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2012 Volvo XC90

Overview
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2012 Volvo XC90 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.3

Volvo's XC90 wasn't the first upscale SUV on the market when it debuted a decade ago, but it intended to be the safest of the bunch while providing a comfortable, car-like ride. Ten years after it made its initial bow, the 2012 XC90 still offers a lot of safety and versatility in a rugged-on-the-outside, refined-on-the-inside SUV. The vehicle also bucks the bigger-is-better trend, with the ability to seat seven in a body smaller than others in this segment such as the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave and Nissan Pathfinder. Throw in XC90's all-weather ability, semi-luxury cachet and laudable warranty with complimentary scheduled maintenance, and it's a utility vehicle that appeals to both head and heart.

You'll Like This Car If...

If an image of safety, practicality and prestige top your priorities and you only occasionally plan to use the third-row seat, the 2012 Volvo XC90 deserves to be on your shopping list.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need to regularly seat passengers in the third row plus require space for cargo, the XC90 might not fit you, literally. In that regard, the larger Buick Enclave, Dodge Durango or Ford Explorer SUVs would provide more legroom and additional cargo capacity. If you need to tow your toys, the Volvo XC90 is limited to 3,970 pounds in front-wheel-drive (FWD) form and 4,960 with all-wheel drive (AWD).

What's New for 2012

Volvo has discontinued the optional V8 engine in the XC90, leaving the 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder as the sole choice. The 2012 XC90 is offered in two forms: 3.2 or R-Design, with additional trim levels for each that are designated Premier Plus and Platinum. Unlike other Volvos available in R-Design form, here the XC90 does not add more horsepower, but instead differentiates itself with a sport-tuned suspension and interior and exterior upgrades.

All 2012 XC90s get Bluetooth music-streaming capability and a new exterior color choice, Caspian Blue. R-Design models receive big 20-inch alloy wheels and xenon headlights.

Driving the XC90

Driving Impressions The 2012 Volvo XC90 delivers good on-road performance, wringing the most out of its 6-cylinder engine. Volvo pegs XC90's 0-60 mph time at 8.7 seconds. That isn't sports-car fast, but...

neither is it SUV laggardly. Thanks to a wide track and stability control system, the XC90 performs well in emergency maneuvers. Unlike other SUVs with higher ground clearance, the Volvo doesn't feel top heavy and takes corners with confidence. Feedback is good from both the steering wheel and brake pedal. Models with the optional all-wheel drive employ a computer-controlled Haldex system that can instantly deliver up to 50 percent more torque to the rear axle when needed for extra traction. When not in use, 95 percent of the engine's power goes to the front wheels.

Sliding Center Child Seat
This parental favorite allows the front-seat passenger to easily reach a child in the second-row safety seat.


Streaming Audio
This new feature enables a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone to stream music to the Volvo's audio system, plus create playlists using Pandora or Grooveshark.

2012 Volvo XC90 Details
Interior

Standard leather seating and an available wood steering wheel and shift knob give the XC90 a premium feel. A total of 12 – yes, twelve – beverage holders provide enough drink storage for a trip through the Sahara. Innovative and flexible seating arrangements such as a flat-folding front passenger seat allow the XC90 to be a car you could sleep in or fill with surfboards. There is seating for seven, but the third row is cramped for most adults, and when in use, leaves a scant 8.8 cubic feet of storage. The second row is roomy and has a sliding center section that allows a child safety seat to be moved closer to the front passenger.

Exterior

"Stylish" and "SUV" are often mutually exclusive terms, yet the XC90 manages to be both with aplomb. With a ground clearance of 8.9 inches, underbody protectors and a bulging hood, the vehicle looks like it doesn't mind the rough stuff. Yet its contoured lines and elongated taillights give the Volvo XC90 an elegance all its own, especially in the flowing rear.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All 2012 Volvo XC90 models come with a 3.2-liter 6-cylinder engine that runs on regular unleaded and is mated to a 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. Also standard are a passenger compartment reinforced with high-strength steel, a power moonroof, an integrated child booster cushion, a 160-watt stereo CD system with HD radio, power-adjustable front seats, and dual-zone climate control. R-Design models add xenon headlights, color-coordinated wheel arches and R-Design grille, rear skidplate, and interior badging. A navigation system is standard on Platinum editions of the 3.2 and R-Design models.

