Gear positions for automatic gearbox

An automatic gearbox unburdens the driver, who can instead focus attention on the traffic and the road.

The car has an eight-speed automatic gearbox, where the system selects a gear to optimise driving.

Gear positions in the driver display

P5-1519-XC90-Hybrid gear shifter with gear shift modes

The driver display shows the gear selector's position:

P, R, N, D or B.

During manual gear changing, the gear being used is also shown (1-8).

Changing gear

The gear selector is the Shift-by-wire type where gear changing is performed electronically rather than mechanically. This means easier gear changing and more distinct gear positions.

Change gear position by pressing the spring-loaded gear selector forwards or backwards.

P5-1519-xc90 hybrid - gear shift to RND

Gear positions

Park position - P

P5-1519-XC90 Hybrid -gear shift to P

The park position is activated via the P button next to the gear selector.

Select the P position when the car is parked or when starting the engine. The car must be stationary when the park position is selected.

To select another gear position when the park position is selected, the brake pedal must be depressed and the ignition position must be II.

The gearbox is mechanically blocked when the P position is engaged. Apply the parking brake first when the car is parked.


Always apply the parking brake when parking on a slope - the automatic transmission's P position is not sufficient to hold the car in all situation.

Help functions:

The system will change to P position automatically:

  • if the car is switched off in position D or R.
  • if the driver unfastens the seatbelt and opens the driver's door when the engine is running with the gear selector in a position other than P.

Reverse position - R

Select position R to reverse. The car must be stationary when reverse position is selected.

Neutral position - N

No gear is engaged and the engine can be started. Apply the parking brake if the car is stationary with the gear selector in N position.

To be able to change from the neutral position to another gear position, the brake pedal must be depressed and the ignition position must be II.

Drive position - D

D is the normal driving position. Shifting up and down takes place automatically based on the level of acceleration and speed. The car must be stationary when changing gear from R position to D position.

Brake position - B

B can be selected at any time while driving. In the B position the car engine-brakes when the accelerator pedal is released while the hybrid battery is charging. This gives more opportunities for recharging the hybrid battery, since charging also takes place without the driver using the brake pedal.

P5-1519-XC90 Hybrid gear shift B-mode in DIM
B-position in the driver display.

From the B position it is possible to change gear manually to lower gears. The driver display shows which gear (1 - 8) is being used.

  • Press the gear selector backwards once to change down to the next lower gear.
  • Press the gear selector backwards once more to change down further.

To be able to change manually to a higher gear requires that the car is equipped with steering wheel paddles*.

  • Press the gear selector forwards to return to the D position.

The gearbox automatically shifts down if the speed decreases to a level lower than appropriate for the selected gear, in order to avoid jerking and stalling.


When the accelerator pedal is pressed all the way to the floor (beyond the position normally regarded as full acceleration) a lower gear is immediately engaged. This is known as kick-down.

If the accelerator is released from the kick-down position, the gearbox automatically changes up.

Kick-down is used when maximum acceleration is needed, such as for overtaking.

Safety function

To prevent over-revving of the engine, the gearbox control program has a protective downshift inhibitor.

The gearbox does not permit downshifting/kick-down which would result in an engine speed high enough to damage the engine. Nothing happens if the driver still tries to shift down in this way at high engine speed – the original gear remains engaged.

When kick-down is activated the car can change one or more gears at a time depending on engine speed. The car changes up when the engine reaches its maximum speed in order to prevent damage to the engine.

  1. * Option/accessory.