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Volvo XC90 SUV

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  • Continue with my 2 cents.
    I believe that it is not quite right to compare Volvo and Pilot, for instance. I do not think that you can justify Volvo based on economical or practical reasons. The last true practical car from Volvo was 240. Since then, Volvo was producing upscale, if not luxury cars.
    My reasons for the Volvo S80 were:
    1. Projecting status of successful professional (~35 - 40K)
    2. Style
    3. Glamor of the brand name
    4. Drive something different from every second one on a highway.
    Volvo S80 fitted to that mold perfectly, and now I also can add
    5. Interior room
    6. One of the best seats in the world
    7. Totally awesome stability and traction system
    8. Extreme sense of safety
    9. Near perfect cruiser (I drive about 3500 miles per month)
    10. Durability - now, after 4 years and 75K miles, every time when I give a ride to the new friend, I am asked - When did you by your new car? It feels like a brand new car, even leather still smells new.

    The reasons to by XC90 (for my wife, I would not trade my S80 for as long as it lives) are:
    1. My wife likes driving high, she was driving two consecutive Mazda MPV since 1996.
    2. Gorgeous exterior/style. We love Volvo
    3. Unique safety features - Roll prevention system (by the way, we were at El Toro base on Volvo XC90 intro event - the roll prevention demo ride is on a par with any ride at the Disney land, the technology is just amazing), smart AWD, all the airbags, etc.
    4. 6000+ lbs gross weight (can expense this car in one year)

    All the rest we can get in Pilot. But it would not be as "cool" as a new Volvo. And after all, we live in Los Angeles.
    We are honest, when we make our car choices. They are not about money or particular features. You can have much better deal with Pilot, and get most everything that we are getting with Volvo, except the Volvo.

    I do strongly believe that Volvo ownership today is a social status statement, and any comparisons to the "normal" Japanese brands are not quite justified.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    guy,

    You've convinced me that I have to not only take my tape measure, but also my wife & kids, along for another trip to the Volvo dealership. We are of similar family/body size and it obviously works for you. We would probably appreciate the extra width of the Pilot/MDX but I'm not stuck on that. The other vehicle we are considering is the GX470 which is also narrower than the Pilot/MDX.

    lev,

    I'll grant you that Volvo has some of the best seats in the world and if you are happy with the status boost it gives you, good for you.

    If I were looking at replacing my sedan with another FWD vehicle, I'd probably go for the Acura TL 6-speed. Reasonably sporty, great interior, excellent nav system, etc. I'd still give Volvo a nod on the seats, though. But if I really wanted a driver's car and luxury, I'd go for the 5-series. The new 545i 6-speed not only is significantly more powerful than last years model, it gets better fuel economy.

    The XC90 still catches my eye, but I have to convince myself it's not going to be a maintenance headache. Unfortunately, your good fortune aside, our social/professional network gives their Volvos mixed reviews on that front.
  • In our family Volvo S80 has won against the Acura TL in the areas of style (which is totally subjective) and glamor of the brand name.

    I would imagine that Acura (Honda) might require less maintenance for the first 3-5 years, but would it hold for 10+ years. I really doubt. The reliability is not equal to longevity. And Volvo is famous for the latter.

    XC90 on other side (once again, very subjectively) is considered as the best looking SUV in our family. BMW X5 will do, but it lacks 7 seat option and more expensive, having the same "prestige" rating for us.

    I had my fair share of problems with S80 - sub frame bushings, a few headlight bulbs, front door lock, something else, that I could not even remember. But the service at Calabasas Volvo made it all totally painless, and most of the problems were resolved in conjunction with the scheduled maintenance. So, the overall perception in our family that our Volvo is trouble less car.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    While you're at the dealer, measure the distance behind the 3rd row to the rear bumper. Volvo took extra care to develop an adequate crumple zone to protect the 3rd row seaters in case you are rear ended. You might want to download the XC90 brochure in PDF from their site. The largest one (44megs) contains a lot of videos showing how the 3rd row passengers are protected and also the how the XC90 survive a rollover. Very Impressive.

    Lev, agree with you 100%. We are now looking at the new S40 as a second car. T5, AWD, should be fun!

