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2009 Volvo XC90

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


2009 Volvo XC90

XC90 returns unchanged.

Photo © Volvo

The Bottom Line

Essentially unchanged since its cosmetic makeover in 2007, the Volvo XC90 has been Volvo’s best-seller for several years running. The largest crossover in the Volvo lineup, the XC90 is built on the same platform as the S80 sedan. XC90 is available with a 3.2 liter inline six-cylinder engine, or a 4.4 liter V8, both connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. XC90 competes with: BMW X5; Lexus RX350; Honda Pilot; Toyota Highlander; Volkswagen Touareg; Audi Q7; Saturn Vue; Mazda CX-9.
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  • Safety.
  • Comfort.
  • Gorgeous instrument panel.


  • Insufficient power from the inline six-cylinder engine.
  • Lumbering cornering.
  • A little long in the tooth.


  • Base prices from $37,000 to $50,800
  • Engine: 3.2 liter inline six/4.4 liter V8
  • Horsepower: 235 @ 6,200 rpm (I6)/311 @ 5,850 (V8)
  • Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm (I6)/325@3,900 (V8)
  • Curb Weight: 4,464 I6; 4,826 V8
  • Fuel Economy: 14/20 I6; 13/19 V8
  • Wheelbase: 112.6" Vehicle Length: 189.3" Width: 74.7" Height: 70.2"
  • Warranty: 4-year/50,000 miles
  • Cargo: 85.1 cubic feet Luggage: 43.3 cubic feet
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic Front Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive

Guide Review - 2009 Volvo XC90

About.com expert Philip Powell reviewed the 2007 Volvo XC90 when the refreshed design was released. He awarded the crossover three and a half stars at that time, concluding that "Everything a family might wish for is there, from safety to comfort to convenience, plus the added advantage of all-wheel-drive. It's a pleasant vehicle to drive, too, with just a hint of sportiness coming from under the hood."

I was somewhat less enamored of the XC90’s 3.2 liter inline six-cylinder engine, which produces 235 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. With the XC90’s 4,464 lb curb weight hovering over a 112.6" wheelbase, XC90 surprised me with languid acceleration. There’s a 4.4 liter V8 available that will crank out 311 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Considering that the six-cylinder version is rated at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and the V8 estimates are 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway, the EPA knock of 1 mpg seems like a reasonable price to pay for the improved performance. Moving in a straight line, XC90 delivers a comfortable, controlled ride. This safe crossover responds best to sedate inputs and sane driving. All-wheel drive is a $1,850 option, and worth the investment, even in a temperate climate.

My test vehicle wore the "R-Design" package of options ($4,150), which included 19" alloy wheels, premium leather upholstery, R-Design steering wheel and gear-shift knob. It also included the most beautiful instrument panel I’ve ever seen on a production vehicle.

Volvo takes safety seriously, and you can feel that concern in build quality and the over solidity of construction.

Pricing is in line with the luxury competition. My hunger for performance would lead me toward the Infiniti FX, the Subaru Tribeca or the Acura MDX. Your concern for your family might lead you back to the XC90.

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