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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are close to pulling the trigger on a T8 XC90 but can't make up our minds between 6-seater vs 7-seater.
Some of the point of contention:
  1. The biggest issue we have with 6-seater - lack of Armrest. I can't get over the fact that there's no armrest in the captain's chair, although wife is okay with it. Those with 6-seater right now, how are you liking it? did this irk you? is this an issue?
  2. Kind of a minor point but 6-seater comes only in blonde or black while 7-seater comes in a myriad of options. We really like the Amber interior, but can live with a black.
  3. What massively works against the 7-seater is that the 3rd row almost becomes unusable for adults. With infants, we will have adults sitting in the back.
Another thing we are confused about - we are expecting twins, which would mean 2 infant seats in the car. With 4 adults, the 6 seaters would be a hassle to get out/in (With an infant seat on, can an adult get out of the car?) - while with a 7-seater, we can use the middle and 1 of the outboard seats for rear-facing infant seats, and use 1 outboard seat for ingress/egress out of the third row - is that a valid configuration? (sorry, 1st-time parents and haven't done reading up on infant seats and systems).

Sincerely,
a very-very confused future first-time parent!
 

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Congratulations on the twins.

We're in a similar situation as we just had a newborn which makes three kids all under four. We chose the 7 seater simply because of the optioned center built in child booster that our eldest will he able to use in a couple of years and then he'll be flanked on both sides by baby seats. Even if we had gone with the 6 seater we could've placed his booster in the rear and he could theoretically get to it easily but it'd be a moot point as someone would have to go back there to strap him in.

Its gonna be a major PITA any which way until hes big enough for the the booster because whenever we get in and out at least one baby seat will have to be taken out then reinstalled.

This is the life we chose just to avoid having to drive a minivan!

In your situation, I'd lean towards the 6. Your twins would be in the captain's chairs in the middle and the adults can wiggle their way through into the rear by going between them. How hard of a time they're gonna have would depend on how "American" they are.
 

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Without armrests, it makes no sense to me.
If you go for black interior, make sure you see that gray ash wood trim (I think that's what it's paired with, in 2021) in person. I really liked it in pics, but was disappointed in real life. The blackened ash, with amber, is a lot more appealing. To me. I know, it's subjective. But the gap between pics and reality is real.
 

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Without armrests, it makes no sense to me.
If you go for black interior, make sure you see that gray ash wood trim (I think that's what it's paired with, in 2021) in person. I really liked it in pics, but was disappointed in real life. The blackened ash, with amber, is a lot more appealing. To me. I know, it's subjective. But the gap between pics and reality is real.
IMO the blackened ash gets lost in the black...haven't seen the gray ash.
 

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We are close to pulling the trigger on a T8 XC90 but can't make up our minds between 6-seater vs 7-seater.
Some of the point of contention:
  1. The biggest issue we have with 6-seater - lack of Armrest. I can't get over the fact that there's no armrest in the captain's chair, although wife is okay with it. Those with 6-seater right now, how are you liking it? did this irk you? is this an issue?
  2. Kind of a minor point but 6-seater comes only in blonde or black while 7-seater comes in a myriad of options. We really like the Amber interior, but can live with a black.
  3. What massively works against the 7-seater is that the 3rd row almost becomes unusable for adults. With infants, we will have adults sitting in the back.
Another thing we are confused about - we are expecting twins, which would mean 2 infant seats in the car. With 4 adults, the 6 seaters would be a hassle to get out/in (With an infant seat on, can an adult get out of the car?) - while with a 7-seater, we can use the middle and 1 of the outboard seats for rear-facing infant seats, and use 1 outboard seat for ingress/egress out of the third row - is that a valid configuration? (sorry, 1st-time parents and haven't done reading up on infant seats and systems).

