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2012 Volvo XC90

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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 447 Ratings for the 2003 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.7/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    7.9/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Reliable 2004 XC90 With Low Mileage

By on Tuesday, December 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive; low mileage for a 2004 model"

Cons: "CD player doesn't work, minor wear"

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

"2004 XC 90 with turbo in excellent condition. New transmission, new brakes, new timing belt, almost new tires. Drives well and has a clean history. Service documents available. CD player does not work. Engine has A LOT of miles left. Great car with Volvo's reputation for safety. It feels like you're driving a tank."

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Really liked it at first. Now, not so much

By on Tuesday, November 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Engine good, AC good, no problem with tranny/turbo"

Cons: "High cost to maintain, low trade in value."

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

"Purchased this car brand new. We're in our late 60's and drive softly. We've owned it for 10 years. While it was under warranty, it hardly ever needed anything except regular maintenance. Then, the warranty ran out. Since then, it has cost us over $8,000 in repairs. Shame on us for taking it to the dealership for the repairs . . . they're very expensive and they condemn everything that is wearing; even though the particular parts still meet specs. (ie, brakes). All that is fine. I learned how to replace the front struts and brake parts myself. But I authorized the dealership to replace the motor mounts which went out about 6 months after the warranty. Oooh, that was over $1,000! The good part has been the AC system. It has never faltered. And the engine and tranny have never given a problem. But the kicker was at the end. The car cost almost $50,000 when new. 10 years later, almost zero at $4,000; even though it's virtually immaculate, has brand new tires, brand new struts, brand new battery, new brakes, etc. etc. etc. I look at other brands and see that a similar car would have almost double the value. So this is our last Volvo."

20 people out of 25 found this review helpful

Loved the look of this Car!!! but not dependable!

By on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 138,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
10/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "great look"

Cons: "no dependable"

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

"I got it used and within a week had to replace the transmission, then a coil pack went bad so I had to replace that & ended up doing a full tune up! then a week later had to replace the entire transmission again!! It has been a money pit!! The only thin it has going for it is the look! It fits my 5 kids very comfortably when its running!!!"

11 people out of 16 found this review helpful

One of the best vehicles I have ever owned.

By on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,975

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Love the way it drives and keep the road."

Cons: "cup holders in front could be positioned different"

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

"The only complaint I have about my XC90 is that the brake pedal and gas pedal are a little too close together. Sometimes when I have my foot on the brake at a stop light/sign I am also depressing the gas pedal at the same time."

18 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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."

29 people out of 53 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."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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