Photo by Paul Clinton.

Photo by Paul Clinton.

Volvo's top-line luxury SUV received a wide-ranging update for 2016 that vaults the vehicle into the top tier of choices with the German competitors.

The revamp has resulted in plenty of accolades, including the vehicle winning North American Truck of the Year at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, as well as landing on the annual Ward's top 10 engine list.

It can be argued that the 2016 XC90 is Volvo's safest and most autonomous vehicle to date. The Swedish automaker known for prioritizing safety has also raised the luxury bar with high-quality interior materials that impress but rarely call attention to them so it remains in keeping with a Swedish style that's more austere.

The XC90's 2.0L four-cylinder T6 engine is turbocharged and supercharged, an engineering choice that enables dynamic driving with a sensible approach to fuel economy. The engine makes 316 hp while providing an EPA-rated 25 mpg on the highway. City driving should provide 20 mpg.

The XC90 delivers its power via an 8-speed automatic transmission to a standard all-wheel drive system that keeps its 4,394-pound unloaded weight in check during cornering maneuvers. The vehicle has shed 220 pounds due to extensive use of high-strength boron steel and some aluminum body panels. Overall length comes in at 194.8 inches.

Photo by Paul Clinton.

Photo by Paul Clinton.

As of early 2016, the XC90 is offered in three trim levels, including the base Momentum, sportier R-Design, and Inscription. Volvo has tested a front-wheel-drive model, and announced plans to offer a plug-in hybrid T8 XC90.

The vehicle includes an optional Pilot Assist autonomous driving mode and plenty of safety technology. Pilot Assist takes some getting used to, but it's an impressive feature for slaying highway gridlock. You set the feature while traveling under 30 mph with vehicles surrounding you, and the XC90 will apply braking or acceleration without steering or braking inputs from the driver. You must tap the wheel every few minutes to keep the feature activated.

The XC90 Inscription's cabin offers high quality materials such as walnut wood door inlays, Nappa leather upholstery and door panels, heated seats, and a large touch-based center-stack screen that comes close to an iPad user experience.

We tested the XC90 Inscription, which adds LED headlights, a 12.3-inch instrument display, and Nappa leather, among other things. Options included 21-inch wheels, a 360-view camera, a Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system, and air suspension. It would retail for $66,705.

Related Photos: Volvo's 2016 XC90

About the author
Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton

Former Senior Web Editor

Paul Clinton covered an array of fleet and automotive topics for Automotive Fleet, Government Fleet, Mobile Electronics, Police Magazine, and other Bobit Business Media publications.

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