By KBB.com Editors
With many Americans downsizing their lifestyles, it makes sense that they are doing the same with their vehicles. The 2011 Volvo XC90 should fit in nicely with families looking to move out of a big, truck-based sport utility vehicle (SUV) without sacrificing seating capacity or all-weather versatility. The roomy and safety conscious Volvo XC90 is reasonably sized and even offers a choice between in-line six-cylinder or V8 engines. Although similarly sized vehicles from Honda and Nissan may cost less, the Volvo name carries a bit more weight when it comes to impressing the neighbors. Regardless of how you view the 2011 Volvo XC90, there is no arguing with the vehicle's all-weather ability, tough-as-nails construction and strong safety legacy.
If you only occasionally use a third-row seat and you place a higher value on safety and comfort than projecting a flashy image, the 2011 Volvo XC90 deserves to be near the top of your car shopping list.
If you not only need a third-row seat but also require generous cargo room behind said seat, the 2011 Volvo XC90 isn't as appealing as a GMC Acadia or Buick Enclave. Also, if gas prices continue northward, fuel economy is weak with either the six-cylinder or V8 engines.
Changes to the 2011 Volvo XC90 include standard Bluetooth and Sirius Satellite Radio, as well as a five horsepower bump for the 3.2-liter engine.
Driving Impressions The 2011 Volvo XC90 delivers surprisingly strong on-road performance. Combining the sophisticated Roll Stability Control (RSC) system with the XC90's wide track is a big part of the reason the...vehicle can safely perform emergency maneuvers. Despite the XC90's impressive eight-inches of ground clearance, the big Volvo doesn't feel like a top-heavy SUV. It takes corners with confidence and returns good feedback from the steering wheel and brake pedal. All-wheel-drive models benefit from a Haldex viscous-coupling system that divides the engine's power between the front and rear axles. When not in use, 95-percent of the engine's power is routed to the front wheels. Once those wheels begin to slip, however, the 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.
Although many may find the 2011 Volvo XC90's interior a bit reserved, we feel it is still worthy of a premium luxury vehicle, especially when trimmed in the available leather seating with contrasting piping. The Volvo XC90 provides seating for seven, although the forward-facing third row is a bit cramped for most adults. The second-row seat is fairly roomy and features a sliding center section that allows a child in a safety seat to be moved closer to the front-seat passenger. Front seat occupants are treated to Volvo's superb contoured bucket seats that also feature active head restraints, which help prevent whiplash in rear-end collisions.Exterior
Looking somewhat like a bigger and taller version of the Volvo XC70 wagon, the 2011 Volvo XC90 displays all the tell-tale Volvo styling cues, including a raised-V hood bulge, elongated taillights and a prominent Volvo badge on the grille. The XC90's tall ride height does not create an unusually high step-up height, meaning entry and exit are similar to getting in and out of a car. The Volvo XC90 features a number of thoughtful features, such as the side-mirror turn signals that automatically flash when slight pressure is applied to the turn signal stalk. Also, there's the reinforced roof design, which can provide an added measure of security in the event of a rollover accident.
The base 2011 Volvo XC90 3.2 features a 240-horsepower six-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Also standard is dual-zone automatic air conditioning, Bluetooth, rear park assist, leather seating, power glass moonroof, front and rear fog lights, illuminated remote keyless entry and dual heated power mirrors. The standard sound system features an AM/FM stereo unit with CD plus USB and auxiliary audio input ports. There's also an eight-way power driver's seat, power passenger seat, third-row climate control, child booster seat, front skid plate, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The sporty Volvo XC90 3.2 R-Design adds a special grille and trim, leather seating, the Nivomat self-leveling rear suspension and 19-inch wheels. The top-of-the-line Volvo XC90 V8 AWD trim adds all-wheel drive, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, headlamp washers, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Options for the 2011 Volvo XC90 3.2 and XC90 3.2 R-Design start with all-wheel drive. Most other options are included in packages. The Climate Package adds heated seats, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers and the Interior Air Quality System. The Multimedia Package features Dynaudio Pro Logic II surround sound, a rear-assist camera and Volvo navigation with Real Time Traffic. The Volvo XC90 V8 AWD can be equipped with the Luxury Package that includes 19-inch wheels, massaging and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. Other options include the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Bluetooth, dual-screen rear entertainment system, 19-inch wheels, Bi-xenon headlamps that rotate in the direction the steering wheel is turned and a wood or leather steering wheel.
The 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine gives the base 2011 Volvo XC90 3.2 and Volvo XC90 3.2 R-Design more than adequate power. Many SUV owners, however, just can't live without a V8. For them, the 311-horspower, 4.4-liter V8 in the Volvo XC90 V8 AWD vastly improves performance. Better yet, neither engine requires premium gasoline, which makes it a bit easier to top off the tank without breaking the bank.
3.2-liter in-line 6
240 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)
311 horsepower @ 5850 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21
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"
7 people out of 12 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