Sincerely,
a very-very confused future first-time parent!
Congrats on the twins underway. Let's be honest: if you put 2 infant seats in the 2nd row, they are going to stay there and the armrest issue becomes moot. Then go for the 6 seater, unless you put HUGE seats in, a semi-mobile adult should be able to access the 3rd row w/o problems (should be easier than the squiggling needed for a normal 7 seater...
 
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I'd recommend ordering the 7 seater. You can always remove the center seat. If you find you miss the center seat after living without it, you have the option to add it back. The same cannot be said for ordering the 6 seater.
 
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There is a thread on removing the middle 2nd row sea:. Remove middle seat in 2nd row on 2016 XC90?

Since the 6 seat option doesn't come with an arm rest, there isn't much of a difference save the minor modifications needed to get a 7 into a 6 seat configuration. As far as I can tell, the changes are reversible too.
Agreed, and the rear 3rd row room isn't any better 6 seater vs 7 seater... just that the center is open. I get a similar effect by dropping the center seat on the 2nd row when having people in the 3rd row. The foot room for the 3rd row is mostly dictated by the 2nd row outboard seats, not the center one in my opinion...
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Congratulations on the twins.

We're in a similar situation as we just had a newborn which makes three kids all under four. We chose the 7 seater simply because of the optioned center built in child booster that our eldest will he able to use in a couple of years and then he'll be flanked on both sides by baby seats. Even if we had gone with the 6 seater we could've placed his booster in the rear and he could theoretically get to it easily but it'd be a moot point as someone would have to go back there to strap him in.

Its gonna be a major PITA any which way until hes big enough for the the booster because whenever we get in and out at least one baby seat will have to be taken out then reinstalled.

This is the life we chose just to avoid having to drive a minivan!

In your situation, I'd lean towards the 6. Your twins would be in the captain's chairs in the middle and the adults can wiggle their way through into the rear by going between them. How hard of a time they're gonna have would depend on how "American" they are.
I'd recommend ordering the 7 seater. You can always remove the center seat. If you find you miss the center seat after living without it, you have the option to add it back. The same cannot be said for ordering the 6 seater.
Thank you for your replies!
In the 7-seater, how is the 3rd row with adults? We only test drove the 6 seater so haven't had a chance to test the 7 seater yet wrt 3rd row.
Also - @Shogunade - Can 2 infant seats be installed in the 2nd row and yet have the 3rd row accessible without removing-re-installing 1 of the seats?
Another question for parents - when is it safe to put kids in the rear (I am assuming at 3+ years)? Asking coz we plan to keep the car for ~7/8 years at the minimum and the majority of the car's lifespan will have kids sitting in the back.
Our use case for using the 3rd row is about 1~2/12 months every year (when in-laws visit).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There is a thread on removing the middle 2nd row sea:. Remove middle seat in 2nd row on 2016 XC90?

Since the 6 seat option doesn't come with an arm rest, there isn't much of a difference save the minor modifications needed to get a 7 into a 6 seat configuration. As far as I can tell, the changes are reversible too.
oh wow, thanks for that thread. That makes it easier. I wonder how it impacts the warranty though? Didn't find any data points around it - maybe I will ask the dealership about it.
 

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We are close to pulling the trigger on a T8 XC90 but can't make up our minds between 6-seater vs 7-seater.
Some of the point of contention:
  1. The biggest issue we have with 6-seater - lack of Armrest. I can't get over the fact that there's no armrest in the captain's chair, although wife is okay with it. Those with 6-seater right now, how are you liking it? did this irk you? is this an issue?
  2. Kind of a minor point but 6-seater comes only in blonde or black while 7-seater comes in a myriad of options. We really like the Amber interior, but can live with a black.
  3. What massively works against the 7-seater is that the 3rd row almost becomes unusable for adults. With infants, we will have adults sitting in the back.
Another thing we are confused about - we are expecting twins, which would mean 2 infant seats in the car. With 4 adults, the 6 seaters would be a hassle to get out/in (With an infant seat on, can an adult get out of the car?) - while with a 7-seater, we can use the middle and 1 of the outboard seats for rear-facing infant seats, and use 1 outboard seat for ingress/egress out of the third row - is that a valid configuration? (sorry, 1st-time parents and haven't done reading up on infant seats and systems).

