2022 Volvo XC90 challenges German rivals

James Raia

Volvo may hold an unofficial title. It’s the manufacturer with the most improved vehicles, appearance to performance, including the 2022 XC90

Once boxy, plain slow and staid, Volvo remains unheralded in the United States. But its market share in 2021 was 4.2 percent, its best since the manufacturer began selling cars in the U.S. in 1959. Sales increased by 12.6 percent from 2020 to 2021.

The major reasons include the carmaker’s complete transition. Its fleet, paced but the XC90 sport utility vehicle, is upscale, inside and outside. Top-level materials, a smooth, handsome design and continued top safety ranking pushed Volvo to three straight years of U.S. sales of more than 100,000 vehicles. Prior to 2019, Volvo hadn’t reached six-figure sales since 2007.

The 2022 Volvo XC90 competes against it German rivals well.
The 2022 Volvo XC90 competes against it German rivals well.

Geely, the largest Chinese automaker, purchased Volvo from Ford in 2017. Volvo remains a multinational company with manufacturing locations in China, Sweden, and the United States. For most global markets, Volvo cars are produced and assembled in Sweden.

The plant in South Carolina previously produced the Volvo S60. The XC90 joins its sedan sibling as U.S. built with 2022 models. The plant in Chengdu, China, makes vehicles for Asian markets.

The XC90, Volvo’s biggest seller in the United States, became more powerful and offers an extended range ($12,00) T8 Inscription option for 2022. The 5,000-pound sport utility vehicle with 455 combined horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque. It has a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and rear-mounted electric motor. The battery-only range is a maximum of 41 miles.

While not geared toward performance, the XC90’s eight-speed automatic transmission is satisfactory and smooth. If a quiet, controlled persona is a desired quality, Volvo provides it throughout its lineup. Further, safety has also been Volvo’s strongest trait. The manufacturer continues its long-tenured position at the top of industry safety rating organizations.

The interior of the 2022 Volvo XC90 is luxurious, comfortable and spacious.
The interior of the 2022 Volvo XC90 is luxurious, comfortable and spacious.

Modern, luxury interior design and top-notch material abound, including Nappa leather. Think straight-forward Swedish-designed furniture distributed stylishly. The XC90 is simultaneously spacious yet warm and cozy.

Every Volvo model now had front parking sensors, LED headlights that turn with the steering wheel, high-pressure headlight washers, wireless charging, and two USB-C ports on the back of the center console. Adaptive headlights, a wireless charging pad and front parking sensors are also newly standard features.

A symphony experience on wheels at freeway speeds is an automotive joy. The Bowers & Wilkins audio system ($3,200), the highest of the three available for the XC90, features a 12-channel amplifier and 19 speakers. The sound is powerful and clear. Play it soft or loud and rejoice.

As a family hauler, the XC90 not only combines safety in a luxury vehicle, it’s also an efficient family hauler. The Recharge has an EPA combined city and freeway gas mileage rating of 26 miles per gallon. The MPGe tally is 66.

Like other luxury vehicles, Volvo’s major competitors include well-known German rivals from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The XC90 challenges its well-heeled competitors without giving up anything but some lofty costs for reputation in badging.

That’s not to say the XC90 is a bargain. The MSRP is 72,100; the final tally with four option packages and destination fee is $84,090. Safety, luxury, power, comfort, and technology don’t come cheap. If taking a break from buying German stalwarts is an option, Volvo does its flagship vehicle well.

Article Last Updated: November 28, 2023.

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