2017 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription conquers the streets of Los Angeles
While attending the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show Press Days, Volvo graciously extended to me a 3-day drive and ride experience in what many consider to be one of, if not, the finest near full size SUVs available in North America. Let’s drive!
I’d transition into the horrific traffic patterns of Los Angeles while navigating Volvo’s top of the line 2017 XC90 T6 Inscription. This turbocharged and supercharged,4- drive-mode-select equipped, 8-speed Geartronic ™ automatic transmission, 3-row luxury, Inscription T6 featured all-wheel-drive, something that came in handy more than once while traversing the hilly streets of downtown Los Angeles.. Our test ride comes fully optioned with an MSRP of $57,050, right in line with this contender.
XC90 is the vehicle that’s driving Volvo sales in North America to near pre-recession levels; rightfully so. When directly compared to Acura MDX, Mazda C9, Lexus GX and other offerings in the premium near- full size SUV segment, Volvo XC90 meets or exceeds consumer expectations of cabin comfort, drive performance, safety and tech driven options; as well as standard connectivity and entertainment person to vehicle interface -- power adjusted message, heated driver’s seat included. Don’t need an SUV, read my latest Volvo S90 premium sedan drive review here.
Tons of instant-on torque and maneuverability
What’s more than a bit surprising here for this life-time Volvo owner is the ZERO lag supercharged, turbocharged off-the-light sport-like acceleration experienced behind the wheel of Volvo’s largest urbane utility. Weighing in at 4700 lbs, this 3-row Volvo is nimble and quick way beyond one’s experience based perception of what an SUV can do in a street environment.
Transitioning through L.A.’s stop and go traffic requires aggressive, split second lane changes, neck-snapping stop and go brake application, accident avoidance maneuvers, and the occasional sprint through a rather yellow traffic signal; all in hopes of reaching a freeway on-ramp before yet another wave of anxious driver’s cut you off at the intersection. Crazy!
This heavyweight SUV handles more like a midsize sedan sporting last century V8 power, yet lands near the top of this segment in exceptional combined fuel efficiency and super low emissions. (20 MPG City/ 25 MPG Highway)
By staging an initial supercharged take off with a transitioned turbocharged, direct injected 2.0 Liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, Volvo propels XC90 SUV engine performance to near V8 levels, (316 [email protected]/295 lb-ft [email protected] rpm) while reducing tailpipe born emissions to nil.
The acceleration on tap is astounding, as is the comfort and “Swedish Sanctuary” environment of XC90’s leather wrapped heated steering wheel, perforated heated (seemingly) infinitely adjustable driver and front passenger seat; individual climate control; front and 2nd row seating area; ample leg head and shoulder room , as well as glass top star-cruise visibility and over-the-top concert hall audio entertainment.
But, is 2017 Volvo XC90 road quiet?
Well, that depends on the road surface: Today’s all-weather tire compounds, large wheels and low profile side walls tend to be more ‘road surface sensitive,’ such is the case with Volvo’s premium SUV. The road to interior noise transference is influenced by road surface, yet meets or exceeds the interior quiet of Acura, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes, through superior chassis construction, insulation, and in the case of the T6, a concert hall-like music experience.
While driving through the busiest city on the west coast, one encounters traffic jambs; construction zones; airport flyover and the occasional ambulance, police vehicle or two, L.A. is noisy, Volvo XC90 tames it!
Floor it Johnnie!
XC90 brings a welcomed split personality drive-mode to the field with sprint-quick capability when needed. In Los Angeles, you need it! I found myself more than once driving like a New York cab driver while transitioning from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles -- leave your aggression at home, go nowhere in L.A.. 2017 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription is more than up to the task.
No longer than Volvo’s exception S90 4-door sedan, equipped with independent suspension, all wheel drive and Volvo pilot assist ™, with 318 horsepower on tap, this near Autonomous drive experience transitions in and out of high and low speed traffic with minimal side roll, grab-free brakes, and a very effective adaptive cruise control. A safety plus here is a collision avoidance warning system that brings XC90 to a complete stop if and when required. Did I mention how comfortable the driving seat is?
All well and good. But where Volvo’s flagship truly shines is on the open road. Ease in, adjust your seat back, turn on the roller back massage, select your favorite music choice and cruise. Miles fade in your rear view mirror effortlessly, as XC90 does what it does best, drives!
Wish to take a friend or two along for the ride? Volvo XC90 may be configured for up to 7, and comes to market with a beginning MsRP of $45,750+.
For discerning drivers wishing for a bit more luxury, or greater fuel efficiency, look to the limo-class XC90 Excellence or XC90 T8 plug-in, pricey but worth every penny.
Likes: Seamless on-tap power, “ Swedish sanctuary” comfort zone, concert hall sound system, overall ride comfort, segmented touch screen.
What I’d change: Tire compound, 2nd row door size, (ease of access) that’s it!