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 Hank on Saturday, October 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fairly priced against other European SUV. Gd. val"
Cons: "Awkward third seat. Haven't used."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"3.2 engine is not fruga lon gas. Averaged 18.6 mpg on 4 separate trips from Long Island to Stuart, Fl. Vehicle feels safe, good on long trips. A bit cumbersome in heavy traffic. Cargo space is adequate."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Juan Pablo on Monday, September 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"As a family car the Volvo is comfortable and looks GREAT! As a father of four...we have had astronomical bills on repairs....A/C condenser then compressor....then leaks.....I recommend another car if you are looking for a reliable A/C."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Twister on Saturday, September 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable drive and very good on gas"
Cons: "Pricey: Tire replacements high AWD"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle is our mine travel car. It has been cross country three times from San Diego to Michigan via cross Canada, cross Northern USA and Southern USA. It has been to Canada twice and several trips to Northern CA, NV and AZ. The interior is designed exceptionally and the exterior is sharp. I am awaiting the arrival of the 2016 model this spring. This has been my most favorite vehicle!!! The ride is exceptional - comfortable - reliable and resilient etc... the best vehicle yet. The cars I have had are Olds, Renault, Mazda, Toyotas (very good) VWs. The color is Ice Green. One feels very safe in this vehicle. Pictures will be loaded later."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By WOODS FAMILY on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice to look at when purchased in 2004"
Cons: "HORRIBLE REPAIR BILLS"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Love the sleek styling at first glance. However, we have had the WORST possible experience with this car in the world. After the 50,000 mile warranty was up, EVERY major system on this car broke down and needed extensive repairs. I would NEVER recommend this car to a friend or family member. Just took it in for more repairs (trading it in finally) and found that we need $1700. 00 in additional repairs. I asked the service personnel to look at history of repairs and he said it had been repaired 31 times. And I can truthfully say that those were each substantial in dollar amounts. I would even venture to say that we spent as much on repairs as the car cost in the time period we had it. If not more, very close. Maybe we got a lemon, but the dealership did not help out much. Volvo Corporation should be ashamed to call this a reliable car. NEVER, EVER, AGAIN."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By bdo on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "runs like new"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own a repair shop for forty years . This Volvo has been gone over front to back new timing belt , tuned up new brakes and parking brakes, and much much more. This vehicle looks new drives like new and smells like new, and has been kept in a garage since new. If you put it on a Volvo show room floor it would pass as new.This vehicle has passed Maryland state inspection , which is the strictest in the USA . This car is absolutely beautiful"
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Scarface Six on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great utility, comfort, visibility, and power!"
Cons: "Roof mounted antenna wire comes loose."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Our 2006 XC-90 was hit by a red light runner and totaled, with NO serious injuries to either occupant. A small ankle bruise from the brake pedal, was the ONLY injury. We decided to replace her 2006 with a 2011 XC-90, and we are SURE that was a GREAT decision. After 25000 miles, the engine started smoking, and Volvo replaced the ENTIRE engine after trying two repairs. Very impressive! It is roomy enough to fit five comfortably and seven with the back seats up. With the beach seats easily folded away, a split rear door is comfortable to use and provides access to LOTS of ROOM for groceries and other supplies. We will likely get another XC90 within the next 16 months. We just LOVE this car."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful