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 Long Islander on Monday, July 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safe, roomy, family oriented vehicle."
Cons: "Hwy mileage is good, city could be better."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a true SUV. Not one of the crossovers or wannabees. You can tow a boat, pack up a family and be comfortable on a road trip. It's also one of the safest vehicles on the road. I find it comfortable to drive as I have owned a number of other SUV's. There is more room than needed w/ full third row seating (that an adult can fit in). While gas mileage around the city averages 15, I do get mid 20's on the highway. So gas mileage could be better, but could also be worse for what you have. Last, one reason I bought it is because my in-laws own one. They now have 190k miles on it and it is still going strong (and looks good too). Other than normal wear and tare, replacing tires/brakes, they have put less than $2,200 in repairs. So as far as I'm concerned, they got their monies worth."
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful
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."
6 people out of 11 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."
11 people out of 17 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."
8 people out of 8 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."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful