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 Shelby on Sunday, July 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable, easy to drive"
Cons: "maintenance, no navigation, no sensors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"My mom passed this car down to me with only 30,000 miles while I was in high school and it's still going strong in college! This car is extremely reliable and is made for comfort. The only thing about Volvo is that it is difficult to get parts fixed quickly since it is not made in the US. Besides that I have loved driving my Volvo!"
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By shop74 on Tuesday, July 01, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: bad gas mileage bad ride
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I have had Hyundai, Acuras, Volvos and Lexus before this and I was very unhappy with this SUV. We have 2 little children and no problem on back seat. The pickup is HORRIBLE on the 6 Cylinder engine and gas mileage. 17 miles to gallon city driving. This was my first SUV and last. This will also be my last Volvo as they don't hold their value at all when trading in... I really like my 2002 S60 but this one was a mistake."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Dvolvo on Wednesday, June 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 111,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I owned 2 grand cherokees and didn't like the noise level in the cabin. My 05 xc90 was quieter, had more torque for getting on the freeways and very reliable. I'd like to get a new one but I'd like them to change something on the newer models...new should not look old."
10 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Silvia on Friday, June 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safety car , #1 !!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I would really recommend this car to everyone, especially people who want safety, comfort, and luxury. Its a great car for anyone who has kids but at the same time it is not too bulky like most SUVS. After getting into a major accident (the car was a total loss) in which I shockingly came out alive, I was reassured that I made the right choice in purchasing this car. After losing this car, I do not have to think twice about buying another Volvo."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Jim on Wednesday, June 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car with around 26k mile and now has nearly 87K. I am putting on my second set of tires the last set lasted about 30k. The nav/GPS system is ergonomically unfirendly and hard to use. You blindly have to set it and often push the wrong button and it retracts into the dash. Then you have to restart the process. Now the GPS does not always retract into the dash when shutting off. Have had to jump start car 3 times because of that and replace the battery once. I took out the fuse to stop this problem but then the radio does not work. This time it will cost over $1400 to fix. I am having them just unplug the GPS. Parking sensor went out and will cost $470 to replace. Leaking oil and the vaccum pump seal will be another $247. Remember this only has 87K miles. The seating capacity is falsly advertised. My family is scrunched in it. The third row person's knees hit the middle row seat and the middle row is pushed against the front row. My son is only 5'10" so the 3rd row is really for show only. The radio is somewhat complicated and you have to play with it to understand it. It is a gas guzzler too."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Joe Joe on Thursday, May 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 155,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very safe and nice ride"
Cons: "Gas hog."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Purchased car new for wife. Car have had two transmissions replaced by dealer because of known problem. Car is great if you drive and get rid of before the warranty is off as it is expensive to maintain. I would not purchase another one. The car still drives great, but burns too much gasoline if one person is riding in it."
3 people out of 9 found this review helpful