The past, present and future coming together in one car

2016, Volvo, XC 90

I have just driven the quintessential Swiss Army knife of cars. The Volvo XC90 T8, with a slip of a button, can be all-wheel drive, off-road, pure electric, hybrid, or a power car. The full power has a supercharger and turbocharger that acts like a rocket ship with a lithium ion strapped to it. Somehow the movie Space Cowboys invades my brain, the part of the show where someone has to save the world and it can only be done by strapping a person to the bomb found in the hubble. I now envision Tommy Lee Jones tied to the top of the XC90, steering it with a handblown Orrefors crystal gear shift.

All that and there is a button that allows you to save the electricity till you need it as well. The ability to save electricity for later use is different than other cars like the Chevy Volt that uses the electricity first and then switches to gasoline.

The XC90 T8 is the first 7-passenger 3-row PHEV (plug-in hybrid). It is everything Volvo has always been and more. It took them four years to design the car, seven years to create and produce the seat.

Volvo says they produced the seats like a human spine. You used to see a dummy with sensors all over its body in a commercial and instantly knew it was a Volvo commercial. Now you're going to see human skeletons getting into the car and conforming to the seat with each vertebra marked on the seat. Just kidding, but if they take my idea and use it in a commercial, you know where you heard it first.

Luxury third-row seats that would compete with the Volvo XC 90 T8 are the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX70, Acura MDX, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Lexus LX, Lincoln MKT, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLA.

If you don't want a Swiss Army knife, just a plain old gasoline 3-row seat the XC90 T6 is for you. On the T6, and every Volvo for the last 25 years, Volvo has had a built-in child booster seat.

The Volvo XC 90 T6 AWD is powered by a 2.0-liter super and turbocharged direct injection engine that can extract 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. It is mated with an 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with start/stop.

The competitors for the Volvo XC 90 T6 are, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander, and the GMC Acadia.

The T6 gasoline version is EPA rated at 20 city/25 highway miles per gallon (mpg). My mpg was right in the middle of those two numbers.

Driving both versions of the XC90 is easy and intuitive. The car seems lighter than the Volvos of old, but that is a good thing. The NAV screen is a bit complicated but easy to figure out. When you are backing up the rear view mirror looks like there is a drone overhead following the vehicle. The image looks more 3D and not as real as I am used to when backing up. The sensors started beeping, picking up a woman walking in back of me, head down reading her text on her iPhone that I did not see. The picture, though, is disproportioned and doesn't give the feel of looking at reality.

The T6 AWD Momentum starts at $48,900, the T6 AWD R-design at $525,00, the T6 AWD Inscription at $54,500. I drove the Volvo XC T6 AWD Inscription that had a suggested MSRP of $66,705.

The 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid Momentum is $68,100, XC90 T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid R-Design is $70,000, the XC90 T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid Inscription is $71,600, not including a $995 destination charge. The T8 can have a federal tax credit up to $4,800. You don't get Tommy Lee Jones, but you do get the handblown Orrefors crystal gear shift.

You can start buying the T6 in June 2015. The T8 is available in October 2015.

By Lou Ann Hammond

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Images of the 2016, Volvo XC 90

2016 Volvo XC 90 T8 pure electric, hybrid or power car
2016 Volvo XC 90 T8 pure electric, hybrid or power car
2016 Volvo XC 90 T6 active for life
2016 Volvo XC 90 T6 active for life
2016 Volvo XC 90 T6 bird watching
2016 Volvo XC 90 T6 bird watching
2016 Volvo XC 90 T6 the same rocks on the NAV 3D system
2016 Volvo XC 90 T6 the same rocks on the NAV 3D system