The XC90, which was introduced in 2003, is Volvo's flagship crossover SUV. It hasn't been refreshed since 2007, and it marches into 2012 with only minor model-level changes, including the discontinuation of the V-8. The XC90 is available with a 240-horsepower 3.2-liter inline-six and a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is optional on all models.
Although the XC90 is built on the same underpinnings as the S80 sedan, it is a sizable vehicle offering seven seats in three rows, along with plenty of comfort options and Volvo's signature safety features. Unfortunately, this adds up to particularly poor mileage: a lackluster 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway for both the front- and all-wheel-drive versions.
The XC90 is arguably Volvo's most conservative offering. However, with the R-Design model, there is some sparkle with 20-inch wheels and xenon headlights. Volvo is expected to soon announce an all-new XC90, which may arrive as a 2013 or 2014 model.
Bodystyle: 4-door SUV
Engine: 3.2-liter inline-6
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Models: 3.2, 3.2 R-Design
The V-8 model is discontinued for 2012, and there is now a Caspian Blue color for the base model. Like other Volvos, there is a new model philosophy that optimizes standard features: Premier, Premier Plus, and Platinum
The XC90 is a very conservative design compared to Volvo's recent design trend. Compared to the newer XC60, the XC90 is noticeably blocky. However, for some that visually translates into an impression of substance and toughness.
The XC90's interior is delightfully luxurious and composed of flowing lines and rich-looking details. It's also well-executed from an ergonomic perspective, with elegant, easy-to-use controls and excellent seats, although the addition of the third row has impacted second-row room. Features-wise, the XC90 has every Volvo amenity, including Bluetooth and audio streaming, plus an optional 650-watt audio system.
Performance & Handling
The XC90 drives just as you'd expect from its appearance: Heavy-feeling but comfortable. The six cylinder-equipped 3.2 accelerates to 60 mph in about 8.7 seconds, swift enough for normal, around-town driving, but underperforming compared to other vehicles in the segment.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rewarded the XC90 with "Good" ratings for front, side, rear and rollover tests. Meanwhile, the NHTSA gives the XC90 five stars for front driver and passenger as well as side driver and rear passenger protection, with four stars for rollover protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
3.2 and 3.2 R-Design: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Substantial feel
- Room for seven
- Beautiful, luxurious interior
You Won't Like
- Disappointing mileage
- Dated-looking exterior
Seven seats make it a special Volvo
If You Like This Vehicle
- Audi Q7
- Lincoln MKT
- Volkswagen Touareg