Optional Equipment

All-wheel drive can be had in all versions of the XC90, as can heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers and an interior air-quality system. Blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats, a dual-screen rear-entertainment system, walnut steering wheel, and a kayak cradle are further add-ons.

Under the Hood

The 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder is now the sole engine in the 2012 XC90 as Volvo has ceased offering the Yamaha-built V8 in the vehicle. Still, the 6-cylinder gives the XC90 more than adequate power and, though it isn't exceptionally fuel efficient, does not require premium gasoline.

3.2-liter inline-6
240 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (FWD), 16/22 mpg (AWD)

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2012 Volvo XC90 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.7
Out of 10

Based on 443 Ratings for the 2003 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.7/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Very safe, very reliable

By on Wednesday, June 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I like my Volvo XC90, 2010, very much. Handles extremely well, and accelerates when you need it. ONLY issues are the teeny-tiny LCD screen, and lack of installed GSP device. DC power sources oddly do not accept all devices (other than the main source on the dashboard). But great, solid car."

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

2013 Volvo XC90

By on Tuesday, June 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfort and space"

Cons: "Rough running 3.2 straight six"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"My wife and I love this SUV. Although we test drove the Lexus RX350 we choose the XC90 which was $10k less with more room. OH and Volvo's CPO is the best 7years/100k miles bumper to bumper no deductible. Some of the interior parts are plasticy and cheap but other that the build quality of the vehicle exudes toughness. It really drives and handles like a smaller vehicle. The seats are SO comfortable as are most Volvos. We traded in our 2012 XC70 T6 and miss the smooth more powerful engine. The 3.2 straight six is a little harsh running but has enough power to get you around."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Not all it's pumped up to be.

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Built like a tank. Solid structure, body."

Cons: "Electric issues."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"My wife loves this vehicle. She owned it when we got married. In the last year or so it's been going down hill fast. The headliner is falling. The cloth on the A post is coming loose. Now it has an electrical gremlin. It's been acting really strange lately. Lights on , lights off, dash dead, dash works, tail lights that won't turn off. It's going in the shop this week and hopefully it's something minor. I've all about getting it fixed as cheap as possible and getting rid of it. ASAP!! I've been reading a lot of stories about Volvos having electrical problems. Yes they are safe cars. Built like a tank, but everything else isn't up to par."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Surprizingly Uncomfortable Car

By on Friday, April 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "beautiful, muscular"

Cons: "awful front panel, no place to store purse"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I fully expected to love this car. It looks beautiful, handles, seemed to have all the whiz bang features. But... the features are unnecessarily complex and hard to use, particularly if you are the driver. It's virtually impossible to turn on the radio after you've gotten a phone call, the climate seems impossible to get comfortable, you have to have the instructions in hand to turn on a DVD for the kids, etc. As a woman, the part I hated most is THERES NO PLACE TO PUT A PURSE. Who design a car this century who doesn't expect women to drive. Very annoying. Oh, and the speedometer is hard to read, cruise control buttons not very responsive - you practically have to honk the horn to turn on the control."

10 people out of 15 found this review helpful

One of the best we've ever owned

By on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 117,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has been one of the best vehicles we have ever owned. I am extremely comfortable with my wife and sons taking it on a long trip knowing that they will find it extremely dependable and reliable, and in event of an accident extremely survivable."

12 people out of 18 found this review helpful

LUXURY RIDE

By on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun and extremely safe to drive,"

Cons: "TOOO expensive for a retired person..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"If money is no object this is the SUV for you. It is outstanding in looks, comfort, and features but fixing it is very costly. In the almost year I've had it, I've only put 2K miles on it, paid $13K and have lost $4K of that in trade-in value. I want something much less costly when it needs lubricated or fixed, So far, I have spent oodles of money for new tires, all head and turn signal lights have been replaced, all 5 engine coils have been replaced. This has been an expensive vehicle to keep running in my experience. It gets terrible mileage, so I am looking for something newer that gets considerably better mileage and is good to go for at least a year with NO NECESSARY REPAIRS,"

12 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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