation, third-row seating, leather trims, heated front seats, camera and hands-free power tailgate - all standard.
Momentum offers a number of packages and options that enhance its performance and luxury. Included are the Momentum Plus which adds several illumination features like Active Bending Headlights and Auto High Beam plus high level interior illumination and Dark Flame Birch Wood Inlays. One of the options for Inscription are the 20-inch 5-Double Spoke Alloy Wheels in Matte Tech Black.

Inscription - MSRP $55,400: Is the top-of-the-line model with more features and luxury like LED Lighting, 20-inch wheels, unique exterior trim treatments, Nappa leather seating and accent trim on the dash and doors, linear wood inlays, front ventilated seats and rear sun shade standard. The same group of Packages as on the Momentum are available. There is also an optional 21-inch 8-Spoke Alloy Wheels in Silver Bright Diamond Cut.

Selecting your XC90
We seriously enjoyed driving the 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD R-Design. After having driven the T6 AWD Momentum trim-level (nearly identically equipped as our test R-Design) at the Texas Auto Writers Annual Truck Rodeo last fall, we have a tough time deciding which of the XC90 T6 models we like best.

We will caution that to make your choice you need to know - in addition to the T6 - Volvo is also offering the XC90 in a T5 five-passenger version plus a T8 seven-passenger model with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

XC90 T5
The 2016 Volvo XC90 T5 is the five-passenger version powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine mated to the eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain produces 250 horsepower with 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The MSRP for the T5 FWD is $43,950 and the T5 AWD $45,950.

XC90 T8 AWD
The XC90 T8 is the plug-in hybrid version of the XC90. It is powered by the same engine as the T6 then adds an 87 horsepower electric motor with 9.2 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack to power the rear wheels. The twin power delivers a combined 400 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2016 XC90 T8 comes in AWD only with a MSRP of $68,100.

The new 2016 XC90 with its bold - yet Volvo minimalist - styling, artful use of premium materials, innovative technology, industry leading safety features, efficient high performing power trains, premium cabin amenities and a superb ride and drive experience certainly got our attention. We think it will get yours as well.
 


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