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2016 Volvo XC90 Review

The 2016 Volvo XC90 ranks in the top half of its class, thanks to its pleasant handling, roomy and high-quality interior, and great safety ratings.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable, stylish interior
  • Ample passenger and cargo space
  • Simple infotainment system
  • Lots of safety features


  • Underwhelming base engine


Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Volvo XC90's #3 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Luxury Midsize SUVs category. It was the winner of our 2016 Best Luxury 3-Row SUV for Families award and a finalist for our 2016 Best Luxury 3-Row SUV for the Money award. Currently the Volvo XC90 has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 20 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 9.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.6
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Volvo XC90 Overview

Is the 2016 Volvo XC90 a Good Used SUV?

The 2016 Volvo XC90 is a great pick if you’re shopping for a used luxury midsize SUV. The XC90 has low ownership costs for its class, and it boasts excellent safety ratings. Every model also comes loaded with advanced features like forward collision and lane departure warning. Factor in the XC90’s elegant and spacious interior, brawny Drive-E engines, and great fuel economy, and you’ve got the recipe for a well-rounded SUV.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 20 Volvo XC90 reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 Volvo XC90?

You can expect to pay between $37,700 and $52,000 for a used 2016 XC90. These figures are based on 370 listings for the 2016 Volvo XC90 on our site. The average price is $44,200. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Volvo XC90 Cost to Own?

The XC90’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $27,600. That’s below average for the luxury midsize SUV class. The 2016 Acura MDX has some of the lowest projected five-year costs for a three-row SUV in this class, at around $26,600.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New XC90?

The 2018 Volvo XC90 starts at $46,900, which is a bit higher than the average list price of a used 2016 XC90. You can save money by shopping used, especially if you’re looking for a base model. The 2018 XC90 does have some notable updates, though. A few features that were previously optional are now standard in all 2018 models, including adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. Depending on your needs, the 2018 may prove to be the better buy. Both model years are good values in the end.

Read about the new Volvo XC90 »

Alternatively, you may want to consider the all-new 2018 Volvo XC60. The five-seat XC60 looks and drives just like a smaller XC90. Best of all, you can buy one for $41,500 – less than the average price of a 2016 XC90.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Volvo XC90?

The XC90 has average reliability, earning a score of three out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Volvo XC90 reliability »

2016 Volvo XC90 Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are five recalls for the 2016 XC90. Volvo identified faults with the front side-impact air bags and third-row air bags of some models: they may not properly inflate in the event of a crash. Other recalls cover a fault with the front passenger-side seat belt buckle, an improperly installed air conditioning drain hose, and a software issue that can cause the sunroof to close unintentionally. Before buying a used XC90, make sure these recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Volvo XC90 safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Volvo XC90 Is Best?

The 2016 XC90 marks the first model year of the SUV’s second generation. So far, there have been few major changes to the model years that followed. This means you can save money by shopping for a used 2016 model, while still getting many of the same features as newer models. Updates for 2017 include a new Excellence trim level with a luxe four-seat layout. Earlier models are not recommended. There was no XC90 in 2015, but the 2013 and 2014 models each scored a poor 7.4.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 XC90 »

Which Used XC90 Model Is Right for Me?

Volvo offers the 2016 XC90 in three trims: T5, T6, and T8. The base XC90 T5 model (250 horsepower) has five seats, a 9-inch touch screen, a navigation system, dual-zone climate control, the City Safety suite, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, keyless entry, a hands-free power tailgate, a sunroof, and alloy wheels.

The XC90 T6 model (316 horsepower) has seven seats, four-zone climate control, heated front seats, and leather upholstery. The XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid (400 horsepower) also seats seven and adds seat cushion extensions and adaptive headlights. Available features include massaging front seats, Apple CarPlay, and a large suite of active safety features. There are also three available exterior styling packages: the upscale Momentum, sporty R-Design, and luxe Inscription.

See 2016 XC90 trims and specs »

What Does Volvo's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volvo offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. All certified pre-owned Volvos come with an unlimited-mileage comprehensive warranty providing exclusionary coverage until five years from the new-car purchase date. Additional coverage is available for a fee. Each CPO Volvo must pass a 170-point inspection. Additional benefits like mobile app connectivity, 24-hour roadside assistance, towing, and trip interruption benefits may be available, so read the Volvo warranty page carefully.

Volvo’s CPO program is one of the better ones available from a luxury automaker. Infiniti, Lexus, Jaguar, Tesla, and Land Rover are the only programs that are more robust.

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How Safe Is the XC90?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the XC90 a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. It received Good safety ratings – the top score – in all areas tested. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the SUV a perfect five-star rating for overall, front, and side impact testing, as well as four stars in its rollover crash test.

