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2019 Volvo XC90 Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2019 Volvo XC90?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

Are You Considering a 2019 Volvo XC90? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

Drivers who are looking for a luxury third-row SUV will likely be pleased by a lot of what can be found on the 2019 Volvo XC90. Even the base trim level, the Momentum, comes jam-packed with a long list of standard features that drivers will enjoy. At the very top tier, the Excellence trim virtually turns the XC90 into a limousine, complete with a refrigerator and massaging seats. Unfortunately, the XC90 has its set of issues, including a busy ride quality and a series of 4-cylinder engines that struggle at higher speeds. Still, the XC90 has a chic, luxurious style that is hard to beat.

What's New for 2019?

Now in the midst of the second generation of XC90s, the 2019 Volvo XC90 hosts only a few major changes that are worthy of mentioning. This model year, the Convenience and Momentum Plus packages have been axed from the line-up, and the Advanced and Multimedia packages have been added in. One of the most exciting changes is that the base all-wheel drive models are now equipped with standard four-zone climate control and heated seats. Additionally, the Inscription and R-Design trims now each come with a upgraded Harman Kardon sound system.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2019 Volvo XC90 – The Pros

1. Precision Handling

Handling on the 2019 Volvo XC90 is top notch for a vehicle in its segment. Even if you don't opt for the adjustable suspension (which improves the XC90's handling performance even more), you get the sense that the SUV is grounded. Stability control comes on quickly and will often turn itself on, which lends to a greater sense of security for any driver facing any type of road or weather condition.

2. A Stylish Design

It is impossible to deny that the new Volvo XC90 has style. Inside and out, the vehicle embodies contemporary luxury. The materials used throughout the cabin are undoubtedly high-quality, and the workmanship shows in the fact that there are no awkward gaps or odd rattles coming from anywhere inside of the vehicle. On the outside, the XC90 embodies Scandinavian luxury with its uniquely shaped taillights and bold grille in the front. It is hard to mistake the XC90 for another SUV thanks to its exterior design components.

3. Numerous Standard Safety Features

The 2019 Volvo XC90 has been swathed in standard safety features and functions. A blind-spot information system, Volvo On Call, smartphone app integration, and a whiplash protection system all come as standard features on the base Momentum trim. The higher up you go in trim levels, the more standard features get added into the mix. There are also quite a few stand-alone options and packages that add even more security to the vehicle. The 360-degree surround view camera is helpful since it shows potential hazards and objects all around the vehicle.

4. An Incredibly Spacious Cabin

Third-row SUVs are not exactly known for being the most spacious. However, the Volvo XC90 makes the most of interior space and even manages to offer up a third row of seating that kids can comfortably sit in without banging knees and elbows. The first and second rows boast bountiful head, shoulder, hip, and leg space. Additionally, the cabin makes good use of storage spaces, and the versatile utility in its design frees up space for passengers who need to store their personal items.

5. A Plug-in Hybrid Variant is Available

For those looking to save on fuel, there is a plug-in hybrid variant of the 2019 Volvo XC90 available. This trim is known as the T8 eAWD, and it operates on the T6's 2.0-L 4-cylinder turbo- and super-charged engine paired with a battery and 87-hp electric motor. Together, this powertrain is able to generate 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. The battery only takes about two-and-a-half hours to charge while placed on a Level 2 charger, and the electric-only travel distance is rated for about 17 miles. The T8 comes as either a variant of the Momentum, Inscription, or R-Design trims, so there are plenty of options to choose from.

6. Braking Feels Secure

Braking is one of the strongest aspects of the XC90's driving performance. The pedal is decisively short and adequately firm beneath the foot. Stops of all kinds (including panic stops) feel controlled, and there is no noticeable nosedive. The stopping distance from 60 to 0 mph is also quite adequate at about 124 feet. With the number of driver aids available to help mitigate hazardous braking situations, the XC90 feels all the more secure and inspires driver confidence.