Sincerely,
a very-very confused future first-time parent!
Do you do A LOT of LOOOOOOONG road trips? I would definitely want the arm rest. For business I need one ton vans. Ive had 4 and the last didn't have the arm rests and it has become the bane of my/and wife's existence. Even her Abarth has arm rests. Strange how such a thing can make such a huuuuge difference. Go with the model that offers not only what you want, but what you will want/need in the future.
 
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oh wow, thanks for that thread. That makes it easier. I wonder how it impacts the warranty though? Didn't find any data points around it - maybe I will ask the dealership about it.
It is safer for a dealer to discourage any modifications than saying a particular modification is ok.

There are some differences as noted in that discussion thread:
(1) The seat belt & occupant detector system in a 7 seat will still expect all 7 seats, whereas the 6 seat will probably ignore an added 7th seat (e.g. if you buy an add-on middle seat).
(2) The 6 seat option adds some trim cover pieces to hide the seat railings for the outboard 2nd row seats from view, plus a small piece of floormat in the absence of the middle 2nd row seat.
(3) The 6 seat option adds a floor mounted extension at the rear of the 1st row center console for cup holders.

Otherwise, they should be identical.

As for legroom, being able to stretch one leg of each of the 3rd row occupants onto the space of the middle 2nd row seat is a nice plus. But I believe the biggest advantage of a 6 seat configuration over a 7 seat is ease of ingress and egress for 3rd row occupants.
 

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Another question for parents - when is it safe to put kids in the rear (I am assuming at 3+ years)? Asking coz we plan to keep the car for ~7/8 years at the minimum and the majority of the car's lifespan will have kids sitting in the back.
Our use case for using the 3rd row is about 1~2/12 months every year (when in-laws visit).
Modern vehicles made by credible manufacturers will design for a ring of protective structure around the passenger area, which includes full frontal, offset frontal, side, and rear impact, as well as the roof being able to hold its weight (and more). Also, mitigation of impact is mostly handled by making the front end where the engine is as the "crumple zone" that absorbs impact. So, as long as the rear end of the vehicle isn't struck by another vehicle going at freeway speeds and in reverse, I wouldn't be concerned about passenger safety in any row.

The SPA xc90 also has side airbags all the way to the D pillar, but I guess other contemporaneous vehicles do so as well.

Having said that, if you plan to put child car seats on the 3rd row, helping them buckle and unbuckle from the rear cargo hatch might be tricky on the SPA xc90. You might want to try it out at the dealer with your child car seat.
 

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I’d personally prefer adult sitting in second row than third given third row seat cushion is shorter and back is too upright with no way to incline.

I have 7 seater and was able to put two infant car seats together with the one seat left open to access 3rd row, though one seat was rear facing and the other was front facing. Now one kid only needs high back booster so the seat can “tilt and slide” to make room for accessing the 3rd row.


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Thank you for your replies!
In the 7-seater, how is the 3rd row with adults? We only test drove the 6 seater so haven't had a chance to test the 7 seater yet wrt 3rd row.
Also - @Shogunade - Can 2 infant seats be installed in the 2nd row and yet have the 3rd row accessible without removing-re-installing 1 of the seats?
Another question for parents - when is it safe to put kids in the rear (I am assuming at 3+ years)? Asking coz we plan to keep the car for ~7/8 years at the minimum and the majority of the car's lifespan will have kids sitting in the back.
Our use case for using the 3rd row is about 1~2/12 months every year (when in-laws visit).
I started letting the kids sit in the back at 3.5 years, but they're big kids for their age. I'm 6'2" and wife is 5'9". As long as the seat belt is crossing the chest at the collar bone and not the neck it'll be fine.

My 7 year old sits in the 2nd row without booster, now.
 

