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Volvo XC90 Inscription Expression Recharge

“A Path Less Taken”

The second generation XC90 has now been with us for six years.  When it came onto the scene it was ground breaking.  It was visually stunning, or at minimum as stunning as an SUV can get.  The iconic Thor’s Hammer headlights in bright white LED look aggressive and elegant at the same time.  Combine this with a stable architecture and advanced powertrain and you have a recipe for a vehicle that stands the test of time.  Getting behind the wheel of the XC90 six years into its inception and it still feels significant in 2021.

To keep things active for the 2021 model year and to remain true to Volvo’s promise to convert all new vehicles since 2019 to be either all electric or electric hybrid, the 2021 XC90 comes in “Recharge” trim.  Under the hood resides a 2.0L supercharged and turbo charged 4 cylinder mated to a 87hp electric motor that powers the rear wheels and produces 177 lb-ft of instant torque.  The output is 402 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque.  This translates to an impressive 5.6 second 0-100 km sprint.  The “Recharge” line essentially replaces the T8 series and can be had in different variations throughout the Volvo line of cars.

The interior of the XC90 has always been its jewel.  It feels like you are stepping into a Scandinavian Spa.  It is minimalistic and calm with a combination of natural materials, woods and metal that create a sense of serenity and calmness.  The most prominent feature remains the 9 inch center Sensus Screen along with a 12.3 inch digital cluster that displays navigation and all mechanical details.  Whereas at one time the Sensus 9 inch screen was dominant, compared to current trends and sizes, it is beginning to show its age; as is the Sensus control system.  It is not the most user friendly system and tends to be slow in response.  With the integration of a new Google OS for upcoming generations, this will no longer be an issue.

Now all of this Swedish comfort and design comes at a healthy price of nearly $86,000 CAD.  This includes the following:

  • Heated rear seats, steering wheel, and wiper bay ($1,000);
  • Heads-up display and 360-degree camera ($1,650); and
  • Harman Kardon premium sound system ($1,500).

To keep occupants safe Volvo stands behind its reputation as being some of the safest vehicles on the road with features such as blind spot monitoring, front and rear collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist.  These comfort and safety features work together to give the XC90 a well composed driving manner.  Despite its size and weight of 2,270 kg the XC90 manages turns and corners with composure and without feeling whale like.  The suspension handles most road conditions well, but, would be considered on the stiff side of luxury suspensions.

The XC90, despite its veteran status is still a viable choice in a market that does not offer many luxury seven seaters in plug in form. The closest competitor is in the form of the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring.  However, the Volvo is a different cup of tea.  It’s a bit more conventional in style, but has a level of European flare and refinement that can only be presented in a way the Swedes can.  I have a bit of a soft spot for Volvos that dates back to the 90’s and I have always been the sucker for the underdog. Despite the presence the Aviator has and its sleek design cues, the XC90 has this unknown quality that draws you toward it and it’s difficult to resist.  With the next generation XC90 already in the works, I am sure that Volvo will impress the industry once again and I for one can’t wait.

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