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Performance Specialists Since 1963

2018 Volvo XC90 First Impressions Review

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - IPD Staff

We had the opportunity to drive the 2018 Volvo XC90 T6 thanks to local Portland Volvo dealership DLR Nordic. We've had the fortune of working with DLR Nordic for many years and are grateful to them for allowing us this chance. Our relationship with DLR Nordic has granted us access to new Volvo models as well as the ability to test fit IPD exclusive parts and function. We appreciate the opportunity to work with them again to provide this comprehensive review of the 2018 XC90.
 
Right off the bat, we could tell that the XC90 still feels very much like a Volvo. For instance, going from a 1997 850 T-5 to the XC90 the Volvo "feel" is still retained. A pretty specific example but you get where we are going. While test driving the XC90, we were on some pretty rough roads, but the drive itself was quite smooth. Which, at first, might be confusing but the XC90 comes with a few driving modes you can choose from Dynamic, Off-Road, Comfort, and Eco. After driving around in Off Road, we switched it to Dynamic for a little more kick. To our surprise, it does burn things up a little bit. We thought there had to be baffles in the exhaust. If we get the chance, you can bet we'll be taking a closer look at what makes the car louder.
 
The XC90 is a without a doubt a big car. So it was within reason that taking corner turns too quickly it would jump around a little bit. With that in mind, the XC90 can still give quite a bit of power to move around. When you lean into it, you might think that's all it's got, but it just keeps going. As we've said, it's a big car, so we were very impressed. Some of you might be impressed though with the visibility of the XC90. While we were driving there was never really a time where we couldn't see something or wished there was more window space. Headroom leaves you feeling like you're in an amphitheater, leg space on the other hand, doesn't stand out as much. For everyday use, the first and second row should do nicely seating any sized adult however, we would limit the third row to just kids. The third row also folds flat back, so you could keep it out of sight out of mind until you need it. 
 
The heart of the XC90 is a 4-cylinder T6, and depending on the model you could be pushing anywhere between 250-316 horsepower. It doesn't have the electric rear drive which we've heard that certain people prefer. It's certainly not the type of car you're going to be speed racing. It's nice to know that if you do need to get out of the way it can do so.
 
It has some speed and size but what about the inside? Volvo spared no expense in making sure the driver had everything they could need and more when driving the XC90. Standard color for the XC90 will be a charcoal color on leatherette seat trim while specific panels will boast a wood finish. The XC90 has an extra row of seating and farther back in the trunk area; there are bag carriers and hooks. You'll be happy to know that the XC90 also has a self-close button near the tailgate.
 
Moving on to features and starting with my personal favorite the climate controller. With the center display, you can separately adjust passenger and driver sides climates. We think it's important to mention before anything else that the user interface is quite smooth. Whether you're a techie or someone still rocking a landline, there shouldn't be any difficulties navigating the center display. For anyone that regularly drives with a co-pilot, this is a much-needed quality of life upgrade. You can also enjoy the comfort of heated seats, heated steering wheel, and air-conditioned steering wheel. There's also a heads up display that has a handful of settings that you can enable. One that stood out to us was how it notifies you of the speed limit (based off systems GPS) and kind of yells at you when you're going over. Something we wondered was if you're in a low coverage area (middle of nowhere) how would it react and what would it display. The heads up display sits just outside of your peripheral vision. Where the display sits can be modified depending on preference. Something we want to mention is that even with all the features on your mind and the visual size and placement of the center display you are not distracted much by it when driving. After initially poking around and testing things out, you'll end up ignoring it. We can say with confidence, you'll find yourself zoned into figuring out everything as we did. If you detest smudgy screens, we suggest having cloth on hand because the center display loves smudges.
 
Overall the 2018 Volvo XC90 will have you completing errands and tasks in comfort and luxury. The one thing we didn't get to play around with was the Bluetooth functionality. But from what we could tell it's an integral part of the system and something you'll want to set up right away. Its one downfall is its price. With the price hitting heights of tuition and such, you might not see too many driving around. However, if you do find yourself getting one, you won't regret it.

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