Hot on the heels of the Cadillac XT6 and its meager showing in the luggage test comes another member of the three-row luxury crossover segment: the 2020 Volvo XC90 and specifically the T8 plug-in hybrid trim. On paper, the Volvo has 15.8 cubic-feet of space behind its third-row seat, besting the XT6 (12.6), tying the Acura MDX, and falling short of the Lincoln Aviator (18.3, see video at the bottom of this post). That number would put it below most non-luxury three-row entries, though it does best the Mazda CX-9.
OK, let's see what we're working with here.
It's immediately obvious where the XC90's advantage lies over the XT6: depth. There's just more real estate between the liftgate and back seat.
There's a little alcove on the left side (probably helpful for golf clubs) and a cubby on the right side with a strap for something or other.
There's also storage under the floor, but in the T8 at least, there's not much space for anything beyond the plug-in hybrid charge cord. In this way, the XT6 and others have an advantage.
OK, now onto the actual bags. As in every luggage test, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife's fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
So, there are two options here. The first is using all three smaller roller bags plus the fancy bag and leaving the big boys at home. That's pretty good.
Alternatively, I could fit one of the big bags, the smallest roller, the fancy bag and then one of the bonus duffel bags from my garage. Ditto.
So it is indeed clearly better than the XT6 and CX-9. You're able to carry quite a bit of luggage with a full load of people aboard. In this T8, that's six people due to the second-row captain's chairs. I should also note that third-row space is quite good in the XC90, even if not quite as comfy as the XT6 (particularly in regards to headroom). Most adults should be perfectly comfortable for average journeys.
Now, if I wanted to fit all the luggage aboard, I just had to lower one side of the 50/50-split third row. The two big ones fit atop the lowered seat and doing so also made it easier to load the other bags on the right side.
Some final notes. First, the process for lowering the third row couldn't be simpler: just pull the lever shown below and it easily goes down. Raising it is difficult, though, as you need to lean all the way in to pull it back into place. There's no strap as in many non-luxury three-rowers, nor a power-operated feature.
Finally, like the Range Rover Sport and other vehicles with an air suspension, you can lower the XC90 at the press of a button to ease access. This is a nice feature. When lowered, I did have to deal with the head-clonk issue experienced in the Range Rover, but its clonk happened at its normal height and had to be raised for head clearance. By contrast, the Volvo's standard height should be OK for all but the tallest folks.
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