By KBB.com Editors
With the increasing movement to smaller, more efficient vehicles, the 2008 Volvo XC90 strikes the perfect balance between car and SUV. Riding atop the previous-generation S80 chassis, the roomy and safe XC90 comes wrapped in a manageable size and equipped with a choice of a V6 or V8 engine. Although more expensive than similarly-sized vehicles from Nissan and Honda, many consider Volvo's more luxurious SUV as something of a status symbol. Regardless of how you view the XC90, there is no arguing with the vehicle's rugged construction, all-weather capability, exemplary safety rating and strong resale value.
If you're not looking to carry half your kid's football team to practice and have a desire for an SUV that places safety and comfort front and center, the XC90 makes an excellent choice for the family transport.
If you're all about maximum interior space, the XC90's third-row seat is not well-suited for adults. Many families will find the V8's price tag a tough pill to swallow.
The 3.2 trims receive new wheels and an auto-dimming rear view mirror. The V8 models include 18-inch wheels (up from 17 inches), fender extensions and bright C-pillar trim.
Driving Impressions The XC90 achieves impressive on-road performance via a combination of unique safety and stability devices. The combination of a wide stance and Volvo's Roll Stability Control (RSC) system is a...big part of the reason the XC90 can perform emergency maneuvers almost like a low-slung sedan. Though blessed with over eight inches of ground clearance, you'll hardly feel it as you round corners and zip through twisting turns. All-wheel-drive models benefit from a Haldex viscous-coupling system that splits the engine's power between the front and rear axles. Under ordinary driving conditions, 95 percent of the power runs through the front wheels. Should they begin to slip, the Haldex system routes power to the rear wheels until traction at the front has been regained.
Sliding Center Child Seat<br>The sliding center child seat allows a front-seat passenger to easily reach a child restrained in a safety seat in the second-row.<br><br>Roof Pillars<br>The XC90's roof pillars help protect the passenger compartment in the event of a rollover.
There is a lot of gray plastic and leather inside the XC90, although a smattering of wood trim helps warm things up a bit. Tending towards understated, the interior is tastefully appointed and very user-friendly. There is seating for five and the option of a forward-facing third-row seat. The driver and passenger relax in a comfortable pair of bucket seats featuring built-in whiplash protection. The XC90 is loaded with crash protection features, including front side-impact airbags, a head-curtain airbag running the length of the passenger compartment and a roof design intended to better resist collapsing in the event of a rollover. You'll also find subtle touches, such as the rear-seat sliding center section that allows a child in a safety seat to be moved closer to the front-seat passenger.Exterior
The XC90 looks like a bigger, taller version of the popular XC70 wagon. All the familiar Volvo styling cues are present, including the raised-V hood bulge and the elongated taillights running the length of the D-pillars. Side mirrors include integrated turn signals that automatically flash when slight pressure is applied to the turn signal stalk. The tall ride height does not translate into a tall step-up height, though, making entry and exit similar to getting in and out of a car. Volvo takes particular pride in the XC90's reinforced roof design, which can provide an added measure of security in the event of a rollover accident.
The XC90 3.2 features a six-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), stability and traction control, a tire pressure monitor, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, front and rear fog lights, illuminated remote keyless entry, dual heated power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, Volvo's Rollover Protection System, eight-way power driver's seat, front skid plate, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with touch controls, trip computer, rear wiper/washer and 17-inch alloy wheels. The V8 trim adds all-wheel drive, rear air conditioning, automatic leveling, power glass moonroof, leather seats and 18-inch alloy wheels. The V8 Sport adds a sport suspension and 19-inch wheels.
Options for the 3.2 trim include the Premium Package, which features a power moonroof, six-disc CD changer, power passenger seat and leather-surfaced seat trim. The Versatility Package (which requires the Premium Package) adds rear air conditioning, automatic leveling, an integrated child booster seat and a leather third-row seat. The V8 Sport offers a Technology Package that features Dynaudio Pro Logic II surround sound and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Stand-alone options for the XC90 include Active Bi-Xenon headlamps, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), navigation, upgraded audio with subwoofer and rear controls, dual-screen rear entertainment system and 18-inch wheels.
The 3.2-liter in-line six gives the base model a significant advantage over the last generation turbocharged in-line five-cylinder engine. More horsepower and torque help the big Volvo cruise up to speed a bit quicker, but many SUV owners just can't live without a V8. For them, the 4.4 trim level's hefty helping of torque and impressive horsepower vastly improves the performance figures. On the flip side, both engines require premium unleaded gasoline and the V8 engine option can push the XC90's price tag well out of many shoppers' ranges.<br><br>3.2-liter in-line 6<br>235 horsepower @ 6200 rpm<br>236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm<br>EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (FWD), 14/20 (AWD)<br><br>4.4-liter V8<br>311 horsepower @ 5850 rpm<br>325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm<br>EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19
By Leelee on Thursday, March 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I can't say enough about this vehicle, no rust on a 10 year old car is amazing to me!! Made to last, performs great, AWD is great in Michigan weather! I would buy another Volvo XC90, but am disappointed that the 2014 interior looks just like my 2004! I would like to see some changes, so it feels like a new car inside and out!"
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Elleze on Saturday, February 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have owned this vehicle for about 4 years, purchased new. Owned another Volvo before that (also purchased new). My XC90 (AWD 3.2) was the most comfortable, right size, and had the needed 4WD and other amenities. Extremely good leather seats, not as good as previous Volvo but close. Good visibility, easy controls, comfortable controlled ride, luxury details without a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. Handles well on open rode and trips, no problems even in heavy winds with lots of semis around. No, it' not the fastest thing out of the gate but it moves just fine and safely through traffic and passing lanes and it rides very smooth and sound. Ok in snow, not great, but using caution no problems...far better than some SUVs I've drive in snow. Center control area could be better designed - however, looking at photos of the new to be future 2015 XC90, Volvo appears to be going in reverse instead of forward with their design ideas (i.e. good use of space )less cabin comforts and overuse of cold unfriendly looking high tech metals. I want a nice safe ride, luxury ad comfort - if I wanted a sport high tech vehicle I'd buy a sports car. They seem to have lost sight of the more basic European luxury wants and needs of their base clientele that may still be looking to buy these vehicles in the future. I don't particularly like the added sporty elements of the 2014 XC90 version but still considering the 2014 because compared to what is out there it still has the most of what I am looking for in the price range and it's been an excellent vehicle thus far. Everything interior/exterior has held up like new. It's a heavy vehicle, you will have to replace tires about 30K or more that is a given. Volvo doesn't make the tires (read tire reviews, most are bad). Gas mileage could be better - of course - but it's higher than posted here. I average 20-21 between city and highway, mostly around town driving which for this size is still not bad. The 3rd row seating is useless to me, never used, always down. This should be optional, and it would reduce the cost for those of us who do not need it too. I don't intend to purchase past 2014 (if I do ) the 2015 looks like an XC60 on slight steroids, is not particularly luxurious for this price range nor well thought out inside either. Volvos have slowly evolved to look like most vehicles out there, not distinctive and not good. Having driven an XC60 too can say it was also not their best effort with a very uncomfortable and useless cramped cabin/ interior and nothing special otherwise. I expect a future XC90's to be a disappointment to many longtime Volvo drivers. Unfortunately, the choices are getting smaller instead of larger for those looking for real European SUV's in this size and price range."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By SKT on Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,083overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Thank God I had an extended warrantee! Right at 90K the Balance Shaft Bearing blew. It took a month of fighting with the warrantee folks but they finally agreed to replace the engine with a rebuild aftermarket. Volvo said that a new engine would cost $16,500.00. Stay clear of this V8 from 2005 they were made wrong and Volvo decided not to do a re-call. The Balance Shaft Bearing does not get lubed from the engine oil. Aftermarket and engines made 6 months after the first release are fixed, but if you have one of the first models off the rack beware it’s a ticking time bomb!"
13 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By William on Monday, January 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safety, stability, handling, comfort, looks"
Cons: "Tire wear, repair part cost,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Test drove this vehicle against all popular SUV's prior to purchase in 2004. XC-90 was a true 7 passenger SUV with excellent handling and adequate power. The vehicle condition is 9/9 inside and out and looks fresh after 9 years. Since new have replaced tires 3x, brakes once, heater core, fuel pump, fuel distributor. The repair costs are comparable for the brand and class. The vehicle has provided excellent service with a level of comfort and safety not experienced with other vehicles. Recent 'check engine' light codes for very minor items are annoying but not serious which may be software issues as opposed to failing components. Would like to purchase a new XC-90 but plan to keep this vehicle for the next 3-5 years."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Dan on Friday, December 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"WE purchased the car new. After the warrantly expired the rear wheel bearing failed...$600. Volvo did not flinch. One year later the other bearing failed. This time with a lot of noise the split the cost with me. Shortly thereafter the transmission failed. I spent a lot to have them diagnose it and then they finally agreed to replace it after I found web material that a class action suit was pending. There are many more other items that add up to a piece of junk car mechanically."
16 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Volvochick on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "affordable luxury, safe, spacious, fun, classic"
Cons: "average gas mileage, not good for off-road travel,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I wanted a luxury vehicle that would also give me the peace of mind of safety. After shopping around for months, I found that I'd have to sacrifice one option to have the other or pay out the nose for all. That isn't the case with the Volvo! My XC90 provides me with the luxury and comfort I desired for me and the long-known Volvo safety, dependability, and comfort that I wanted for driving with my kids."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful