CRITICS' CORNER

Volvo XC90: The un-German crossover

The redesigned and re-engineered 2016 Volvo XC90 is crucial to the Swedish automaker's revival plans. The big 7-seat crossover sports not just new styling and technology, but also Volvo's first new engine in years. as well as /nu There's also end nu a plug-in hybrid version. Here are some snippets from early reviews:

"Volvo's new Drive-E engine family tops out with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which isn't much motor when you consider that the XC90 weighs between 4,600 and 5,200 pounds. To make two liters feel like three and a half, a turbocharger and a supercharger inflate the so-called T6 engine's peak power and low-end responsiveness for a total output of 316 horsepower and a zero-to-60 run in the low six seconds. Married to a polished eight-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive, the T6 delivers the no-drama, easygoing authority that you'd expect from a brand that's more closely aligned with comfort than sport." -- Car And Driver

"Volvo estimates that this powertrain will be good for a 0-60 run in 6.1 seconds, but from the minute we got behind the wheel we doubted the claim. There's a decent tug from a dead stop but then power seems to vanish quickly. Track testing confirmed this, as our test vehicle's best 0-60-mph time was 7.4 seconds. And that was done by shifting the automatic manually through the gears in the vehicle's Performance mode. Keeping it in standard Drive mode netted a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds. For reference, the Acura MDX takes only 6.5 seconds, while the Land Rover Discovery Sport takes 7.7 seconds.

"As always, track numbers never tell the full story. This time, however, the story doesn't get better away from our coned-off asphalt. On an open road, with constant cruising speeds and little elevation, the four-cylinder is a peach, humming along quietly just above idle. For most of us, though, our real world involves hills, stop-and-go traffic and speed changes." -- Edmunds.com

"Perhaps the best place to start is inside the 2016 XC90, where customers spend most of their time. Not to give short shrift to the exterior, which is less bulky in person, is very well-executed and announces a promising direction for Volvo's future styling, but the interior is where the real action is.

"As with the exterior, Volvo has taken another bold step away from conservative and toward understated. Whereas craftsmanship has always been a brand value, the company is now more interested in your seeing and feeling it. The leather is of a distinctly higher quality and stitched neatly to nearly every surface. What's not leather is interestingly textured metal trim or wood, with a spot of soft-touch plastic here and there. It's stylish, it's upscale, it's modern, it's functional, and it's spacious. -- Motor Trend

"Volvo has also put considerable thought into a new 9-inch touchscreen, which replaces most physical controls. It merits two backhanded compliments: It's better than Volvo's terrible old system, and it's better than most touchscreen systems competitors offer. The screen looks capacitive (like an iPad or Cadillac Cue), but it's actually the more common resistive variety. Only the latter responds to gloved fingers, and Swedes spend a lot of time wearing gloves. We imagine they also spend a lot of time listening to ABBA, which blasts from the XC90's Bowers & Wilkins speakers as soon as we twist the ignition." -- Automobile

You can reach at autonews@crain.com. -- Follow on Twitter

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