    Guy :)
  • bob_f33abob_f33a Posts: 1
    Although I know that the XC90 and Honda Pilot are in two different price categories, for me, my choice came down to those two. I was having trouble making up my mind, and I almost bought the Pilot because of the price difference until I persuaded my wife to ride in both. (She ordinarily doesn't like to get involved in choosing a car that would be primarily mine). But that was the clincher. The Pilot was so uncomfortable for her, we ruled it out in an instant. From the Honda dealer, we went straight to the Volvo dealer. She loved the XC90, and it made the decision easy for me. The point is that it is important to test drive all of the vehicles in the category one wants to buy and make your own choice. The XC90 may not be what many of the experts rate as #1, but it's what WE rate as #1.
  • I'll weigh in on my main reason for buying the XC90.
    Volvo history and longevity. I've seen numerous Volvos 15 years and older on the road. My neighbor down the street has a Volvo wagon that is a mid-late 80's model that was purchased new and is still in great shape. I usually keep cars for a long time. I had a `96 Mercury Sable that I planned on keeping for 8 to 10 years, but got rid of it just short of 8 years because of reliability issues.
    I plan to keep our XC90 for at least 10 years. I'm comfortable that this vehicle will more than hold up for 10 years or even 15.

    I agree with lev_berkovich comments in post #2845 regarding the XC90 introduction into the U.S. market and the comaprison to japanese makes.

    All one has to do is go to http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ and look at the number of consumer complaints logged for the Lexus RX300 , Acura MDX and others. Compare the first year or so of production to the 3rd year or later. The number of compaints went down with each new model year.
  • There is no comparison value wise...pilot is bigger and certainly will be more reliable based on history of honda and volvo. It seats one more. Volvo certainly has class and sophistication if you need/want the image.

    for me, it was the air curtains in the back for my kids and the other safety features. Couldn't justify saving 20 thousand dollars for a more practical car at the expense of my kids......

    hmmmm....
  • chuckmdchuckmd Posts: 2
    I did numerous side by side test drives between xc90 and MDX, and agonized over my choice. Certainly,poor ratings from JD Power, and Consumer Report almost swayed me over to MDX. While not perfect, XC90 offers some important advantages over MDX
    1) Much more sporty driving flavor like an European sports sedan. When turbo kicks in, you can really feel it taking off. T5's 238hp of torque is not much affected by Colorado's high altitude while MDX loses about 10 to 20%. In fact XC 90 felt much faster 0 to 40 mph than MDX in Denver. Only problem with XC 90 is that turbo engine is not for a relaxed driver since it is little difficult to modulate, and does not give you a linear acceleration like my V8 Land Crusier.It also handles better than MDX which drives too much like my brother's Honda minivan.
    2) XC90 is the only SUV I feel comfortable putting my children in 3rd row. There is a lot more crumble space than any mid sized SUV. In fact xc90 has more crumble space than my Land Cruiser. This translates into less leg room than MDX. But my young kids so far do not need that much leg room yet.
    3) Interior is much nicer. Very clean Scandanivian look with high quality materials.
    4) Roll over protection system and Boron Roof. I almost flipped Land Cruiser in freeway trying to avoid an accident last month. Emergency maneuver in Xc90 is very good (as also noted by Consumer Report)

    So far we are very pleased with the decision with Xc90,no problem so far. My wife still prefers our V8 engine of Land Cruiser since she likes soft and smooth pleasurable ride. But if you want any sporting flavor with 7 passenger SUV with the best safety features,then Xc90 may be the logical choice.
  • gardencargardencar Posts: 293
    I understand you love Volvo. I am a former Volvo owner myself, used to have a 1986 GLE loaded to the hilt, back in the day when Volvo used to build them like tanks. Loved the car, even though it leaked fluids every day for the last two years I owned it, and until a shot steering rack and leaky tranny persuaded me to unload it in '92. I believe this is one of the cars Lev, you would classify as one of the "last true practical cars." I think I know what you mean and I might even agree, but there are many things you wrote that I just cannot agree with. Are you saying that after the 240, Volvo makes no more "true" practical cars? Is this meant as a reason to buy Volvo or not to buy Volvo if you want a practical car?

