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Interactive Review: 2020 Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription


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Next up for an interactive review is the most expensive Volvo I have driven, the 2020 XC90 T8 Inscription - as-tested price of $86,790 with a $995.00 destination charge. Sadly, there is no kitchen sink to find, but this vehicle is loaded. It has four-corner air suspension, 21-inch wheels, a Bowers and Wilkins audio system, massaging front seats, heated steering whee, captain chairs for the second row with heat, panoramic sunroof, and 360-degree camera.

Power comes from the T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain that I tried in the V60 Polestar a few weeks back. While not as potent as the Polestar, the XC90 still posts some impressive numbers of 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet.

Here are some initial impressions

  • Despite the hefty pricetag, I don't get the feeling of luxury that the Inscription is supposed to bring. I have to wonder if its due to the black leather and dark wood trim being used.
  • Did I mention that this comes with a crystal gearshift?
  • Ride quality seems to be ok with the 21-inch wheels, but there is a fair amount of tire noise on rough pavement.

I'll have more thoughts as the week goes on. In the meantime, if you have any questions, drop them below.

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WOW, crazy as I have to agree based on the picture that the dark interior does not say uber luxury.

Questions:

  • Is the crystal shifter like the one in Cadillac? Looks a bit like it.
  • How is the comfort of the Drivers seat?
    • Is the massage feature distracting while driving?
  • Quality of the camera system?
  • Interior size for large people, any draw backs observed?
  • Does the bottom front section of the drivers seat pull out for longer legs like other autos has on some seats?
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On 9/25/2020 at 7:23 PM, David said:

WOW, crazy as I have to agree based on the picture that the dark interior does not say uber luxury.

Questions:

  • Is the crystal shifter like the one in Cadillac? Looks a bit like it.
  • How is the comfort of the Drivers seat?
    • Is the massage feature distracting while driving?
  • Quality of the camera system?
  • Interior size for large people, any draw backs observed?
  • Does the bottom front section of the drivers seat pull out for longer legs like other autos has on some seats?

I can answer a few of these questions at the moment.

2: Strikes a good balance between comfort and firmness. Did a couple of hours behind the wheel and ran into no issues.
2.5: Did not find it to be really distracting, but I think this may a be a case by case thing.
3: Very good camera system, although I wished that it was easier to get to the 360-degree view when parking.
5: There is a power adjustment for this.

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These are a truly beautiful day to day ride, size, and luxury.

But:

1) Do not do the 21", etc. wheels. Adds an odd noise, etc. that isn't needed, and roughness vs. the others. Still rides well, but too big (on anything) doesn't work ideally, ever.

2) Highest Inscription, etc. models are not sellers. For good reason. This in the $55-70k range is killer, and oozes luxury and refinement vs. something like a Cadillac Acadia aka XT-whatever.

The seats...well...every other automaker should just make deals with Volvo to buy their seats, and skip the development costs. The best.

Edited by caddycruiser
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On 9/25/2020 at 10:21 PM, smk4565 said:

$87k for a Volvo is bonkers crazy.  

Yep. Pretty much done with most European cars. Still like some basic VW's but for Luxury vehicles, no thank you please.

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Final Update on the XC90 (Was hoping to get this up yesterday, but got busy with other things).

  • Average MPGe landed around 50.2 for the week. Around 60 to 65 percent of my driving was done on electric power alone. It would have been higher had I not checked if I had fully plugged in the charger into the connection the first night I had the vehicle.
  • Overall electric range came between 20 to 22 miles.
  • Recharging the XC90 T8's charging time, it is the same as the V60 Polestar - 8-10 hours. You can use a 240V outlet to charge it via an adapter.
  • To answer @David question on space for tall passengers, there is plenty of headroom due to the boxy shape. Legroom is fine, provided there isn't a giant sitting up front and has the seat set all the way back. Don't even think about trying the third row - pain to get in and barely any legroom if the second-row captain's chairs are moved all the way back.
  • No problems with Volvo Sensus in terms of freezing or crashes. 

When it comes to write the full review, I'll likely be doing a "Here's what I would cut from the Inscription" to make the price tag slightly more palatable. Spoiler, the 21-inch wheels are the first to go.

I should have a new interactive review up later today.

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      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
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      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

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      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
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      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00
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