The Volvo XC90 offers a more capable vehicle than the European sedans but not quite as big or boxy as the American options. It is safer and a little different. It has been around since 2003, the latest generation debuted in 2013 and the Excellence trim did so in 2015 in the Shanghai Auto Show. This trim represented an unusual approach to the sterling safety reputation of the automaker, but perhaps, they are only keeping up of the new level of opulence market trend set by others like the Lamborgini Urus or the Bentley Bentayga. The trim Excellence starts where the T8 AWD (which was the top XC90 top trim) left off. That means that it includes: a shared hybrid powertrain. It uses a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that is both supercharged and turbocharged; the supercharger sizzles up the engine before the turbocharger takes over, providing more torque at lower speeds. In lower XC90 trims, the supercharged turbocharged I4 produces 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid powertrain that Volvo calls the “Drive-E”, has two electric motors, one mounted on the rear axle and another mounted on the crankshaft between the engine and gearbox. Both motors can deliver significant amounts of additional torque and are connected to a 9.2kWh battery located in the vehicle’s center tunnel. Altogether, the Drive-E system on the T8 Inscription and Excellence produces 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque, managed by an 8-speed automatic transmission. The XC90 gets good mileage for an SUV, that is. Engine has continuously variable valve timing, stop/start technology, regenerative braking, and other technologies contribute to an EPA rating of 20 /25 /22 mpg. The powertrain’s hybrid function is estimated at 53 MPGe. All trims above the T6 and all the way up the Excellence come with standard AWD. Lower trims are FWD standard but have the AWD as optional. Volvo’s excellent safety reputation does not diminish with this new focus on luxury. In any case, the XC90 is safer than other Volvos out there. It does not lack in standard safety features: LED daytime running lights, a full suite of airbags, electronic stability control, antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, etc.—or standard driver assistance features— roll stability control, lane-departure warnings, road-sign information, driver alert, and collision avoidance with pedestrian and cyclist detection and avoidance. Optional safety equipment comes plenty as well, including adaptive cruise control with park assist, blind-spot information with cross-traffic alerts, a surround-view camera, and so on. Although the NHTSA has not tested the XC90 since 2014, the IIHS named the 2016 XC90 a Top Safety Pick+.