Photos: Volvo

The 2020 Volvo XC90 has been updated with new safety features, Android Auto, a new wool blend interior option, a new mild-hybrid trim level, and apparently refreshed looks. That last update is a little hard to spot, though, so give it your best shot.

In this article, I want you return to your Highlights Magazine days try and spot the differences between the old XC90 and these images of the “new” XC90, while I talk about the other stuff.




Feels like we’re going to be here awhile. Let me help. Volvo claims there are new wheel options, an updated grille, new color options, and other “subtle” changes. You think? That’s not so bad, though, because the XC90 still looks great for a huge crossover.

The biggest update for the XC90 model isn’t going to be available in America, though. At least not yet.

Volvo has announced a new “B” designation for a new mild hybrid trim of the XC90, which will go on sale in other markets before coming to the U.S. The global press release featured an image of a badge reading “B5,” and described the mild hybrid system improving fuel consumption efficiency and reducing emissions by up to 15 percent “in real world driving.”


The system takes advantage of the new XC90's brake-by-wire system to incorporate a kinetic energy recovery braking system, or KERS, to store energy under braking. I reached out to Volvo for more details on how this new powertrain is specifically laid out and how the saved energy will be applied, and will update when I know more.

If it utilizes some sort of inline starter generator in the powertrain, which it sounds like it does, then the energy that is stored can be applied to put additional power down at the wheels, along with the power supplied by the regular engine. We’ll have to wait for Volvo to provide more details to determine exactly what the car could be capable of, though.


Beyond that, that new wool blend interior is a nice patterned grey that covers the seats and trims, and looks pretty nice. Android Auto finally joins the availability of Apple CarPlay and the infotainment system has been updated to be on-par with the other new models in Volvo’s lineup. You can even now also stream Spotify music.

For safety, there’s now steering assist paired with the blind spot monitoring system and the City Safety system, the latter of which can detect and, if necessary, brake for pedestrians, bicycles, and large animals. I feel like pedestrians count under the category of “large animals,” no need to be too specific.


There’s also now automatic braking paired with the cross-traffic alert system, and the 2020 XC90 also gets the Oncoming Lane Mitigation system that premiered on the XC60 crossover.