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The Best Volvo Models for 2020

Reviewing The Official 2020 Volvo Lineup

2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country profile view

The premium Swedish automaker has enjoyed its fifth consecutive year of sales growth on a global scale in 2018. The company has also surpassed the psychological barrier of 600,000 units for the first time in its 90 odd-year long history. The exact number of units sold worldwide in 2018 came to a stop at 642,253 which is a 12 percent increase over 2017 when the Geely-owned company had marketed exactly 571,577 vehicles. The introduction of the redesigned S60 sedan and V60 wagon together with the all-new for the U.S. market V90 Cross Country should help the Swedish brand record another year of growth in 2019. What’s more, the all-new upcoming V60 Cross Country wagon should provide similar assistance for MY 2020. Speaking of which, we’ll focus on the upcoming 2020 Volvo models this time around.

The U.S. market has also been kind to the Swedes considering Volvo’s sales had grown from 81,507 units in 2017 to 98,263 models in 2018. Percentage-wise, that’s a growth rate of 20 percent. The U.S. market also accounts for some 15 percent of company’s total global sales, making it the second most important single market for them after China where they’ve marketed 130,593 units in total.

While demand for Volvo crossovers and SUVs is surging across the globe, the Swedish automaker’s passenger car lineup is exhibiting a sharp decline in sales in the U.S. This is a global trend and an inevitable one at that, so the question remains how the Swedes are planning to cope with it? They’ll probably decide to soldier on through this period of adversity as evidenced by the fully-redesigned S60 sedan and its V6 wagon counterpart. Some manufacturers like Volvo’s former owner Ford have decided to take a more radical approach by axing most of their passenger cars and focusing entirely on crossovers and SUVs, but it’s safe to expect that Volvo will refrain from doing the same thing.

Let’s now switch to the Volvo range for MY 2020 itself and see how many legitimate choices for the best SUV of 2020 they’ll have to offer.

What’s Hot in the New 2020 Volvo Lineup

06. 2020 XC90

It’s hard to imagine that the flagship SUV is now the oldest model in the Volvo lineup despite spearheading the Swedish brand’s design revolution not that long ago.

The 2020 Volvo XC90 models have been mildly refreshed in order to slow down the inevitable aging process every car needs to deal with sooner or later. They’ve receive a slightly revised grille design, some new wheels, and new exterior color options. The interior carries over mostly unchanged, but new models still benefit from a number of added features like the Android Auto integration. Also, new models now support a six-seat arrangement in addition to the four, five, and seven-seat setups available beforehand.

The new Volvo XC90 has also been updated with a new set of advanced safety systems like the previously unavailable automated braking, oncoming-lane mitigation system, and steering assist system.

The largest Volvo luxury SUV was first unveiled in Europe before migrating overseas and reaching U.S. dealers during the Fall of 2019. Prices have remained mostly in check, ranging from below $50,000 to north of $63,000 prior to additional extras.

Although essentially minimal, the XC90’s powertrain department has also received some revisions. A 2.0L turbocharged engine remains the XC90’s centerpiece which higher grades build upon by adding either a supercharger, an electric motor, or both. The range-topping T8 setup, for instance, combines all three of the mentioned pieces for a combined output of 400 horsepower. It also gets a new battery pack which adds up to 15 percent more range than the old unit.

The remainder of the setup remains mostly intact which means that the T5 and T6 models still produce 250 hp and 316 hp respectively. The majority of powertrain updates have been conducted on the non-hybrid powertrains available exclusively overseas where a mild-hybrid setup is now mostly standard.


05. 2020 V60 and V60 Cross Country

The recently redesigned second-generation V60 wagon is a fine car in its own right, but the fact it’s available as a version with added elevation makes it even better considering it offers a legitimate alternative to modern crossovers and SUVs.

The redesigned version of the V60 Cross Country joins its lower sibling for MY 2020. It adds 3 inches over the conventional V60’s ground clearance, an Off-Road driving mode, black plastic cladding around the wheel arches and in the bumper segment, as well as a slightly revised grille. Everything else in the new car is pretty much the same as in the conventional V60 wagon.

