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2017 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription
The 2017 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD SUV Inscription provides overall handiness.

Price: $57,200

The Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription SUV might be considered a modern, upscale successor to boxy Volvo station wagons of decades ago.

The 2017 XC90 comes in a variety of models with different engines, comfort levels and prices, which range from $45,750 to $104,900. There’s even a plug-in hybrid. If you want to get glassy-eyed, just start going through all the various configurations.

One assumes that Volvo wants to provide an SUV shopper with such a variety of choices that he or she won’t leave a showroom without getting an XC90.

There’s three-row seating with room for seven occupants, although reaching the third row requires some contortions. And cargo room is marginal when the third seat is in its upright position. However, there’s a huge cargo area with the back seats folded.

Climbing aboard calls for a moderately high step-in that doesn’t call for running boards. The handsome body has a high belt line which may cause shorter occupants to feel a bit submerged, but the cabin is quiet and roomy with lots of storage areas.  

I tested a equipment-loaded XC90—the $51,600 XC90 T6 AWD with the $5,600 Inscription package, which contains such things as 20-inch tinted silver alloy wheels, ventilated front seating with power side support front seats, linear walnut wood inlays and Nappa leather upholstery for the dashboard and upper door panels.

 And, oh yes, my test XC90 T6 also had an $1,8000 air suspension for an almost heavenly ride over most surfaces. A good  number of other options included a Climate package with a heated steering wheel and a Luxury package with a massaging front seat and a leather sun visor.


All things considered, the $1,800 Convenience package with adaptive cruise control and a “Park Assist Pilot” seemed to make a lot of sense.

The XC90 T6 AWD Inscription has plenty of good stuff, including a 2-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder with 316 horsepower and 295 pound/feet of torque. My test 194.4-inch-long Volvo was no lightweight at 4,804 pounds but still hustled from 0-60 m.p.h. in 6.6 seconds and provided swift passing punch on highways.

However, owners will pay more at the pump because Volvo says “high octane” fuel is need “for the best performance.”

Adaptive drive mode settings lets one choose “Economy,” “Comfort,” “Off Road” and “Dynamic” for “high performance driving.” I kept my XC90 T6 in “Comfort” mode most of the time. I didn’t try the off-road feature because there’s nowhere to go off-road in the Chicago area without  getting arrested, but Dynamic mode definitely allowed livelier driving.

Estimated fuel economy, even with the standard all-wheel drive, is 20 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on highways. Don’t fret too much—fuel tank capacity is nearly 19 gallons.

Other standard features of my test XC90 included most of the stuff you’ll find in a high-end large sedan. Equipment included a high-performance radio system with 10 speakers, panoramic moonroof with a power sunshade, heated power front seats, 4-zone electronic climate control and a rear-park-assist feature with a rearview camera. I was surprised to find that the steering column didn’t have a power-adjust feature.

Handling was commendable, thanks to such things as quick power steering, advanced electronic stability control, the large 20-inch alloy wheels, roll-stability control and the all-wheel-drive system. The brake pedal had a light, but linear, action.

Safety features included a low-speed collision avoidance system, with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection.

The prominent engine on-off console switch seemed rather odd. And the large dashboard touchscreen was frustrating to use and caused me to remove too much attention from the road.

The solid-feeling XC90 is certainly competitive, although all those often-desirable extras bumped the price of my test model from $57,200 to $72,805, including a $995 destination charge.

But I don’t think this is a vehicle I would flip every year or so.

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