2021 Volvo XC90: A Trim Comparison

a black 2021 volvo xc90 pulled off on the side of the road

Volvo is known for luxury, and the XC90 certainly delivers—all without being overly flashy. This mid-size SUV (the largest Volvo currently offers) is also fairly eco-friendly. It’s made so that 85% of its parts are recyclable and up to 95% of the vehicle is recoverable. It offers three trims levels. Each trim level also comes with a couple of engine and powertrain configurations. We’ll look at all of them to help you decide what’s right for you.


The 2021 Volvo XC90 Momentum is the basic XC90 trim. Of course, since it is Volvo we’re talking about, even the basic trim is going to cost a fair amount. It comes loaded with a solid array of features, though. First off, however, drivers will choose a seating configuration: either 6 seats ($58,145) or 7 seats ($49,695). The XC90 has 2 seats in the first and third rows. A second-row bench seat is the typical 7-seat configuration. The 6-seat style features second-row captain’s chairs and is more expensive.

Then we move on to engine options. The XC90 Momentum has  T5 or T6 options paired with specific drivetrains. It’s worth noting that the T5 is not available for the 6-seat XC90. This accounts for the main price difference between it and the 7-seat configuration. You’re really paying for a more capable engine, not for better seats.

So how do the Volvo XC90 T5 vs T6 engines differ? The T5 engine is a 2.0-liter I-4 capable of 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The combined EPA fuel economy rating is 25 mpg. That’s not bad for a vehicle this size. The T5 has two powertrain options: front-wheel-drive for $49,695 and all-wheel-drive for $52,245.

The T6 engine comes with an extra boost of power in the form of a turbo supercharged 4-cylinder engine. It produces 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The T6 engine only comes with an all-wheel-drive powertrain. Because of this, the combined fuel economy drops to 22 mpg. It clocks in at $57,645 for the 7-seater and $58,145 for the 6-seater.

When it comes to standard features, the XC90 Momentum features 19-inch six-spoke turbine silver alloy wheels and dual integrated tailpipes. The rearview mirror caps are color-coordinated to the body of the vehicle. The interior features leatherette upholstery, a high-performance audio system, and iron ore inlays throughout the cabin. A lane-keeping aid also comes standard, as Volvo is known for its safety features.


The 2021 Volvo XC90 R-Design is all about incremental performance increases with a sportier look to go with them. It is only offered in a 7-seat configuration so you won’t see second-row captain’s chairs here.

Like the Momentum trim, there are multiple engine/powertrain configurations. Each engine has the same capabilities listed above. The T5 with FWD is the least expensive at $56,295. An all-wheel-drive powertrain for the T5 runs $58,795. The T6 AWD is the supercharged engine option, which is particularly well-paired with this sporty trim. It starts at $63,345.

The final engine option is the T8 eAWD Recharge Plug-In Hybrid. With the battery fully charged, drivers can opt to coast around town for up to 18 miles on electric-only energy and no emissions. Once the battery is depleted, the gasoline engine takes over to provide 27 mpg of combined fuel economy. There is also a driving option where the electric and gas engines can work in tandem—something more akin to battery-electric hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius. The price starts at $69,845.

One immediately noticeable difference on the XC90 R-Design is the black rearview mirror caps. No other trim has these black mirror caps. The wheels on the XC90 R-Design are also an upgrade from the XC90 Momentum. Here, they are 20-inches and a 5-spoke black diamond-cut alloy wheel. The interior also receives an upgrade. The inlays are a metal mesh design, the premium sound system is Harman Kardon-branded, and the seats feature perforated Nappa leather. The seats also incorporate sport seat padding.

On the safety front, the Pilot Assist feature (a system combining adapting cruise control and lane centering) integrates navigation. The XC90 Momentum lacks navigation. Unfortunately, Park Pilot Assist is a $200 add-on; but it’s one we think is worth the cost.


The 2021 Volvo XC90 Inscription is the top luxury-focused trim. A choice of six- or seven-seat configurations returns for this trim level. The more traditional 7-seat style runs $63,945 while the 6-seater is a little bit pricier at $64,445.

Unlike the two previous trim levels, there are only two engine/powertrain configurations. Drivers can choose between the T6 AWD or the T8 eAWD Recharge Plug-In Hybrid ($70,945 for six seats; $70,445 for seven seats). There is no front-wheel-drive powertrain option for the XC90 Inscription trim.

Confusingly, there are also “Inscription Expression” trim options that seem to split the difference between the luxury of the Inscription trim and the sporty-inspiration of the R-Design trim. We say confusingly because they are cheaper than the regular Inscription options: $63,450 for the 6-seater and $63,950 for the 7-seater.

Color-coordinated rearview mirror caps return, but 20-inch wheels remain. These wheels, however, are a 10-spoke black diamond-cut alloy design. Inside, drivers will find linear walnut wood inlays and ventilated and heated Nappa leather seats. These seats also feature power-adjustable side support. Additionally, there is a leather gearshift knob. It truly is the cream-of-the-crop of Volvo offerings!

(Featured image via Facebook)