By KBB.com Editors
After receiving a major update last year, the 2014 Volvo XC90 continues to stack up well against newer competitors such as the Infiniti QX60 and Audi Q7. The XC90 offers a number of innovative features, such as a 2nd-row integrated child booster cushion. It also provides seating for seven, although like many 7-passenger SUVs its 3rd-row seat is rather cramped and eats up most of the usable cargo space. However, if safety is your top priority, it's worth noting that the XC90 was awarded a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
If safety trumps fancy features and raw power, the 2014 Volvo XC90 is one of the safest and most tested 7-passenger crossover SUVs you can buy.
If you need space for people and cargo, the XC90's diminutive cargo space with the 3rd-row seat in place won't impress you. Those who prefer lots of power to tow or just move quickly won't be impressed, either.
After a major refresh last year, the 2014 Volvo XC90 sees only a few changes to options packages and styling. Most notable is a fold-flat front-passenger seat, standard on the R-Design and optional on the 3.2.
Driving Impressions We were pleasantly surprised by the 2014 Volvo XC90's strong on-road driving characteristics. Stability is impressive for such a tall vehicle, an attribute we chalk up to the partnership between...the XC90's sophisticated Roll Stability Control (RSC) and the vehicle's wide stance at the wheels. Given its eight inches of ground clearance, we expected more body roll in the curves, but the XC90 happily disagreed. It moves through turns with assuredness and delivers good feedback via the thick-rimmed steering wheel. A Haldex viscous-coupling all-wheel-drive (AWD) system splits the engine's torque between the front and rear axles. When not in use, the majority of the engine's power flows to the front wheels resulting in better fuel economy. When wheel slippage does occur, power is distributed to the wheels with the best traction. Once traction is regained, the system reverts back to its front-wheel-drive (FWD) mode.
CENTER BOOSTER CUSHION
The 2nd-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 2nd-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 3rd-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 2nd-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 2014 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.
Among the 2014 XC90's range of standard features is dual-zone automatic climate control with a 3rd-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 eight speakers, USB and auxiliary audio input ports for MP3/WMA players and HD Radio. The sporty R-Design adds a special grille and trim, sport front seats, the Nivomat self-leveling rear suspension and 19-inch wheels. Safety equipment includes anti-submarining seats to help prevent occupants from slipping out of their seatbelts during a collision.
The 2014 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. The XC90 3.2 is offered in base, Premier Plus or Platinum trims, while the R-Design comes in base and Platinum trim. The Premier Plus trim includes bi-xenon headlights, upgraded leather-trimmed seating surfaces and interior wood inlays (now standard on R-Design). Platinum trims include a navigation system, rearview camera and a 650-watt, 12-speaker premium audio system.
With a 2 ½-ton curb weight and the standard 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, the XC90 can feel slightly underpowered. Luckily, this 6-cylinder powerplant 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: 16/25 mpg (FWD), 16/23 mpg (AWD)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2014 Volvo XC90 3.2 starts just over $40,500. AWD adds about $2,000. 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 2014 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.
By Chuck on Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable ride & large back cargo area"
Cons: "Price, unreliable & costly upkeep"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Purchased new. Think it was built with used parts. Paid top $ & it doesn't even have a compass. First week light bulbs had to be replaced & then driver seat belt didn't work. Had to replace 3 of the original performance tires before the first yr was out. Warning lights come-on all the time. Each time have to take it in & Volvo just re-sets system. Have had to replace so many parts in the 5 yrs I've had it. I get it serviced & aligned regularly by Volvo dealership, so shouldn't be having all the problems I've had with it. Not a reliable car & very expensive once 60k warranty expires. Had to replace 2 hubs/bearings & it was over $1,200. Getting ready to trade car in before anything else goes wrong with it."
By Leelee on Thursday, March 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I can't say enough about this vehicle, no rust on a 10 year old car is amazing to me!! Made to last, performs great, AWD is great in Michigan weather! I would buy another Volvo XC90, but am disappointed that the 2014 interior looks just like my 2004! I would like to see some changes, so it feels like a new car inside and out!"