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I started letting the kids sit in the back at 3.5 years, but they're big kids for their age. I'm 6'2" and wife is 5'9". As long as the seat belt is crossing the chest at the collar bone and not the neck it'll be fine.

My 7 year old sits in the 2nd row without booster, now.
You mean, clavicle.....
 

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In a similar situation w 3 kids in car seats. We put three across in the second row. The third row on 7 seater doesn't support a car seat afaik (no tether hook) but does on a 6 seater. We plan to move our oldest to a booster seat in the third row in a few months, leaving the side seat able to tilt and slide to access third row.
 

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IMO the blackened ash gets lost in the black...haven't seen the gray ash.
I don't wish to get too off topic... but I had very mixed feelings on the blackened ash. I had an amber with the walnut wood, and I thought it looked great. My GF's 2021 is amber+blackened ash. At first, I thought it was way too subtle. On a sunny day, it does look awesome. Overall, it grew on me.

She and I both were leaning towards black interior + gray ash. I loved it, when I saw the pics on Volvo's site. But, in real life, it was A LOT lighter (not dark gray as in the pics) and the grain lines were not even close. For example, when you look at the configurator, the wood panel below the Sensus screen appear to have vertical grain lines. But the real-life ones I have seen have horizontal grain lines. So it's not just weird illumination or poor color reproduction on screen. That is not the same wood at all. That is why I mentioned it.
 

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I'd say go with the 7 seater, hands down. If you have 6 belts and ever need a 7th, then too bad. Having 7 belts and needing 6 always give you the option. IMO accessing the back with 7 seats is no problema whatsoever, unless you're big in body (not ego), for whom the 3rd row was never designed for.

In the 7-seater, how is the 3rd row with adults?
Based on our experience folks up to 5'11" will be ok in the 3rd row if the 2nd row seats are pushed halfway or all the way forward. But don't take my word - I highly recommend you visit a Volvo dealer and test this out yourself! I'm sure the sales people will be very happy to see you

Can 2 infant seats be installed in the 2nd row and yet have the 3rd row accessible without removing-re-installing 1 of the seats?
Yes, but only if a) The two infants seats occupy one outboard seat and the middle seat and b) if the free outboard seat is free to slide (for 3rd row access) such that it doesn't hit the middle seat carseat - so you'll need to find skinny enough carseats. Because the middle seat can move independently, one could stagger it say, backwards, to fit a potentially larger carseat. I believe there's only 2 current SUVs (Infiniti Q60 is one of them?) that allow a 2nd row carseat to remain attached while tilting it forward for 3rd row access. Check out awesome Alex on Auto's excellent car seat review for the XC90:
.
The Car Seat Lady is another resource but I can't remember her content exactly: .
Another question for parents - when is it safe to put kids in the rear (I am assuming at 3+ years)?
I don't have a direct answer to this question but regarding putting an infant carseat in the 3rd row, it is definitely possible using the seatbelts even though there are no latches (assuming you have a US spec Volvo) - which my family has done when we transport many adults - but a minor pain in the botox because of the long reach compared to an outboard 2nd row carseat. It is interesting that safety conscious Volvo decided not to put latches on the 3rd row seats but also did not provide a warning telling parents to avoid putting infant carseats in the 3rd row. I interpret this as Volvo saying it's ok to put infant carseats back there but it's not the best place. I'm sure there exist a wide range of interpretations out there.

Asking coz we plan to keep the car for ~7/8 years at the minimum and the majority of the car's lifespan will have kids sitting in the back. Our use case for using the 3rd row is about 1~2/12 months every year (when in-laws visit).
This is exactly our case: keep this work of beautiful functional art / engineering masterpiece for a while (probably until it gives up its ghost or becomes very pricey to repair or the all-electric XC90 becomes available AND there will be more than 14 chargers available across the whole of the USA**) and transport the "LAWS".

Good luck!

**I read somewhere that the city of Beijing has more chargers than the whole of the USA. The USA has a long way to go!
 
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