2017 Volvo XC90 Review: Just don’t pick the PHEV

– Cleveland, Ohio

Volvo needs a trophy room at its headquarters in Sweden for all the awards the XC90 has won, including North American Truck/Utility of the Year, Motor Trend SUV of the Year, and an Automobile All-Star award. Those are just a few of the honors it has won in the United States; the rest of the world has gone ga-ga over the XC90, too. So I was eager to drive one, and thought a loaded XC90 T8 Inscription plug-in hybrid model would be ideal to test. What I discovered is the attributes that make the XC90 so revered are all there, but all of those awards should come with an asterisk: Excluding the plug-in hybrid model.




Nice duds. The XC90 would easily win the tiara in a beauty pageant with its German and Japanese competitors. When designing large SUVs, most luxury automakers stretch their brand’s familial design elements to fit over these larger frames, but Volvo kicked off its new design language by introducing it first on the XC90. That confidence is well placed, as the vehicle looks expensive from every angle. The design is refreshingly filigree-free and the whole package wonderfully balanced in proportion. It’s Scandinavian by nature but progressive by design.

Interior sparkles. Based on the quality of materials inside the XC90 and how they’re assembled, I’d rather buy my next furniture set from Volvo than IKEA. This particular XC90 Inscription (Volvo has odd trim level names that also include Momentum, Kinetic, and Excellence) features Linear Walnut Wo...