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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So we took my wife's XC60 in for some miscellaneous warranty work this past Monday and got a new 2016 XC90 loaner. We will be picking her car up today (note: we originally tried to pick it up on Wednesday, but one of the items still wasn't fixed). Anyway, having the car for almost a week makes for a really nice "test drive". Here are some of my thoughts:

The Car:
2016 XC90, Momentum PLus, Magic Blue Metallic (MBM) on Blonde, Convenience Package, coil spring suspension, standard stereo, polished 21" rims, $60K sticker

1. Color - Magic Blue Metallic on blond is sharp. It is pretty dark so, for me, I would rule out the MBM simply because it would show the dirt (I park outside a lot) just like black. On the upside, the MBM is just light enough to show that it is actually "blue" (note: some dark blues are sooo dark you can barely tell they have any blue in them unless you catch them in direct sunlight). The blonde interior with the wood accents are very nice. It isn't as minimalist as our XC60 - a happy medium.

2. Momentum Seats - Even though, if I were in the market for an XC90, I would be tempted to get the RD or inscription, the momentum seats are REALLY NICE. Very comfortable, and after an hour in them I can say I didn't "notice" them (which is really what you want from a seat). Noticeably roomier than our 2012 XC60 RD seats as is the whole car.

3. T6 Drive-E Drivetrain - So this was recently the subject of a thread here on the XC60 subforum that went awry (ah, the interwebs) and it was an area I was very interested in. Day one I wasn't that impressed with this drive train, but by day two I came to appreciate it and by the third day, it is fair to say I actually liked it! There are a few keys here. First, the throttle and shift mapping in comfort and dynamic modes seem very reasonable. In many cars, "comfort" modes are overly neutered (i.e. lazy throttle maps and "get into 8th gear RIGHT NOW" shift timing) and sport/dynamic modes are overly aggressive with touchy throttle pedals and "hang in gear forever". The comfort and dynamic modes here seem to do a really decent job in their respective positions and I found myself using both of them regularly. Dynamic mode makes the car drive very "light" - kind of amazing given its size. I actually think a Polestar tune could negatively impact the throttle map and make it too jumpy if they aren't careful. The shifting performance is LIGHT YEARS better than our XC60's 6 speed. Perhaps more interestingly, the shifting in the XC90 of the 8 speed T6 seems better than I experienced in the XC60 T5 Drive-E loaners we have had. It may simply be that the increased torque of the T6 drive-e makes all the difference here (despite being in a heavier vehicle). I also noticed it seemed to shift a tad better as the days went on (no doubt adapting slightly to our driving style). I would really like to experience the T6 Drive-E in the lighter XC60 now. Now does it have the outright pull of our XC60 T6 3.0 liter turbo? No, it doesn't, but it is more than adequate and I just didn't really miss it that much (well, maybe a little bit) in terms of power. I WAS disappointed in the sound quality. It just sounds a bit more thrashy and, well, like the 4 banger it is when under harder acceleration.

4. Ride/ Handling / NVH - The handling of this car was a surprise. It is a big, seven seater SUV, but it handles like a much smaller car. I actually found myself hooning it around a bit - it was actually FUN to drive. Dynamic mode lets you explore the power of the drivetrain better and really assists in this regard. Nicely done Volvo. The ride quality and NVH was not where it needs to be for this car. Now, after a few days I got "used to it", but in reality, Volvo should do a bit more work here. Impact harshness was too high. This needs to be both better muted from a sound level and deliver less impact to the cabin occupants. SOME of this undoubtedly attributable to the 21" rims, but my experience having driven several Volvos as loaners over the last few years is that Volvo simply doesn't address impact harshness that well. I THINK it is all in the bushings and their durometer, but regardless they still have an opportunity here. The next area of improvement involves road noise. This just needs to be better filtered in a vehicle at this price point and in this class. Sure, some of it was the big tires, but these vehicles all have big stinking rims these days (our RD XC60 has 20" rims). Both softer bushings and layering on more sound deadener are likely needed. The ride was a bit bumpier than it needed to be, but honestly, if the NVH items were addressed, it would probably be less noticeable.

