14 May 2021

Volvo XC90 2021 Car Review

If you think of a family friendly safe car, the name Volvo often comes to mind. Stepping into the new XC90 and closing the door with that reassuring thud that only a Volvo can give offers you that real sense of security in this practical European seven-seater.

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Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription 2021
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Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription 2021
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Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription 2021
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Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription 2021
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Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription 2021
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Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription 2021

The XC90 T6 AWD Inscription we tested had a fair few extras over the entry level model, which made it significantly more expensive than the entry price of $105,900 (+ORC). The extra fruit on this model escalated the price to $118,010 (+ORC).

The extras on our test model included:

  • Air Suspension with Four-C Active Chassis ($4,500)
  • Lifestyle Pack 2 - including B&W Premium Sound, Power Panoramic Sunroof, Tinted Rear Windows ($6,500)
  • Climate Pack - including Heated Rear Seats, 2nd Row, Heated Steering Wheel, Heated Windscreen Washers ($850)
  • Versatility Pack – including Power Folding Rear Seat Headrest, 2nd Row Compass ($260)

A luxurious interior

The added options take the SUV to the next level, especially with the Lifestyle package that costs an additional $6,500 alone and includes a premium 1400w Bowers and Wilkins sound system, along with an expansive powered panoramic roof and tinted rear windows for enhanced privacy of the occupants.

The interior of this model was furnished in an unusual grey material that comes standard and has been crafted from a blend of recycled drinking bottles and wool in order to offer a more environmentally friendly seat. They’re also memory power adjusted, which is great if more than one driver is going to drive the car. The dash compliments the rest of the interior well, and is neatly tailored and well finished with an uncluttered design.

At the focal point of the cabin, you find Volvo's sleek Sensus nine-inch touchscreen centre display, which is as easy and straightforward to operate as your smartphone - the navigation system is also particularly informative.

While it was good to see the implementation of inductive wireless charging, it could have perhaps been done with a little more finesse. It’s in an awkward place compared to a lot of other new cars we have tested due to its small charging pad – while charging an iPhone 11 it kept losing charge. The placement also inhibited you from closing the centre console compartment whilst charging.

Interior storage was great, with lots of convenient pockets for the family to store their items in. Interestingly, the second row seat even included an integrated booster seat that folded out easily to provide a safe space for smaller children to sit - a welcomed addition for additional small passengers joining you for that road trip.

The XC90 offers a spacious interior for all occupants thanks to a generous 2,984mm wheel base with all seats deployed. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost - you only get hatchback-like cargo capacity with all seats up, however, if you use it like most with the third row of seats folded, you have 680 litres of easily accessible space at your disposal.

A proud pose

The exterior offers a non-imposing look for an SUV of this size and features 21-inch five double-spoke black diamond-cut alloy wheels for added appeal, which his accentuated at the rear with dual integrated exhausts. The ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED daytime running lights – which are one of the key design cues on the current Volvo models – are also included.

Smart technology illuminates your journey with Full-LED Illumination with Active High Beam and Active Bending.


Safety-wise, the XC90 is very well covered with standout safety features like Blind Spot Information System (BLIS™) with Steer Assist and Cross Traffic Alert.

City Safety™ adds Autonomous Emergency Braking, Collision Warning, Avoidance, Steering and Mitigation Support with Vehicle, Cyclist, Pedestrian and Large Animal Detection

The Electronic Stability Control system also features Understeer Logic Control, Engine Drag Control, Advanced Stability Control, Corner Traction Control by Torque Vectoring and Roll Stability Control.

Swedish Style

The Four-C active chassis puts air suspension on all four wheels, which helps maintain the car’s ground clearance, and it can even be adjusted to suit different driving conditions. This was an optional extra though, and was fitted on our test model, which comes at an additional cost of $4,500. It offered a very pleasant riding sensation and seemed to reduce the road noise within the cabin.

The rather small engine is no slouch because it has been spiced - now both supercharged and turbocharged. It generates a virile 235Kw and an impressive 400Nm of torque.

The conventional Geartronic eight-speed transmission performs smoothly and manages the torque and the size of vehicle well. There is, however, a price to pay for the performance with a fuel consumption of 8.5L/100km and CO2 rating of 199g/km. For those after something a little less thirsty, the D5 AWD variant of the XC90 is still available with a more reserved consumption of just 5.9L/100km.


The Volvo XC90 is an excellent quiet family ride with Swedish styling that sets it apart from the pack. If you’re interested in the likes of the BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GLE, it might just be worth popping down to your nearest Volvo showroom.

Compared to its German competitors, the Volvo feels like more of a family-focused affair, with thoughtful touches to enhance its appeal. The only real issue for those motorists looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint could be the fuel consumption.

At a glance


Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription


2.0-litre, supercharged/turbocharged


From $105,900 (+ORC), $118,101 (+ORC) as tested

ANCAP safety rating

Not rated at time of review

Power and Torque

235kW, 400Nm


Eight-speed Geartronic auto

Fuel economy/CO2

8.5L/100km, 199g/km

Towing capacity

750kg (Unbraked), 2,700kg (Braked)



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

680 litres (with third row seats down), 1,856 litres (with second row seats down)

Safety systems

  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Pilot Assist
  • Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist
  • City Safety (includes autonomous emergency braking, collision warning, avoidance, steering and mitigation support with vehicle, cyclist, pedestrian and large animal detection)
  • Distance Alert
  • Oncoming Lane Mitigation
  • Run-off Road Mitigation
  • Whiplash Injury Protection System

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