That being said, both versions are extremely versatile and practical (more so than the XC60 crossover) – not to mention they’re also well-appointed and stacked with the top-notch safety gear Volvo is known for. They’re not particularly affordable, however, with entry-level V60 models starting from $40,000, while their Cross Country counterparts warrant at least $46,000. Tick every option, however, and the latter will set you back around $60,000.

Like much of the Volvo cars in the U.S., the V60 wagons utilize the company’s 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine almost to its full extent. The base T5 variations are good enough for 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque while the T6 grade produces 316 ponies and 295 lb-ft of twist thanks to an added supercharger.

While both engine variations route all that power to the ground via an 8-speed automatic gearbox, the former does so towards the front wheels, while the latter uses all four corners. There are no plans of utilizing the range-topping T8 technology yet and Volvo will likely refrain from doing so for the foreseeable time, but it’s likely we’ll eventually see it making the cut just like it did in the XC60 SUV recently.


04. 2020 XC60

With 32,689 units sold in the U.S. during 2018, the compact luxury crossover is Volvo’s best-selling vehicle stateside, narrowly beating its larger sibling the XC90 by exactly 1,080 units.

Fully redesigned for MY 2018, the XC60’s lineup is slowly but steadily taking shape, which is made evident by the recent introduction of the new entry-level T5 front-wheel drive and T8 eAWD Hybrid models which start from around $40,000 and $54,000 respectively. Although the base Momentum trims are relatively affordable, the range-topping Inscription and R-Design trims can get pricey in a jiffy.

Like most Volvo’s, the XC60 is a competent road performer with ample safety features available either from the get-go or as optional equipment. Every single one of them handles like a charm and offers a smooth and refined drive worthy of their premium demeanor.

As mentioned above, the Swedish company has now unlocked the full array of its U.S. market powertrain offerings to prospective Volvo XC60 buyers. The base T5 models get a 250-horsepower 2.0L turbocharged inline-four mill in either front or all-wheel drive configurations.

Every other model is offered with a mandatory all-wheel-drive system, but the engine selection doesn’t dry up just yet. The T6 models utilize a supercharger on top of the four-banger’s turbo which raises the output to 316 horsepower. Finally, the most powerful T8 plug-in hybrid models add an 87-horsepower electric motor to the T6’s setup for a combined output of 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque.

Although the T8 XC60 did receive a larger 11.6-kWh battery pack, it still produces the same 400 ponies in its conventional iteration. There’s a Polestar-tuned model with 415 horsepower for those in need of even more power.


03. 2020 S60

The S60’s sales have suffered greatly in recent years, dropping by around 150 percent between 2015 and 2018. This, however, doesn’t come as a surprise considering most conventional passenger sedans have had a tough time competing against more and more popular crossovers and SUVs lately.

The impact of this unfortunate development hasn’t been too severe on Volvo’s fortunes considering how the Swedish company’s overall sales had still managed to grow in spite of poor sedan and wagon sales. What’s more, the Swedes have given their smaller sedan a substantial makeover for MY 2019 and 2020-year models carry over mostly unchanged.

This could help soften the blow but probably won’t help reverse the S60’s fortunes in terms of sales, in the long run. The next-generation S60 is a stylish, refined, smooth-riding, and powerful compact luxury sedan that starts from $37,000. It’s not as sporty as some of its competitors and doesn’t handle in a fun manner, but you can’t have everything apparently. Especially not at the entry-level when luxury is concerned.

The entire range of powertrain options has been unlocked from the get-go. The entry-level Volvo S60 T5 models come exclusively in a front-wheel drive setup and deliver 250 ponies thanks to a simple 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder mill. The remainder of the lineup utilizes a mandatory all-wheel drive and makes either 316 horsepower in the familiar T6 setup or 400 horses in the most powerful T8 eAWD hybrid variation.

Again, the Swedish company offers the special Polestar-engineered version of the T8 S60 which makes 15 horsepower and 22 lb-ft more than the most powerful conventional models, but is offered exclusively through company’s “Care by Volvo” subscription program for $1,100 a month.


02. 2020 V90 and V90 Cross Country

Not counting the flagship XC90 SUV, the V90 wagon has to be considered the company’s most practical model overall. After all, it stems from Volvo’s decade-long tradition of producing highly capable, reliable and, above all, spacious station wagons. Speaking of cargo space, the V90 offers up to 54 cubic feet of it with all seats folded.