    What's with the comment that there are "almost no" fifteen year old Lexuses around, while 90% of fifteen year old Volvos are still running???? Where are you getting this information? On what are you basing this very outrageous statement? Fifteen years ago, Lexus had been turning out cars for only one year, while Volvo had been around for dozens! Of course, there will be many more older Volvos to be seen. But you are wrong here, there are many older Lexuses to be seen. I just sold mine, a 1992 LS400 that had 154,000 miles and as quiet and smooth as the day I bought it. I see plenty of them around. My neighbor has one as well, as does a friend who has a 1990 model. They all look great, with glossy paint and nice interiors. The LS400 engines and transmissions are bullet proof. As my tech, who's been in business for over fifteen years, has never had to rebuild a single one. To tell you the truth, most older Volvos I have seen do not look half as nice as the old Lexuses.

    As for your comment that Acuras and Hondas do not hold up for ten years or more, you are wrong again. Look at your newspaper auto classifieds and count the number of Hondas and Acuras over ten years old. Quite a few more than Volvo's, even though Volvo's been around so long.

    You also said it is "not quite right to compare the Volvo with the Pilot" when it is obvious that the Pilot has the advantage (as in third seat width and leg room). Yet, on the same post, you ignore your own advice and end up comparing them by saying that the Pilot is not as "cool" as the Volvo. And this is because, "After all, we live in Los Angeles??????" What is that supposed to mean? You end your post by saying that "the Pilot is a much better deal...you get most everything that you get in the Volvo, except the Volvo." You are actually making a better argument for the Pilot here.

    You also say the Volvo is "a social status statement". You are right if you mean style. Since the S80, S60, and S40 came out, Volvo is definitely no longer boxy and boring. They are beautiful, especially the XC90. However, if you mean success, glamour,or prestige, Volvo falls below Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, and Range Rover, to name some obvious marques. Volvo still has some space to go before it reaches the prestige levels of these makes.

    There are some other comments you made that just confound and amaze, such as saying that the reason Japanese cars are more reliable is because they test their cars in the Japanese market for two or three years first. Unlike Volvo, who tests their new models out on us Americans first. Again, sounds like a good reason to trust the Japanese brands to me! This other statement you made just takes the cake, "Reliability is not equal to longevity." Then what is? What school of logic were you using when you made this statement? Reliability has everything to do with longevity. Following the logic of your statement, a person could then say that health does not factor into enjoying a long life! Not logical at all.

    I can understand that you love Volvo and since you have had good experiences, would like to post them. However, if you are going to defend Volvo, don't do it by putting down other makes and fabricating outrageous statements and statistics that are totally unfounded! Also, you are shooting yourself in the foot, if you make outrageous conjectures and careless statements, in the hope of convincing some one who is undecided between buying Volvo or some other make.
  • Hey Gardencar, give Lev a break.
    You are harsher on him than he is on Hondas and Lexuses. The guy was just expressing his subjective opinion. Did he really make you feel so insecure about your Japanese cars?
  • uvahoouvahoo Posts: 4
    I have had my 2003 XC90 for exactly one year and now have about 17,000 miles on it. I read this discussion section about every two weeks and have noticed that a lot of criticism about the vehicle has come up.

    When I bought my XC90, I knew that it was a 'first run' meaning that it would probably have problems. I would just like to say that my dealer has been quite attentive to the problems encountered. On each occasion they have given me a 'loaner' so that I could leave the car there.

    I can only say that the car has exceeded my expectations with regard to comfort and styling. The engine (2.5T) gives me no problems and the tranny has been, at times, a little fussy. (Now fixed with software upgrades)

    So, for all you picky people out there, if you don't like your XC90 you can trade it on something that you think is better. I'm sure the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
  • gardencargardencar Posts: 293
    Perhaps I was a mite harsh. You may have a point there. But I am not defending "my" Japanese cars. I own a Ford at the moment as well as Lexus vehicles, and other European makes in the past.