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Elleze on Saturday, February 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have owned this vehicle for about 4 years, purchased new. Owned another Volvo before that (also purchased new). My XC90 (AWD 3.2) was the most comfortable, right size, and had the needed 4WD and other amenities. Extremely good leather seats, not as good as previous Volvo but close. Good visibility, easy controls, comfortable controlled ride, luxury details without a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. Handles well on open rode and trips, no problems even in heavy winds with lots of semis around. No, it' not the fastest thing out of the gate but it moves just fine and safely through traffic and passing lanes and it rides very smooth and sound. Ok in snow, not great, but using caution no problems...far better than some SUVs I've drive in snow. Center control area could be better designed - however, looking at photos of the new to be future 2015 XC90, Volvo appears to be going in reverse instead of forward with their design ideas (i.e. good use of space )less cabin comforts and overuse of cold unfriendly looking high tech metals. I want a nice safe ride, luxury ad comfort - if I wanted a sport high tech vehicle I'd buy a sports car. They seem to have lost sight of the more basic European luxury wants and needs of their base clientele that may still be looking to buy these vehicles in the future. I don't particularly like the added sporty elements of the 2014 XC90 version but still considering the 2014 because compared to what is out there it still has the most of what I am looking for in the price range and it's been an excellent vehicle thus far. Everything interior/exterior has held up like new. It's a heavy vehicle, you will have to replace tires about 30K or more that is a given. Volvo doesn't make the tires (read tire reviews, most are bad). Gas mileage could be better - of course - but it's higher than posted here. I average 20-21 between city and highway, mostly around town driving which for this size is still not bad. The 3rd row seating is useless to me, never used, always down. This should be optional, and it would reduce the cost for those of us who do not need it too. I don't intend to purchase past 2014 (if I do ) the 2015 looks like an XC60 on slight steroids, is not particularly luxurious for this price range nor well thought out inside either. Volvos have slowly evolved to look like most vehicles out there, not distinctive and not good. Having driven an XC60 too can say it was also not their best effort with a very uncomfortable and useless cramped cabin/ interior and nothing special otherwise. I expect a future XC90's to be a disappointment to many longtime Volvo drivers. Unfortunately, the choices are getting smaller instead of larger for those looking for real European SUV's in this size and price range."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By SKT on Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,083overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Thank God I had an extended warrantee! Right at 90K the Balance Shaft Bearing blew. It took a month of fighting with the warrantee folks but they finally agreed to replace the engine with a rebuild aftermarket. Volvo said that a new engine would cost $16,500.00. Stay clear of this V8 from 2005 they were made wrong and Volvo decided not to do a re-call. The Balance Shaft Bearing does not get lubed from the engine oil. Aftermarket and engines made 6 months after the first release are fixed, but if you have one of the first models off the rack beware it’s a ticking time bomb!"
13 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By William on Monday, January 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safety, stability, handling, comfort, looks"
Cons: "Tire wear, repair part cost,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Test drove this vehicle against all popular SUV's prior to purchase in 2004. XC-90 was a true 7 passenger SUV with excellent handling and adequate power. The vehicle condition is 9/9 inside and out and looks fresh after 9 years. Since new have replaced tires 3x, brakes once, heater core, fuel pump, fuel distributor. The repair costs are comparable for the brand and class. The vehicle has provided excellent service with a level of comfort and safety not experienced with other vehicles. Recent 'check engine' light codes for very minor items are annoying but not serious which may be software issues as opposed to failing components. Would like to purchase a new XC-90 but plan to keep this vehicle for the next 3-5 years."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Dan on Friday, December 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"WE purchased the car new. After the warrantly expired the rear wheel bearing failed...$600. Volvo did not flinch. One year later the other bearing failed. This time with a lot of noise the split the cost with me. Shortly thereafter the transmission failed. I spent a lot to have them diagnose it and then they finally agreed to replace it after I found web material that a class action suit was pending. There are many more other items that add up to a piece of junk car mechanically."
17 people out of 23 found this review helpful