Buyer's Guide

2021 Volvo Xc90
Select a Different Model (14 Available): Recharge T8 Inscription Expression Plug-in Hybrid 6-Seat AWD
Fuel Economy $ 58 / 53 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 16/86 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 6/6
Horsepower 390@6,000
See All Specs
Free Price Quote From a Local Dealer


  • Good powertrains
  • Beautifully crafted interior
  • Comfortable seats


  • Larger alloy wheels hurt ride comfort
  • Finicky infotainment system
  • Inconsistent driver assistance tech

Volvo's first SUV nameplate, the XC90, continues to be one of its most popular models thanks to its attractive design and high levels of comfort. Want the most potent model? That's the plug-in hybrid model, which also happens to be the most efficient one.

Available with seating for up to seven passengers, the XC90 epitomizes understated luxury thanks to a restrained interior with distinctive touches like matte wood trim. Should you need to spruce up the interior with more color, the XC90 is offered in warm, earthy hues.

What's New

  • All XC90s now get the following as standard: adaptive LED headlights, LED fog lights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming side mirrors, and two USB-C ports mounted in the rear passenger area
  • The Momentum trim now includes a wireless charging pad and front parking sensors
  • R-Design and higher grades now get standard heated front seats and cornering foglights
  • Inscription models are now available with the Lounge package, which adds massaging front seats, Nubuck suede headliner, leather-trimmed grab handles, and sun visors

What We Think

Despite being the oldest vehicle in the Volvo lineup, the XC90 remains a strong competitor. You won't mistake this Swedish family hauler for anything else;  it has a distinct and reserved personality. Build quality is exceptional; almost everything you interact with feels expensive. Incredible levels of seat comfort remain a Volvo hallmark. You can easily drive long hours without getting tired; the quiet cabin helps, too. Bonus points if you opt for the warm and wonderful tailored wool upholstery.

Volvo's turbocharged and supercharged T6 four-cylinder engine delivers plenty of power. Even the handling is surprisingly good for the XC90's size thanks to good body control. The steering is the weak point of the driving experience as it doesn't provide much feedback. Opting for the larger alloy wheels also yields a stiffer ride, detracting from the XC90's comfort-oriented mission. The T8 plug-in hybrid gives you the most power and allows you to travel gas-free for up to 18 miles, perfect for commuting in the city.

One issue we had with the XC90 during a one-year loan was that its safety systems weren't consistent. There were instances when the SUV issued false alarms because it thought the car was going to crash. Volvo's infotainment system, while improved, remains distracting to use with icons that can be small and hard to hit.

The Volvo XC90 was the 2016 MotorTrend SUV of the Year.

Performance, Fuel Economy, and Range

All Volvo XC90 powertrains feature a 2.0-liter I-4 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. T5 models are turbocharged, T6 variants are turbo- and supercharged, and the range-topping T8 is turbocharged, supercharged, and electrified.

Model: XC90 T5 FWD and XC90 T5 AWD
Engine and Transmission: 
2.0-liter turbo I-4 - eight-speed automatic
250 hp/258 lb-ft of torque
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy:
21/30 mpg city/highway (FWD); 20/28 mpg (AWD)

Model: XC90 T6 AWD
Engine and Transmission: 
2.0-liter turbo- and supercharged I-4 - eight-speed automatic
316 hp/295 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy:
19/28 mpg

Model: XC90 Recharge T8 eAWD
Engine and Transmission: 
2.0-liter turbo- and supercharged I-4 + electric motor - eight-speed automatic
400 hp/472 lb-ft combined
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy and Range:
26/28 mpg; 18 miles total EV mode range; 520 miles with a full tank and charge


NHTSA: 5 Stars (out of a possible 5 stars)

IIHS: 2021 Top Safety Pick+

The Volvo XC90 received a Good score on all crashworthiness tests except on the headlights test, where it received an Average rating (Good is the highest score). In the IIHS' front crash prevention test, the XC90 received a Superior rating on the vehicle-to-vehicle category and an Advanced on the vehicle-to-pedestrian test (Superior is the highest rating).

All Volvo XC90 models get forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, front and rear automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high beams, and rear cross-traffic alert as standard. Volvo's Pilot Assist system, which combined adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and enhanced steering assist, is also standard on all XC90s.


Volvo's latest infotainment system features a 9.0-inch portrait-style touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a 10-speaker audio system, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Higher trims are available with a 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system or a more powerful 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins unit. Built-in navigation is standard on the R-Design and higher grades or as part of the Advanced package on the base Momentum trim. A head-up display is also available.

Recommended Trim

To get the most out of the XC90, opt for the Inscription trim. Exceptional front seats with an optional massaging function add to the big Volvo's driving experience, emphasizing the car's ability to isolate you from the outside world. Avoid getting alloy wheels larger than 20 inches, though, because they make the XC90's ride flinty even with the available air suspension.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl Turbo & Supercharger 2.0 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, 8 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode (AW TG-81SD)
Recharge T8 Inscription Expression Plug-in Hybrid 6-Seat AWD
Luxury Utility
Standard MPG
Body Style
Fuel Type
Unleaded Premium
Seating Capacity
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Maintenance Warranty Months
Corrosion Warranty Months
Powertrain Warranty Miles
Full Warranty Miles
Powertrain Warranty Months
Full Warranty Months
Roadside Assistance Miles
Maintenance Warranty Miles
Roadside Assistance Months
IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$1000 Volvo announces a Retail Loyalty Bonus Cash offer on select models for current Volvo or Saab owners or lessees. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$2550 Volvo has announced a VCFS Lease Bonus for select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$500 Volvo announces a Loyalty Bonus Cash offer on select models for current Volvo or Saab owners or lessees when leasing a new eligible model. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$2500 Volvo has announced a Purchase Bonus for select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021