    I simply wish to point out that an opinion is an opinion, and as you stated, subjective. You shouldn't be faulted for that. However, it is my opinion, that if statements are made in this forum and put down as the truth, the poster should have his facts straight because that is the responsible thing to do.
  • I do not want to defend myself, but can not just ignore this post.
    Number one - this is all about cars, so let's not get personal.
    Two, if you ever study formal logic, then you would know that the counterpoint to the statement "Reliability is not equal to longevity." would be "Reliability is always equal to longevity", which is not true by all means. People do design and manufacture very reliable disposable items. Reliability means that an item will very likely function in some prescribed manner, but it does not describe the projected life expectancy of the same item. Look it up in the dictionary....

    Main Entry: re·li·abil·i·ty
    Pronunciation: ri-"lI-&-'bi-l&-tE
    Function: noun
    1 : the quality or state of being reliable
    2 : the extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same results on repeated trials

    There is no reference to longevity here...
    Being engineer I know for fact that vital components of modern cars are design with some life expectancy in mind, so as all the industrial components, and more expensive components have longer life expectancy than the less expensive ones.
    And we all know so..o many healthy and wealthy people who are totally miserable and unhappy in their lifes. Once again, please read some text books on formal logic, points and counterpoints, before you accuse somebody of been illogical.

    Now, back to my point:

    The point is that in my opinion people buy Volvo by totally different reasons from Toyota or Honda.
    I am a big fan of Japanese cars, I have bought (or convinced to buy) a good dosen of Nissans for my family and friends, I was one very happy camper with 1997 F150, when I had to have a truck for my business, but when I could afford it - I bought a Volvo S80.
    Volvo and Lexus are made with the different phylosophy in mind, that's all. I love Lexus, and if and when I could afford to drive 55K+ car, I will buy LS430, but in 35K+ price range I found Volvo S80 to be a better fit to my needs (see post #2849)

    Also, If I would be looking for the practical solution today, I would look into Pilot or minivan for this matter. However, I am buying an expensive adult toy, and XC90 fits that bill better.
    I am, probably, just a bit more honest than some other people who try to rationalize their very just desire to buy an expencive toy, if they can afford it.

    Reference to Los Angeles - very obvious - many people buy cars here just because they are cool. Just look, how many H2 are in our "urban jungles".

    And one last comment - what facts are wrong, as I did not state any, it was strictly an opinion.

    My appologies to all other readers for unintentionally including them into personal argument, I am going to stop here.
  • I truly believe that Volvo, as it is now, have it's own very much deserved place under the sun, and would like to ask all the happy (or at least reasonable) Volvo owners to share their experiences here with others, so this board will not look like a Volvo - basher, and will give a balanced perspective to the potential buyers. I do not work for Volvo!!! I just drive it.
  • guyfrguyfr Posts: 55
    There was an article in the Globe and Mail today about the most satisfying vehicles in different categories.

    "To generate that list, Consumer Reports received 226,000 responses from Americans to the question: Would you buy that car again?"

    CAR-BASED SUVs

    Lexus RX330

    Honda Element

    Nissan Murano

    Honda Pilot

    Volvo XC90

    Toyota Highlander

    Acura MDX

    Infiniti FX

    Subaru Forester

    As I said before, these are all great vehicules. Final decision is a matter of budget and personal choice.

    To each is own!

    Guy :)
  • Here's the complete list of the top ten SUVs on MSN Autos for 2003:

    Hummer H1
    Volvo XC90
    Hummer H2
    Honda Pilot
    Honda Element
    Nissan Murano
    Ford Explorer
    Toyota RAV4
    Toyota 4Runner
    Acura MDX

    To guyfr

    I like your sequence - budget and personal choice.

    I started a thread by opposing a comparison of 32K SUV to 45K SUV.

    If I set my mind on 45K SUV, it really does not matter that the 32K one has couple of extra leg room inches. The second has already failed in some other categories. And vise versa, if I can not afford 45K, an extra airbag will hardly convince me to come up with that extra cash.

    Anyway, this is a perfect topic on which we can always safely agree to disagree.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Well, just for the fun of it, I tested your opinion regarding Volvo's longevity on two independent mechanics that we use and have both been in business in the DC area for many years where Volvo's are quite popular.