5. The Tech - The Sensus setup here with the larger screen is pretty slick. I had no real issues with it and consider it nicely done. Best touch screen outside of Tesla...real estate makes all the difference. I had hoped to try Apple Carplay, but it doesn't appear to be working (I get a connection error) - may just need that November update. I DID play with both lane assist and adaptive cruise. These technologies are pretty dang cool I must admit. On several occasions I took my hands off the wheel (always monitoring) to see just how well lane assist would keep me in the lane. Ultimately, it is what it says it is: lane "assist". It is NOT autopilot (ala Tesla), but it does a decent job nudging the car back into the lane when you begin to drift over the line. It was fascinating and scary watching it negotiate sweeping freeway bends. If the bend was long or tight enough it would eventually get overwhelmed, but cool nonetheless. Adaptive cruise, on the other hand was amazingly solid. It just works. Now, one area where there is an opportunity for improvement is the stop and go traffic situation. It handles it, but, since the car can't "see ahead" of the car immediately in front of you, it doesn't see things like brake lights coming on and thus you get more sudden stopping and starting than would be ideal. Cool though. As a side note, the base stereo sounded fuller than the "Premium Audio" in our XC60.

We have one more drive back to the dealer today at which point we will hop back into our XC60 and drive back home so I'll get an immediate back to back comparison.
 

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Nice review! I had a V60 loaner with the Drive-E and I just couldn't get used to the start/stop and it actually stalled on me at a stop light where it took about 20 secs before I could get it started again. Will be actually taking a look at the T8 later. I just wish the range on electric was 20 miles further (for my wife's driving needs). Perhaps resolved with a bigger capacity battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice review! I had a V60 loaner with the Drive-E and I just couldn't get used to the start/stop and it actually stalled on me at a stop light where it took about 20 secs before I could get it started again. Will be actually taking a look at the T8 later. I just wish the range on electric was perhaps 20 miles longer.
Agree with both not caring for stop/start and the T8's range. I did find stop/start to be slightly less intrusive on the XC90 over XC60 T5s - perhaps it just absorbed the shock of the restart - still not great. I DO like the quiet and lack of vibrations at long stops though...reminiscent of my Chevy Volt. Dynamic mode seems to disable stop start, and you can just swipe right on the XC90 menu, and click the auto stop/start icon to disable it. I THINK you can also set up an individual mode (not sure if that has Auto start/stop as an option).
 

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Guess no one wants to hear about the Civic LXs I get for loaner cars.......Sigh.....
 

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So true about ride quality and road noise.
I drove a loaded Inscription model with Air Suspension with the 21" wheels and it was quiet and absorbed all the harshness of the road imperfections (RT. 1 in Edison, NJ is pretty rough). And then I drove a Momentum trim level with the standard suspension and 20" wheels and thought it was a pretty decent ride, no harshness but you could definitely feel more of the road imperfections (felt similar to our XC60 with 19" wheels).


Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would definitely want to A/B the cars with and without air suspension and different rim sizes. We got our XC60 back and, of course, it was much sportier feeling right away (steering was noticeably heavier than the XC90, but each car had steering that "suited" it). The XC60 was considerably faster feeling, but given that the difference in torque between the RD 3.0 liter turbo 6 and T6 drive-E is even greater than the torque delta between the T5 drive-E and T6 drive-E, that's not surprising (and then add the weight delta in too). Still, the XC90 never felt "under" powered...now the T5 drive-E XC90 would probably be just "OK.

Back to the suspension. As a comparison, I have test driven the Tesla Model S with and without air suspension, and felt the coil spring suspension car with 19" rims was bumpier than the air suspension car with really low profile 21" rims (although the latter had more tire noise). Of course it all comes down to the manufacturer's suspension tuning. Interestingly, with the XC90 some reviewers seeem to report the air suspension being firmer which would be surprising if true.
 

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:thumbup:
I don't drive the XC60 that often, but when I do, I feel like I'm more tucked into it. It almost feels like the difference between a sports car and a sedan, not that I feel like I'm on top of the XC90. It might be as simple as the lower window sills compared to the XC60.

I wonder how much of the engine performance difference can be attributed to your RD having the P* tune because the XC90 doesn't feel less powerful to me, our XC60 doesn't have the P* tune.

Definitely a big difference in sound, to me the 3 liter sounds great, the drive-E sounds muted. I think that's just how things are going though. We may see this as vehicular noise pollution in the future......

Thanks for the write up.
 

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I don't know...Under full throttle, all XC60 R-designs and V60 R-designs (both cars, not the paragon of sporty engine note) I have driven sound equally loud or even a tad louder (different tone, of course) than any XC60 T6 Drive-E or XC90 T6 I have driven, under the same conditions.
 

