By KBB.com Editors
With the increasing movement to smaller, more efficient vehicles, the 2009 Volvo XC90 strikes an acceptable 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 2009 Volvo XC90 makes an excellent choice for the family transport.
If you're all about maximum interior space, the 2009 Volvo XC90's third-row seat is not well-suited for adults. Many families will find the V8's price tag and poor fuel economy a tough pill to swallow.
A new trim, dubbed R-Design, is available on both the base and V8 model. It adds a unique grille, wheels, suspension upgrades and interior trim, as well as R-Design embossed leather seating. Some of Volvo's more popular options are bundled into new packages, making it easier for consumers add equipment.
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
The sliding center child seat allows a front-seat passenger to easily reach a child restrained in a safety seat in the second-row.
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 (aluminum on the R-Design). 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 2009 Volvo 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 R-Design package adds unique grille and trim, leather seating and 19 or 20-inch wheels depending on model.
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 Technology Package features Dynaudio Pro Logic II surround sound, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Active bi-xenon headlamps. Other options include Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), HDD navigation (part of the Convenience Plus Package), dual-screen rear entertainment system and 19-inch "Galateia" wheels.
The 3.2-liter in-line six gives the base model a nice balance between adequate power and acceptable fuel economy. It helps the big Volvo cruise up to speed quick enough for our taste, 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. Better yet, both engines no longer require premium unleaded gasoline making it bit easier to top off the tank without breaking the bank.
3.2-liter in-line 6
235 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (FWD), 14/20 (AWD)
311 horsepower @ 5850 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19
By Alex on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I own this caroverall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable/ nice looking"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought it 2005 and still runs well. It's so comfortable and I feel so safe. It's a great size for a car that seats 7. It doesn't feel bulky like most suv's, I am able to park in the compact spot at times. The gas mileage it's not the best but it's ok for the quality of the car. I did have some trouble with the air in the very beginning but it went away on its own. Nothing ever broke. The only money I have spent on this car was for maintenance and gas. It's a solid, safe and beautiful car for a family."
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By Keke on Tuesday, November 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 138,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, good family vehicle, comfortable ride."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had nothing but positive experiences since buying this used car 18 months ago. Aside from routine maintenance that all cars require, I have spent no extra money on this car. When buying used, I always factor in timing belt replacement, hoses, etc. that people usually don't take care of if they are getting rid of a vehicle. The XC90's cost of replacement parts/labor is comparable to all European brands, which usually run higher than American cars. The car rides and handles great, passengers are comfortable, and the sound is good quality. The MPG is not great, coming in around 18, but it's not terrible."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Mary on Wednesday, October 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Caper green with tan leather interior. I have loved having this car. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I have added a kayak rack to the top, but it can easily be removed if it is not wanted. The body is almost flawless, the interior is also in great shape. I am simplifying my life now that my kids are grown and gone. I just don't need this much vehicle any more."
3 people out of 9 found this review helpful
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."
15 people out of 26 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."
9 people out of 14 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."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful