By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 5/14/2012
Receiving its most significant update in nearly a decade, the 2013 Volvo XC90 adds a long overdue touch of refinement and style to its palette. This critical refresh arrived just in time, as spring 2012 will mark the debut of Infiniti's all-new 7-passenger JX. With seating for seven, a generous offering of standard equipment and a full complement of safety features, the XC90 is a great fit for parents who consider safety and versatility as top priorities in their next SUV purchase.You'll Like This Car If...
If you are looking for a 7-passenger luxury SUV for your family and nothing less than best-in-class safety will suffice, the Volvo XC90 will appease your protective nature.You May Not Like This Car If... What's New for 2013
The Volvo XC90 receives a host of styling enhancements for 2013. Chrome and silver accents, along with color-keyed fender lips, adorn the exterior while a new 3-spoke steering wheel, white backlit instrument cluster and upgraded leather-seating materials round out the key interior changes.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2013 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 for peak fuel efficiency. Once those wheels begin to slip, however, the system routes power to the rear wheels until traction at the front has been regained.Favorite Features
Center Booster Cushion
The second-row middle seat features an integrated booster cushion that provides proper seatbelt and head restraint protection for smaller children. If the booster seat is no longer necessary, simply fold and stow the cushion for a conventional second-row seating configuration.
Nivomat Self-leveling Rear Suspension
To help mitigate rear suspension squat and instability due to heavy loads, the XC90 R-Design utilizes self-leveling rear shock absorbers. The result is improved aerodynamics, consistent tire wear, a proper headlight angle and increased vehicle control.
The Volvo XC90's interior layout strays from the typical form-over-function designs of its competitors. While it can be outfitted with warm wood and sumptuous leather, XC90 designers focused primarily on clever ergonomics and distinguishable controls. Supportive side bolstering, plush padding and creamy leather trim make for some of the most comfortable front seats in its class. Although the third-row seat is best suited for children, it does feature a versatile 50/50-split fold-flat design for various seating and cargo configurations. The second-row seat is fairly roomy and includes a sliding middle seat so parents can position a child closer to the front seats.Exterior
Noticeably less elegant than many of its competitors, the 2013 XC90 portrays a more reserved, traditional SUV design. Despite its tall stature, the XC90 offers easier ingress and egress than most 7-passenger SUVs. The XC90 shuns the massive wheel-and-tire combinations found on today's popular luxury SUVs for the increased ride comfort and lower replacement cost of an 18-inch setup. Two cameras mounted underneath the outside mirrors provide blind spot assistance while a reinforced roof design offers an added level of protection in the event of a rollover accident.Notable Standard Equipment
Among the 2013 XC90's range of standard features is dual-zone automatic climate control with a third-row control panel, power front seats, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, rear sonar proximity sensors for parking assistance, leather seating surfaces, power moonroof, front and rear fog lights, illuminated remote keyless entry and dual heated power mirrors. The standard sound system features 8 speakers, USB and auxiliary audio input ports for MP3/WMA players and HD Radio. The sporty Volvo XC90 R-Design adds a special grille and trim, sport front seats, the Nivomat self-leveling rear suspension and 19-inch wheels. Safety equipment includes a full complement of airbags and anti-submarining seats to help prevent occupants from slipping out of their seatbelts during a collision.Notable Optional Equipment
The 2013 Volvo XC90 offers all-wheel drive for both the 3.2 and R-Design models. For a more simplified ordering process, the majority of available features for the XC90 are now grouped together within trims. XC90 3.2 and R-Design models are offered in base, Premier Plus or Platinum trims. The Premier Plus trim includes bi-xenon headlights, upgraded leather-trimmed seating surfaces and interior wood inlays. Platinum trims include a navigation system, rear backup camera and a 650-watt, 12-speaker premium audio system.Under the Hood
With a 2 ½-ton curb weight and the standard 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter in-line 6-cylinder engine, the XC90 can feel slightly underpowered. Luckily, this 6-cylinder power plant does not require premium gasoline, which makes it a bit easier to top off the tank without breaking the bank. Additionally, both the 3.2 and R-Design models offer a 6-speed automatic transmission with a sequential shift mode as standard fare.
240 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2013 Volvo XC90 3.2 starts just over $40,000. A loaded R-Design Platinum AWD model can approach $50,000. While similarly-equipped models from Volkswagen, Cadillac and Infiniti fall within the same price range as the 2013 Volvo XC90, the Buick Enclave offers more interior room and a lower price. Although a popular vehicle, there is still room for negotiation on the bottom line, so be sure to check kbb.com's Fair Purchase Price for what consumers are actually paying for their XC90s in your market area. The XC90 retains marginal resale value, well below the BMW X5, Acura MDX, Volkswagen Touareg and Cadillac SRX, but on par with the Buick Enclave.