The largest Volvo wagon currently available can be obtained in both the regular and Cross Country form with added elevation. If SUV’s weren’t as popular as they are, the V90 CC could have easily made the XC90 redundant. Not only is the V90 one of only handful of available luxury wagons, it’s also one of the best wagons on the market overall with the hefty sticker being, arguably, its only downside.

The base V90 wagons start from $51,500, while the elevated Cross Country models require $3,000 more which is no mean feat. They offer class-leading safety gear and opulent interiors, but at the same time, they often get overlooked due to badge or more widespread body style snobbery.

The electric-motor-assisted T8 variation of the Volvo powertrain is unavailable with the V90 in the U.S. which comes as a surprise given its flagship status. Still, the 250-horsepower turbocharged T5 and 316-horsepower turbocharged and supercharged T6 iterations are more than capable of moving the 4,250-pounder around with ease – especially the latter.

The T6 powertrains are available exclusively in an all-wheel-drive setup while the T5 can be had in a front-wheel-drive configuration. However, that’s only possible in the case of ordering a regular V90 wagon considering how the Cross Country trim warrants an all-wheel-drive setup even with the base powertrain. Every version of Volvo’s flagship wagon is paired with the Aisin 8-speed automatic transmission.


01. 2020 XC40

All-new for 2018, the subcompact crossover quickly grabbed the attention of show crowds across the world. The XC40 is somewhat different than the traditional Volvo offering due to its limited size, but the Swedes have still done a marvelous job in terms of refinement. However, don’t expect to fit five people and all their cargo if you intend for them to be comfortable at the back. The 2020 Volvo XC40 is also smooth and as fun to drive as luxury subcompact crossovers get.

It’s available with an abundance of features straight from the entry-level, including the large 9-inch touchscreen display with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster which has become standard across the Volvo portfolio for model year 2020. All this starts from around $34,000, while even the most expensive grades don’t surpass the $41,000 mark. And they include a standard all-wheel drive setup, to boot.

The base models sport the same 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine found across the entire Volvo range, only in two different sets of tunes. The entry-level setup is dubbed T4 in Volvo speak and generates 187 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of rotational force while the better-known T5 variation produces 248 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque.

Both models are paired with a modern 8-speed automatic transmission, but while the T4 comes with standard front-wheel drive, the T5 models, as already mentioned, sport a mandatory all-wheel-drive setup. Volvo is expected to introduce a FWD T5 variant later on, though.

While the less powerful powertrain can get overwhelmed at highway speeds, the T5 provides all the power the 3,850-pound crossover will ever need. This makes it a safer choice in our book in spite of a slight fuel economy penalty.


What’s Not in the New 2020 Volvo Lineup

01. 2020 S90

Let’s get the fact that there are no uncool Volvo models out of the way first. Every Volvo is unconventional, luxurious in its own right, and great bang for your buck which makes them cool in our book. If we had to choose one that probably offers less than what you’d expect from it, however, we’d choose the S90 flagship sedan.

It’s not just because sedans are losing on popularity, though. The luxury car simply fails to offer a ride that’s quality enough to stand out, which is something one flagship certainly deserves. What’s more, the S90’s engines are less refined than those of its competitors and its prices aren’t exactly attractive either.

The base T5 Momentum models start from a little over $48,000 whereas the most expensive T8 eAWD Inscription units cost exactly $70,000. Although the most expensive models are really exquisite on the inside, we can’t really consider that as an advantage considering that’s the least one can expect from such an expensive flagship model.

The entry-level 250-horsepower T5 powertrain has been axed from the Volvo S90 range for MY 2020, alongside its front-wheel drive setup. The new base engine now boasts a supercharger and produces 316 ponies. Needless to say, all S90’s are now exclusively offered in an all-wheel drive setup.

The more powerful T8 eAWD hybrid trim which adds an 87-horsepower electric motor to the previous configuration generates 400 ponies. It also gets a larger 11.6-kWh battery pack (up from 10.6), much like the remainder of T8-powered Volvo’s for 2020. The Volvo S90 certainly doesn’t lack for power, but that power can come at an unexpected time if quick and heavy-footed with the accelerator pedal.


About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!