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I don't know...Under full throttle, all XC60 R-designs and V60 R-designs (both cars, not the paragon of sporty engine note) I have driven sound equally loud or even a tad louder (different tone, of course) than any XC60 T6 Drive-E or XC90 T6 I have driven, under the same conditions.
Exactly. As subjective as an engine note is, I'd venture to say that the 3 liter T6 is a nice sounding engine. The drive-E T6....not so much. Please don't get me wrong, I find it to be a great setup, good on fuel when desired and all the power I need with a smooth shifting 8 speed to boot and I would pick it over the 3 liter T6. I don't know what the answer is, I don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling when a car company "pipes in sound" through the speakers but I whine when the nice growl is missing.....yep, it's me, I'm sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Exactly. As subjective as an engine note is, I'd venture to say that the 3 liter T6 is a nice sounding engine. The drive-E T6....not so much. Please don't get me wrong, I find it to be a great setup, good on fuel when desired and all the power I need with a smooth shifting 8 speed to boot and I would pick it over the 3 liter T6. I don't know what the answer is, I don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling when a car company "pipes in sound" through the speakers but I whine when the nice growl is missing.....yep, it's me, I'm sorry.
Agree...now, if the new 8 speed were available with the 3.0 liter turbo 6, well, THAT is the combomI would likely choose (at least until an XC60 T8 arrives).
 

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Exactly. As subjective as an engine note is, I'd venture to say that the 3 liter T6 is a nice sounding engine. The drive-E T6....not so much. Please don't get me wrong, I find it to be a great setup, good on fuel when desired and all the power I need with a smooth shifting 8 speed to boot and I would pick it over the 3 liter T6. I don't know what the answer is, I don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling when a car company "pipes in sound" through the speakers but I whine when the nice growl is missing.....yep, it's me, I'm sorry.
Understood. However, my comment was more geared toward (not sure who mentioned it) that the 2.0L is very loud, coarse, etc. I am very sincere when I claim that it is no louder than the 3.0L. More coarse? Not in the XC90. In the S60/XC60/V60/XC70/S80 yes but so was the 2.5L 5-cyl. And the same is true for my 2001 V70 T5 (2.3L 5-cyl). Two (or three) different animals.
 

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My comment was more geared toward the 2.0L is very loud, coarse, etc. I am very sincere when I claim that it is no louder than the 3.0L. More coarse? Not in the XC90.
+1
 

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Volvo simply doesn't address impact harshness that well. I THINK it is all in the bushings and their durometer, but regardless they still have an opportunity here. The next area of improvement involves road noise. This just needs to be better filtered in a vehicle at this price point and in this class. Sure, some of it was the big tires, but these vehicles all have big stinking rims these days (our RD XC60 has 20" rims). Both softer bushings and layering on more sound deadener are likely needed. The ride was a bit bumpier than it needed to be, but honestly, if the NVH items were addressed, it would probably be less noticeable.
IMO, you have hit on one of Volvo's major deficiencies. In my XC60 R-Design, the damping of the struts themselves is about perfect, but, as you pointed out, impact harshness on small/sharp bumps needs improvement.

My past BMWs were WORLDS better in this balance, even -- gasp -- with the OEM run flat tires.
 

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I don't know...Under full throttle, all XC60 R-designs and V60 R-designs (both cars, not the paragon of sporty engine note) I have driven sound equally loud or even a tad louder (different tone, of course) than any XC60 T6 Drive-E or XC90 T6 I have driven, under the same conditions.
It's all about the thrash and lash my man, the quality of sound, not the loudness. Have to qualify by saying that my experience is only with the T5-e in the S/V60 and XC60 loaners. I would expect the XC90 to have added sound insulation and cancelling though most professional reviews make mention of the 4 cylinder lash/lower refinement vs. the competition. Just to add, our V60 T6 3.0 RD is a bit quieter at all rpm's than our XC60 T6 3.0 (non-Polestar flash); guess that's due to better sound insulation in the V60?

With that said, we are intrigued by the XC90 R-Design and will give it a shot in the next couple years. That version decently spec'd is very attractive in many ways including price. It would be my wife's DD and she is not as particular about engine feel and acoustics as I am; mainly price, performance and MPG for her.
 

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IMO, you have hit on one of Volvo's major deficiencies. In my XC60 R-Design, the damping of the struts themselves is about perfect, but, as you pointed out, impact harshness on small/sharp bumps needs improvement.

My past BMWs were WORLDS better in this balance, even -- gasp -- with the OEM run flat tires.
Interesting. I have a regular T6 AWD (not R-design) with 20" Titania wheels and OEM tires still, and the ride quality is excellent in my opinion. Especially compared to various BMW's I drove in the past, even with smaller wheels. BMW's are notorious for having a pretty sensitive ride, compared to most other luxury brands - it's part of their appeal I guess.
 
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