All 2016 XC90 models come standard with a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, road sign detection, and lane departure warning. Volvo’s City Safety suite is also standard, which includes forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Available features include blind spot monitoring, front parking sensors, a 360-degree-view camera, adaptive pivoting headlights, parallel park assist, and Pilot Assist (a form of adaptive cruise control).

See XC90 safety scores »

2016 Volvo XC90 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Volvo XC90 or 2016 BMW X5?

When it comes to driving dynamics, the XC90 can’t match the 2016 BMW X5. In many other areas, however, the Volvo has the edge. The XC90 has far more standard safety features, comfier third-row seating, a much larger cargo area, and a smoother ride quality. It may not be the enthusiast’s choice, but it’s the better SUV for families.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volvo XC90 or 2016 Acura MDX?

You really can’t go wrong with either the 2016 XC90 or 2016 Acura MDX. Both SUVs have excellent safety ratings, ride comfortably, and can tow a sizable 5,000 pounds. The MDX may be more popular with the kids, since it’s available with a rear-seat DVD player. However, the XC90 may make those road trips a bit easier on you; it has far nicer cabin materials, Apple CarPlay, and a larger cargo space. In the end, both are fine options.

Compare the XC90, X5, and MDX »

2016 XC90 Performance

How Does the 2016 Volvo XC90 Drive?

The XC90 has three turbocharged engine options, which are all based on the same four-cylinder layout. The T5 engine has 250 horsepower. The T6 engine adds a supercharger and produces 316 horsepower. The T8 adds an electric motor to the mix and nets 400 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard; front-wheel drive is available (T5 only).

The T6 and T8 engines scoot the XC90 up to speed quickly and provide ample passing power at highway speeds. Despite their petite four-cylinder size, they both feel just as brawny as a V6. The refined eight-speed automatic transmission certainly enhances this feeling; it’s smooth and downshifts promptly when more power is needed. The T5 engine feels somewhat underpowered.

The XC90 isn’t a particularly small SUV, but it does drive like one. The Volvo’s suspension keeps it stable around turns, yet it still shrugs off road bumps and dips nicely. Its steering is responsive as well, and the brakes provide confident stopping power. An air suspension is also available, which softens the ride a bit more.

Does the 2016 Volvo XC90 Get Good Gas Mileage?

The XC90 T5 gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, which is great for a luxury midsize SUV. The XC90 T6 dips to 20/25 mpg city/highway. The T8 plug-in hybrid is the most efficient model in the lineup. It earns a combined 25 mpg city/highway, and it can travel up to 14 miles using only electric power. Once the lithium-ion battery pack is depleted, the engine will recharge it as you're driving. You can also plug the SUV into a 240-volt outlet and recharge the battery in around 2.5 hours.

2016 Volvo XC90 Towing Capacity

The Volvo XC90 can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Read more about XC90 performance »

2016 XC90 Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 XC90 Seat?

The XC90 is available in two seating configurations: the T5 model can seat five, while T6 and T8 models seat seven, thanks to a pair of third-row seats. The XC90’s front seats are comfortable and provide excellent support, making long drives much more bearable. The second-row seats are quite comfy as well, and they offer ample head- and legroom. The XC90’s third-row seats – while more spacious than those in other luxury midsize SUVs – are best saved for kids and teens. Average-sized adults will be short on headroom.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Volvo XC90?

The XC90 has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child seats. The IIHS gave the LATCH system an Acceptable rating for ease of use, noting that some of the anchors are hard to access.

2016 Volvo XC90 Features

All XC90 models come standard with Volvo’s 9-inch Sensus touch screen, a navigation system, a USB input, Bluetooth, and AM/FM/satellite radio. Available features include Apple CarPlay, a head-up display, and a rich Bowers & Wilkins sound system. The Sensus infotainment system looks and operates much like a tablet. It detects gestures like swiping and pinch-to-zoom, which will be familiar to any smartphone or tablet user. It also responds quickly, making it easy to use on the road. That said, some occasional-use functions are buried in the menus.

Arguably, the XC90’s best feature is the quality of its interior materials. Step inside and you’ll find a handsome cabin with high-quality wood and metal trim pieces, as well as leather seats in many trims. While there are some plastic surfaces, they’re nicely grained and soft to the touch.

See 2016 Volvo XC90 specs »

Read more about XC90 interior »

2016 Volvo XC90 Dimensions

Volvo XC90 Cargo Space

The XC90 has 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats and 41.8 cubic feet with the seats folded. Total cargo space jumps to 85.7 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded, which is very roomy for the luxury midsize SUV class.

2016 XC90 Length and Weight

The Volvo XC90 is 16.2 feet long. Its curb weight varies from 4,394 pounds to 5,059 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Volvo XC90 Built?

The XC90 was built in Gothenburg, Sweden, at Volvo Cars’ Torslanda Plant. The Volvo S60 sedan and V60 wagon are also assembled there.

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