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 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."
10 people out of 14 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."
7 people out of 10 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."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By WOODS FAMILY on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice to look at when purchased in 2004"
Cons: "HORRIBLE REPAIR BILLS"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Love the sleek styling at first glance. However, we have had the WORST possible experience with this car in the world. After the 50,000 mile warranty was up, EVERY major system on this car broke down and needed extensive repairs. I would NEVER recommend this car to a friend or family member. Just took it in for more repairs (trading it in finally) and found that we need $1700. 00 in additional repairs. I asked the service personnel to look at history of repairs and he said it had been repaired 31 times. And I can truthfully say that those were each substantial in dollar amounts. I would even venture to say that we spent as much on repairs as the car cost in the time period we had it. If not more, very close. Maybe we got a lemon, but the dealership did not help out much. Volvo Corporation should be ashamed to call this a reliable car. NEVER, EVER, AGAIN."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By bdo on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "runs like new"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own a repair shop for forty years . This Volvo has been gone over front to back new timing belt , tuned up new brakes and parking brakes, and much much more. This vehicle looks new drives like new and smells like new, and has been kept in a garage since new. If you put it on a Volvo show room floor it would pass as new.This vehicle has passed Maryland state inspection , which is the strictest in the USA . This car is absolutely beautiful"
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Scarface Six on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great utility, comfort, visibility, and power!"
Cons: "Roof mounted antenna wire comes loose."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Our 2006 XC-90 was hit by a red light runner and totaled, with NO serious injuries to either occupant. A small ankle bruise from the brake pedal, was the ONLY injury. We decided to replace her 2006 with a 2011 XC-90, and we are SURE that was a GREAT decision. After 25000 miles, the engine started smoking, and Volvo replaced the ENTIRE engine after trying two repairs. Very impressive! It is roomy enough to fit five comfortably and seven with the back seats up. With the beach seats easily folded away, a split rear door is comfortable to use and provides access to LOTS of ROOM for groceries and other supplies. We will likely get another XC90 within the next 16 months. We just LOVE this car."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful