2021 Volvo XC90 FAQ Review

Chris Teague, Independent Expert | Oct 05, 2021

The 2021 Volvo XC90 is the Swedish automaker's flagship SUV and has evolved from a simple but upscale family hauler into a rolling billboard for restrained Scandinavian luxury. The 3-row XC90 SUV is also one of the safest vehicles on the road today, boasting top safety scores and a staggering list of standard advanced driver aids.

What's new for the 2021 Volvo XC90? - Find the best Volvo deals!

Volvo gave the XC90 modest updates for 2021 to keep it in line with tech and safety trends in its segment. Updates include:

  • Renaming T8 PHEV to T8 Recharge
  • New standard active LED headlights
  • New front parking sensors
  • New wireless smartphone charging
  • Two rear USB-C ports
  • Care Key, which functions similarly to a valet key
  • New paint colors

2021 VOLVO XC90 SPECS - Find the best Volvo deals!

2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Inscription Plug-in Hybrid Birch Light Metallic Front Quarter View

What are the 2021 Volvo XC90 configurations?

The 2021 Volvo XC90 comes in three main configurations: T5, T6, and T8 Recharge, each denoting the vehicle's powertrain. Each is further split into individual trim levels, which indicate options and standard features: Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and Inscription Expression.

The XC90 T5 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The XC90 T6 gets a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 316 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. The T8 Recharge adds two electric motors to that powertrain for a total of 400 hp and 472 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard for the T5, and all-wheel drive (AWD) is standard for the T6 and T8. All configurations come with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features for the Momentum include:

Standard features for the Inscription trim include:

  • Afterrun parking climate system
  • Side and rear sun curtains
  • Blind-spot warning
  • 20-inch wheels
  • All-wheel drive
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Harman Kardon premium stereo

The R-Design trim is only available for the T8 Recharge and comes standard with:

  • Black exterior trim
  • R-Design exterior styling
  • Sport pedals
  • Sport leather gear shift
  • Sport steering wheel

The Inscription Expression trim is only available for the T8 Recharge and comes standard with:

  • 19-inch wheels
  • Leather upholstery
  • Linear walnut wood interior trim
  • High-performance audio

What is the 2021 Volvo XC90 price?

Pricing for the 2021 Volvo XC90 is as follows:

  • XC90 Momentum: $49,900
  • XC90 Inscription: $63,600
  • XC90 T8 Recharge Inscription: $63,800
  • XC90 T8 Recharge R-Design: $69,500
  • XC90 T8 Recharge Inscription Expression: $70,100

All prices are subject to a $1,095 destination charge.

What is the 2021 Volvo XC90 cargo space?

The 2021 Volvo XC90 offers the most cargo space of any of its competitors. With all three rows of seats upright, the SUV offers 15.8 cubic feet of space. With the third-row seats down, there are 41.8 cubic feet of space, and with both second- and third-row seats folded, the XC90 offers 85.7 cubic feet of space. All 2021 XC90 models come standard with a hands-free power liftgate.

What is the 2021 Volvo XC90 gas mileage?

Each of the XC90's three powertrains delivers different fuel economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), combined city/highway mileage estimates are as follows:

  • XC90 T5 FWD: 25 mpg
  • XC90 T5 AWD: 23 mpg
  • XC90 T6 AWD: 22 mpg
  • XC90 T8 Recharge AWD: 27 mpg and 55 MPGe

Based on EPA mileage estimates and the XC90's 18.8-gallon fuel tank capacity, the maximum driving range for the T8 Recharge AWD on a single tank of gas is 507 miles in gas mode.

Is the 2021 Volvo XC90 safe?

The 2021 Volvo XC90 is one of the safest premium SUVs on sale today. It earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the highest-possible 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

What made these 2021 Volvo XC90 safety ratings possible? A comprehensive list of standard safety equipment, including:

  • Blind-spot warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Road sign recognition
  • Driver-drowsiness monitors

What is the 2021 Volvo XC90 towing capacity?

The 2021 XC90 can tow up to 5,000 pounds with AWD and 4,000 pounds with FWD. Both specs are for braked trailers, as the number is just 1,650 pounds without trailer brake assistance.

2021 VOLVO XC90 REVIEW - Find the best Volvo deals!

A 2021 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription is the subject of this review. It had additional options that include:

  • Advanced package ($1,650) with head-up display, 360-degree camera, advanced air cleaner
  • Climate package ($750) with heated rear seats, high-pressure headlight cleaning, heated steering wheel
  • Park Assist Pilot ($200)

The price of the test vehicle came to $67,790, including the $1,095 destination charge.

How is the 2021 Volvo XC90 interior?

2021 Volvo XC90 Inscription Tailored Wool Blend Midnight Zinc with Charcoal Interior

The XC90 carries a beautiful interior that takes a slightly different approach to luxury than other premium European vehicles. Volvo's Scandinavian style shines through, as the XC90's cabin borders on minimalist but retains a premium feel. Materials and build quality are both top-notch, and there's upscale leather with precise stitching covering the dash, seats, and center console.

Front-row passengers in the XC90 T6 enjoy seat heating and ventilation, and the Nappa leather upholstery is soft and rich. The rear bench in 7-seat models offers good support for outboard passengers, but anyone unlucky enough to get stuck in the middle won't appreciate the hard center seat.

The XC90 features a tablet-oriented 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with all the bells and whistles. The screen is sharp and colorful but can lag at times and doesn't always operate smoothly. Climate controls are confusing and can lead to blasting the air far too hard or wondering if the vents are delivering any air.

Is the 2021 Volvo XC90 comfortable?

The XC90's seats are supremely comfortable and offer a high degree of adjustability. The comfy chairs allow drivers of varying heights and sizes to find a comfortable and ergonomic driving position easily. Extendable thigh rests and good side bolsters help reduce fatigue on longer drives, and the XC90's large windows make for solid outward visibility in most directions.

While the first two rows are spacious and comfortable, reaching and using the third row can be challenging for adults and anyone larger than an elementary school child. Once there, the seat is mounted low to the ground and forces passengers' knees into an uncomfortable bent position.

Does the 2021 Volvo XC90 drive itself?

To be clear, no new cars drive themselves without input and/or supervision from the driver. The XC90 is no exception, though it does offer a Pilot Assist feature that helps the driver steer between lane markings, maintain an even speed, and maintain a set distance to the vehicle in front. Drivers can select the system in place of traditional adaptive cruise control.

Does the 2021 Volvo XC90 have AWD?

While the base T5 is FWD with optional AWD, the XC90 T6 comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Is the 2021 Volvo XC90 fun to drive?

The 2021 XC90 feels far more at home cruising city streets and road-tripping than it does tearing down a backroad. The vehicle is too large and heavy to muster anything resembling agility, but that's not the point. The XC90 is engineered and designed for comfort, and that mentality shines through in every aspect of its operation.

Beyond coarse engine sounds when cold and under heavy acceleration, the SUV remains quiet and gives its occupants an isolated feeling on the road. The large 20-inch wheels allow more sound and vibrations to enter the cabin than expected in a luxury vehicle, but the XC90's ride is otherwise composed and comfortable.

IS THE 2021 VOLVO XC90 A GOOD SUV? - Find the best Volvo deals!

2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Inscription Plug-in Hybrid Birch Light Metallic Rear Quarter View

The XC90 is a comfortable, safe, and attractively styled 3-row premium SUV. The Volvo isn't as athletic as many of its rivals. Still, its approach to relaxed, serene luxury is refreshing in an era when automakers seem to drive for more power, speed, and performance constantly. Volvo's push to add more standard tech, comfort, and safety features also makes the XC90 a value pick in its segment. To be sure, even the entry-level T5 can be upgraded with AWD and still sneak in with a price tag lower than many of its similarly equipped rivals.

What is the 2021 Volvo XC90 competition? - Find the best Volvo deals!

The 2021 Volvo XC90 resides in a fiercely competitive class that includes the Audi Q7Cadillac XT6, and Mercedes-Benz GLE. Buyers also cross-shop the BMW X5Genesis GV80, and the Lincoln Aviator.

Chris Teague is an automotive journalist with several years of experience covering tech, new vehicles, industry trends, and breaking news. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous digital and print publications, marketing journals, and national ad campaigns.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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