    Question asked: Which makes of vehicles would you give the highest likelihood of lasting 10-15 years and 150,000 - 200,000 miles without completely busting the bank in the process? Give extra points if it will look good, too.

    Mechanic #1: Lexus, Acura/Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes, Nissan (w/V6).

    Mechanic #2: Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Mercedes, Infiniti.

    Neither mentioned Volvo. When I then asked how you would rate Volvo, the responses were:

    Mechanic #1: "Rate 'pretty good', on par with Saab, Audi and VW, but a step or two down from the top tier".

    Mechanic #2: "Old Volvo's were slow tanks that lasted a long time, but deteriorated cosmetically as they aged. Newer Volvos look and perform a lot better, but don't seem to have the 'longevity' (his words, not mine)..the turbos are particularly prone to burn out well before 150k-200k miles."

    This is hardly a scientific study, but I would point out that both of these mechanics work on high end imports all the time and I value their honesty and integrity.

    Just for what it's worth. I still think the Volvo is in the running for me - it's well positioned between the "practical" Pilot and luxurious GX470. And I like the way it handles. Nav system is the pits compared to the MDX or GX, but that's not a deal killer.
  • yakura_cyakura_c Posts: 1
    Read the forums for 2 months and test drove everything ...
    Of the 3 cars ..
    RX330, MDX, XC90 ..I concluded that the XC90 gave my enough style, utility, and safety for my liking.

    As a male ..I though it was the more masculine of the 3. I think the MDX style is getting a little dated. With the X-plan discountm it edge the Lexus .. I have 500 miles on it ...and loving it ..

    As a mid 20's guy ...with a new family ..my experience is with Honda Civic ..

    Specs:
    2.5T AWD
    Versatility,Climate,Premium, DP2,Wood Steering ..

    Has anyone order the Load Liner?
  • I can appreciate their opinion - all the described cars (with exception of BMW and Honda, maybe) are rated high on longevity by the mechanics I know.
    However, I have based my decision and my posting on this board on opinions of two friend of mine - one - the imported (European) used cars dealer, second - owner of the auto repair shop, dealing with the upscale imported cars, both in LA area.

    Both of them drive only Volvos for as long as I know them (from 5 to 14 years)and highly recommended Volvo to me.

    They both believe that older rear drive non-turbo cars had better longevity, but still believe that the newer cars will not have any problems of running for a quarter million miles. However, based on there opinion I have bought 2.9 non-turbo version of S80, just in case.

    And as I said in my previous posts, I have no doubts that my S80 will last for 250K mile. It's 4 years old, 75K on odometer, show room shiny outside, have a smell of a new car inside, so I really could not see how it can drastically deteriorate in 4-5 years.

    I am an immigrant, and have a lot of immigrant friends buying used cars. Somehow, maybe we are all just unlucky - I do not know anybody who has bought 5-7 years old Toyota or Honda, that would not show it's age, both mechanically and aesthetically. European brands, especially Mercedes and Volvo are rated much higher in that circle, mainly because they look less "junky" after 10 years.

    Please do not consider it as an argument. I do not have the statistics of what percent of cars (by brand)is still in service after 10 years. I would be really interested to see such numbers. Maybe somebody has come across such statistics,

    Let me know.
  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446
    I understood Lev's post perfectly (even his comment about L.A.)

    maybe Garden just had a bug up his butt when he read Lev's post. And I say that in good humor, Garden, as I have OFTEN read these boards with a bug up MY butt, and end up sounding as if I have not taken my meds. (no offense to those of us who ARE on meds, and who have forgotten to take them)

    :-)

    We all have different needs. I appreciate Lev's willingness to admit that some of his needs are "irrational" - i.e., can't really be 'measured sicentifically" - "I live in LA" - image being "more important" in LA (though I'm not sure that is true now, or whether it was ever true - people care about image in lots of places now). Buying a Volvo conveys a different "image" than a Honda Pilot. That's just how things are. I don't like it, but it's the way of the world.

    Garden: I hope you don't take offense to my post, as no offense is intended, whatsoever.
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