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 Roadie on Friday, February 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 152,238overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, safe, and reliable."
Cons: "T6 transmission problems. Leather wears quickly."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After considerable research I learned that the T6 model has horrible transmission problems, but my 2.5T has been excellent. It carries our entire family, all of our stuff, and does it comfortably. I really like this SUV. Maintenance and repairs have been minimal in over 100K miles."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By K. M. on Monday, December 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice looking comfortable"
Cons: "Mechanical issues not worth the style."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"If you are one of the unlucky gamblers to get one with the common faulty transmisions, prepare to add an additional $6000 to $7000 to your cost. A common problem since 2003. Volvo needs to step up to the plate and replace the faulty transmissions with a reliable design."
45 people out of 67 found this review helpful
By Tim on Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 257,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my XC90 in 2005 with 70,000 miles on it. She now has 257,000 miles, and she is still running strong. I've had to keep up on basic maintenance just like with any other car, but I have had no major out of pocket expenses for this vehicle since I have owned it. I absolutely love the way this vehicle drives and handles, and it has great get up and go. I have the AWD T6, so it does very well in snow... I live in Wisconsin, so this is very important. While the interior does lack in personal storage, it's an extremely comfortable and roomy vehicle. I love the style of this vehicle both inside and out. It has a very classic yet modern feel to it, and I just love driving it. Nice thing about this vehicle is that the body style has not changed much over the years, and it always looks newer than it is. Put it next to an 06, and you can't tell the difference. I read allot of mixed reviews about this vehicle prior to purchase, more bad then good, but this vehicle has proven those reviews wrong in my mind. She has been one of the most reliable Volvos I have ever owned. I'm purchasing a 2010 in about a week, and this one is going to my son. I'd like to see if we can get her to 400,000 miles or more."
17 people out of 32 found this review helpful
By theo on Friday, December 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,160overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "very good car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"80% hihgway driving, maintainance done personally, change oil every 4000 miles/ no accident/ excellent running condition"
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Littleoats on Wednesday, December 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 132,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Here's my take on this vehicle. Very plain interior. Not much storage or room for phones, drinks, sunglasses, etc. Now why would Volvo not have an overdrive for this vehicle. It is a six cylinder turbo and has only four gears thus we get about 14 miles to the gallon on the hiway! That is horrible. We only bought this to protect my young son and should have done more research before we purchased."
13 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Cassius on Sunday, November 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 161,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "attractive styling, great interior, good mileage"
Cons: "A few bugs that need to be worked out"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I bought this vehicle about 6 months ago and although I love the fit, finish, and road manners of it, I would suggest to anyone who buys one to make sure the throttle body has been replaced and that the plenum leak in the firewall has been fixed. The throttle body problem may leave you stranded and the water leak causes the CEM to malfunction, which can leave you without any heat, air, radio, power windows, turn signal, or gauge cluster function. I found out through a little digging that these are common problems with this model and Volvo knows about them. I happen to work on vehicles and was able to fix these problems myself but if you do not know how, these repairs may cost well into the thousands. Be careful."
20 people out of 27 found this review helpful