7. Light Off-roading Capabilities

Most luxury vehicles are not ideal for any off-roading adventures, but the 2019 Volvo XC90 is capable of light off-roading feats despite not being equipped with the best tires for the job. The 9.3 inches of ground clearance that Volvo offers is quite generous for this segment, and pairing that with all-wheel drive means that the XC90 has a good amount of stability for traveling off of the beaten path.

8. Maximum Seat Comfort

Since luxury is a main focus in the XC90, seat comfort reaches a maximum. Regardless of where you are in the vehicle, you are bound to enjoy the well-bolstered seats. Lumbar and lateral support are abundant, and you can adjust the seats in order to optimize comfort levels for your thighs. Those who are sitting in the second row get to enjoy sliding and reclining seats. All-wheel drive models come standard with heated seats, and, in the Excellence trim, all seats are equipped with heat, ventilation, and massaging functions.

9. Excellent Visibility

Forward visibility on the 2019 Volvo XC90 is excellent thanks to the well-crafted sloping hood. It is easy to see where the front of the vehicle ends from any driving position. The slender roof pillars and wide windshield help to keep forward visibility broad. Visibility on the sides and in the rear is also quite good, and drivers who do not wish to rely on the 360-degree surround view camera will enjoy not having to do so. However, it is there if you should need it.

10. Plenty of Cargo Space

Cargo space in the Volvo XC90 is relatively large for a vehicle in its class. With all seats in place, there is 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space available for storing items. However, when you fold the seats down, you get a maximum cargo space of 85.7 cubic feet. This leaves plenty of room for stashing bulkier items like sports and camping gear. Also, the load height feels just right and is relatively low if you opt for the air suspension system.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2019 Volvo XC90 – The Cons

1. A Busy Ride Quality

Unfortunately, the ride quality on the 2019 Volvo XC90 is lacking finesse. Equipping the optional 21-inch tires is what seems to negatively impact ride quality the most. Bumps large and small are not smoothed over as you might expect from a luxury vehicle, and you have to wait to get over a bump for the ride to feel well-mannered again. It is probably a better idea to stick with the smaller wheels if ride quality is a top priority for you.

2. A Confusing Touchscreen Layout

Another downfall that the XC90 suffers is that a lot of the touchscreen functions are difficult to use. There are a ton of buttons on the dashboard for the infotainment system that are confusing, but the touchscreen is even more problematic. Even tech-savvy drivers will have some trouble locating where certain controls are located within the system. There are much more user-friendly infotainment systems on the market.

3. A Sub-par Fuel Economy

Unless you opt for one of the plug-in hybrid trim levels, you are going to feel the burn at the fuel pump. On the gasoline-only models, the best fuel efficiency you can get is 25 combined mpg (21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway) on the T5 Momentum and R-Design. The T6 engines take these numbers down, nabbing just 22 combined mpg (19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway). Given some of the performance-based pitfalls inherent in both engines, the lack of fuel efficiency might aid in deterring some customers.

4. Engines Rapidly Run Out of Steam

The 2019 Volvo XC90 is a massive vehicle that requires a ton of power to give it momentum. Sadly, both the T5 and T6 engines seem to run out of steam pretty quickly after their initial burst of power. They struggle to make it up hilly roadways and along more difficult road grades.

How it stacks up to the competition:

2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 Audi Q7

The 2019 Volvo XC90 has stiff competition from the 2019 Audi Q7. While it lacks the generous amount of cargo space the XC90 possessed, the Q7 is comfortable to sit in and offers a ride quality that far surpasses that of the XC90.

2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 BMW X5

The BMW X5 is another major contender this year thanks to its enhanced infotainment and safety features as well as its new off-roading capabilities. Unfortunately, space is tight in the third and even second row of the X5.


The 2019 Volvo XC90 has some performance and technological issues that need to be finessed. However, the XC90 is still highly luxurious and offers a lot in the way of safety and well-designed interior space. It stands to be a strong competitor in its class this year.

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