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2009 Volvo XC90 Review
Offers impeccable safety in a luxury SUV niche.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2009 XC90 is Volvo's flagship sport utility vehicle (SUV). As a long-time maker of wagons, Volvo couldn’t ignore the mass consumer migration to SUVs. The 2009 Volvo XC90 exists in the luxury portion of the midsize SUV segment, so there are less expensive choices. The direct rivals tend to offer more driving fun with better economy, but less safety. This makes the dated-XC90 design outclassed in some ways by newer designs and better performers, yet still appealing to certain buyers.
Engines: 3.2-liter inline six, 4.4-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Models: XC90 3.2, XC90 3.2 R-Design, XC90 V8
For 2009, the Volvo XC90 drops the V8 Sport model and adds a new R-Design trim level with larger wheels, sportier suspension tuning and steering, exclusive leather upholstery, and model-specific styling. The V8 model receives a newly optional executive package that adds some real luxury. The base model gets a new ""Galateia"" 19-inch wheel package, which adds speed-sensitive power steering. Some past stand-alone options are now part of the 2009 packages.
The 2009 Volvo XC90 comes in two main trims: 3.2 and V8. The 3.2 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels as the V8 adds restyled 18-inch wheels, a self-leveling rear suspension, and a sunroof.
The new R-Design trim for both the 3.2 and V8 adds 19-inch wheels, sportier suspension tuning and steering, a sunroof, and self-leveling rear suspension. Features from packages include headlight washers and automatic wipers, 19-inch wheels, and adaptive bi-xenon headlights.
The 3.2 has power child safety locks, cloth upholstery, wood interior trim, an eight-way power driver seat with memory, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an eight-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player and auxiliary audio jack. The V8 adds a third-row seat, leather upholstery, a six-CD changer, a power front passenger seat, an integrated child booster seat, a separate rear air-conditioner, and upgraded instrumentation. Meanwhile, the R-Design has leather upholstery, a third-row seat, an integrated second-row child booster seat, and a six-CD changer.
A convenience package adds a navigation system, a blind-spot warning system, rear park assist, power-folding side mirrors, and an interior air quality system. The technology package has satellite radio, a premium audio system, and rear-seat headphone jacks with audio controls. The executive package for the V8 adds special soft leather, leather door and console trim, massaging and ventilated front seats, wood inlays, a wood-trimmed steering wheel, and heated front and rear seats.
Performance & Handling
The 2009 Volvo XC90 3.2 uses a 3.2-liter, inline six-cylinder engine that produces 235 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. The XC90 V8 upgrades to a 4.4-liter V-8 good for 311 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Both engines send power to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. XC90 3.2 models come standard with front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive (AWD) being an available option. The 2009 Volvo XC90 V8 only offers AWD. Towing capacity for both models is rated at 5000 pounds with the proper equipment, a solid rating for this class. The V8 model runs the zero-to-60-mph sprint in 7.4 seconds, giving it average acceleration for a midsize SUV.
While there are options that make the 2009 Volvo XC90 sportier, it doesn’t compete with rivals from BMW or Acura. It does have the smooth and refined ride that SUV buyers have come to expect; the handling is solid without being particularly athletic. All in all, the 2009 Volvo XC90 is a slightly underpowered comfort cruiser that can be optioned into a bit better handling but not a sport-oriented performer.
A 21.1-gallon tank allows the front-wheel-drive 3.2 to travel 295 city miles and 422 highway miles. Expect a shortened range for the V8 and AWD models.
The 2009 Volvo XC90 has earned top scores in nearly all of the various government crash safety tests. Standard safety equipment for the 2009 Volvo XC90 includes stability control, anti-lock brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and anti-whiplash front seats. There is an optional blind spot warning system that monitors vehicles entering the XC90's blind spots and warns the driver of their presence via indicator lights.
EPA Fuel Economy
XC90 V8: 13/19 mpg city/highway
- Interior materials
- Comfortable front seats
- Driving dynamics
- Cargo space
- Standard all-wheel drive on the V8 model
You Won't Like
- Lack of fuel efficient engine option
- Cramped third-row seat
- Missing some standard features
Offers impeccable safety in a luxury SUV niche.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Acura MDX
- BMW X5
- Lexus RX350
- Mercedes-Benz M-Class
- Mazda CX-9
- Hyundai Veracruz
See the New 2014 XC90.
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