Volvo XC90 T6 2015 Review: Six Feet 4

Derryn Wong

Barcelona, Spain –
There’s a Beatles song about growing old where Paul McCartney asks if he’ll still be loved at the age of 64. Ex-wives and such aside, it’s a good question, and one easily co-opted into the engine downsizing trend that’s been sweeping the car industry.

In the vast majority of cases, a six-cylinder engine becomes four, but gets turbocharging, thus the song should go, “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me, when my six is four?” It’s extra poignant because the force-fed fours are typically more frugal and equally (if not more) powerful, but lack the emotional component of sound and fury that an inline or V6 would make.

Volvo’s gone ahead and made the decision for you, in this case. The XC90 is a conspicuously large car with a conspicuously small engine, in all cases: It’s the only big SUV, or indeed remotely luxurious vehicle, that is powered entirely by 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines.

The T8, as reviewed, has a twincharged 2.0, while the incoming T5 has the ‘current’ 2.0-litre turbo engine with 245bhp, and the D5 a 2.0-litre turbodiesel. Not having extra cylinders to package around, say Volvo engineers, is a boon in many ways, saving weight and improving crash protection for both occupants and pedestrians.

The T6 engine’s something of a Goliath in David’s shoes, having enormous pull in a tiny package. If you cut it in two, it’d make 160bhp from 1.0-litres, which is quite amazing. Adding to the appeal is the fact that the T6 has 250kg (roughly 2.1-tonnes) less to pull than the T8, losing the hybrid system and battery.

The big 8 might be the headliner to the XC90 concert but the T6 is the true enjoyable ‘analog’ offering that everyone can enjoy, or relate to. The 400 torques shuffled through the  Aisin eight-speed are strong, but not thumpy or jerky, and there’s a very direct relationship between demanding power and getting it.

The supercharger is a method of diminishing conventional turbo lag, as it boosts the low end then hands over to the turbo at higher revs. As a result the T6 pulls away from red lights with authority and continues to gain speed as long as you keep your right foot down. There are power modes too, though fewer than the hybrid – eco, normal, dynamic and off-road.

It wouldn’t be very fun if the XC90 handled like a whale, which it most certainly doesn’t. It’s more of a lithe dolphin, being unnaturally neat and tidy when pushed, with the active air suspension keeping the body well in check. As in the T8, the electric steering is light and incisive, adding lots to driver enjoyment.

The only major niggles encountered were noticeable wind noise above 130km/h, although it’s not intrusive, it contrasts to the otherwise solid refinement of the car. Secondly, the inline four, strong as it is, still sounds like an inline four. To be fair, Volvo’s reps said they didn’t wish to disguise the noise with a synthetic sound, and most other ‘standard’ 2.0-litre inline fours don’t sound particularly exciting either.

Who Are The XC90’s Competitors? Also Consider:
Audi Q7BMW X5,

Thanks to a high-spec load for Singapore, the XC90 T6 comes with a lot of equipment. However the adaptive air-suspension on the unit we tested here won’t be standard locally, so take note that the ride and/or driving dynamics may change as a result. What local T6’s will have as standard are other impressive features: The Sensus infotainment system (with nav), adaptive cruise control (which also self-drives in a jam), Volvo’s anti-fender-bender City Safety system that also now detects rabid cyclists, and lane keeping assistant systems.

The T6 isn’t as radical as the T8 but it does show that the soundness and performance of the car isn’t something allied solely to the range-topper, and it’s not likely buyers will worry about its six actually being four.

Check out our video run-through of the XC90’s cabin and Sensus infotainment system here!

Volvo XC90 T6

Engine 1,969cc, 24v, inline 4, turbo/supercharged

Power 320bhp at 5700rpm

Torque 400Nm at 2200-5400rpm

Gearbox 8-speed automatic

Top Speed 270km/h

0-100kmh 6.5 seconds

Fuel efficiency 7.7L/100km

CO2 179g/km

Price TBC

Availability July 2015


5-door 7 seat petrol SUV t6 Volvo XC0

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

Related Models


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CarBuyer – Revolutionizing The Online Car Marketplace In Singapore

Buy Used And New Cars Online
Start your car buying journey with CarBuyer as we connect you seamlessly to the industry’s best CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealerships. As a one stop car online portal you can now buy your new ride, be it a pre-owned car or a brand new car from trusted dealers all over Singapore, all in one place. Our ever expanding listing of quality and covet-worthy cars, new and second hand, from both owners and trusted car dealers, will leave you spoilt for choice. Refine your search by vehicle type, registration year, price, mileage, engine type, transmission, annual depreciation value and more to find the car that best suits your needs, taste and lifestyle. You can even search for your car by dealer or directly by owner.

Sell Your Car In An Instant With Confidence
We all know how selling a car in Singapore can be a daunting task especially for a first time car seller; from trying to get a valuation for your car, finding a trusted dealer, to getting the best quote on your vehicle. CarBuyer understands the hassle and even the costs involved and have as such partnered with Huawei to develop a FIRST in Southeast Asia AI car valuation tool that is able to provide a car’s resale value at the snap of a finger. Backed with a consortium of trusted CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealers you can be assured that you are getting the best price for your vehicle and do not have to worry about any hidden costs.

The Ultimate Car Shopping Experience Online
CarBuyer platform is the first of its kind to be backed by Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, enabling it to be able to offer users transparency and enhanced security, all with the one aim of enhancing customer experience. So come on over to buy and sell used cars online at the best prices at CarBuyer Singapore. Connect easily with dealers in real-time via our online video call feature, or schedule a test drive when you’re ready. Have some questions? Get them answered instantly with our chatbot moderated by our responsive team. Stay in the loop with our car-related tips, reviews and news. Learn the ins-and-outs of your car, as well as global and Singapore’s car updates at your own pace.