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Volvo XC90 SUV



  • Thanks, Guy and bigeddy.
    I would never discount the importance of appropriate tires, and yes, DSTC does not create a traction it's just makes the best of it.
    My comments were meant to compensate for the overstatement that the new stability systems are good for nothing. I am looking for the practical advices on this board and want to know all the aspects of the issue. And one of the issues that I would like to understand is - Should I budget for the winter tires?
    With your messages I and I think many others have finally gotten the more balanced view. Now I have my answer - more likely - not, the conditions that I am going drive under do not warrant such extra expense.

    Personally, ever since I've got my S80 with DSTC four years ago (FWD with All season Michelin), I've stopped using chains going to the Mammoth Lake ski resort. The take off from standstill is great (that is the area where proper torque management is crucial), the turning is manageable, the braking is marginal (at some point your wheels stop rotating, while you still have some momentum, and DSTC can only "operate" with the rotating wheels), so I slow down a bit. I would imagine that AWD XC90 is going to be even better. I will testify to that later this year when I pick mine up in Gothenburg in June.

    I had about 15 years of "real" winter driving back in USSR, but back then I had a simplistic RWD, then simple FWD (which was a great improvement). And since that time I keep a conviction that FWD is safer in most driving conditions than RWD.
    Last 14 years - very dry Los Angeles with occasional (from 2 to 5,6 a year) trips to Mammoth.
  • bigeddybigeddy Posts: 181
    > I will testify to that later this year when I pick mine up in Gothenburg in June.
    Nice! Have a great time.

    > Last 14 years - very dry Los Angeles with occasional (from 2 to 5,6 a year) trips to Mammoth.
    Driven there many times in all kinds of weather. Carry chains & a shovel in the winter.
  • quaddiesquaddies Posts: 7
    I apologize to Lev. I didn't mean to denigrate the technology of allwheel drive. In fact I think it is impressive. But I must defer to Guy, a fellow Quebecker no less for his ample defence of my initial point, especially if he hails from Labrador. (Ignore that flag, I got temporarily dragged to Michigan.) Labrador ain't the suburbs of Washington. It's cold and it snows. A lot like the USSR. (Typing the old name gives me shivers). But like you say Lev front wheel drive is a great improvement over rear wheel drive, and front wheel drive plus an excellent set of winter tires will get you fom point A to point B in bad snow conditions just as "safely" as All wheel drive. I did not say faster. Nor did I say it will get you up a black diamond ski hill.

    The all wheel drive system of course was invented by Audi in the early 1980's in the heyday of Group B rally racing. Prior to that everything in Group B was rear wheel drive and no more that 200 HP, because anything more was wasted as the rear tires started to spin. Audi developed the allwheel drive technology and all of a sudden racing teams could take adavantage of massive increases in amounts of torque and horsepower because the technology could deliver the power to the wheel with the greatest traction at a given point in time. In the end they were getting close to something like 500 HP in a Peugot 205. Yikes. People started to crash and die. End of Group B rally racing.

    Two points from this. The advantage of all wheel drive allows for taking advantage of greater power delivered to the wheels without have them spin out. But with all this new speed drivers could not stop the car any better than before. Thus people started to die in spectacular crashes. For highend car makers it has been a good selling point. And it is is fascinating technology. But more important than tires, I humbly disagree.

    Back to where this all started. Someone stated that they were considering ditching a XC90 in the DC area for a Lexus 470 because of bad handling in a snow storm. I believe you will agree with me Lev, that swapping for Toyota's or Lexus' all wheel drive system will make little or no difference. Oh yes and good luck in Goteborg. I was there two years ago. Very pretty place.

  • Hey : ) My Odyssy has leather and DVD screen! Can't let the kids grow up ridding on cloth! I like the Volvo or I would be reading up on it!
  • No apologies is needed. It's getting really interesting now.
    I might be wrong, but I think that the modern all wheel drive systems, like one in XC90 is a bit more than just to have the four points of contact instead of two (One big disclaimer right here - I do agree that winter tires are better for the snow driving than all season ones).
    What I have learned is that this system constantly monitors the wheels and transfers power to the wheel with the best traction, both - front-rear and left-right. I could see how such system can drastically improve handling under the winter conditions, and even more in conjunction with DSTC that will lightly brake or reduce torque to the spinning wheels.

    Somehow I still believe, that if you will compare a middle of the road FWD (Honda Accord, let say) without STC and the AWD XC90 with DSTC riding on the same tires, the XC90 will perform better.

    I would be really disappointed (wink-wink) if not. Otherwise, why do we all pay a big buck for all that technology, and why automakers "waste" billions of dollars for the ongoing development?
  • Thanks, I will try my best.

    And I carry chains too, but made a promise (probably a stupid one) avoid them as much as possible. Thanks to the Volvo, I keep this promise for four years.

    I have driven FWD (Nissan Stanza, Nissan Altima) and RWD (Mazda MPV) up to the mountains (Mammoth and Big Bear) and always had to put chains on, as the drive would be totally uncontrollable.
    I would be honest, when I drove a Volvo S80 up there for the first time, hit the icy stretch of the road, ready for the problems, and nothing happened, but a subtle jolt of the steering wheel, and periodical blinks of the DSTC light on a dash board, I was amazed beyond believe. Since then I am a strong believer into the modern technology.

    But that just my 2 cents.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    Enjoy your delivery in Gotenborg! I tried to arrange the same thing but the dealer discourage me by saying there was a 6 months waiting time...

    Anyway, as quaddies said it is a nice city with good restaurants so enjoy!

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I confess that I am humored a little by the claims that a Volvo purchase connotes something other than a practical car purchase. In my neighborhood/circles, a Volvo would be considered a very practical alternative and generate respect for prudence. Clearly, if Vovlo has any "snob appeal" as a premium brand, it varies tremendously be geographic area and the local socio-economics.

    The XC90 is the "cheapest" SUV on my shopping list, on an after tax basis. The Honda Pilot is next, since I can't fuly depreciate it for business in one year (under 6,000 lb GVW). Next is the Lexus GX470 (over 6,000 lb) and last - i.e. most expensive after tax - is the Acura MDX.

    The idea of spending more - after tax - for a Pilot over a XC90 may sound like I am discrediting the attributes of the XC90. I am not, there are many things I like about it. However, I am still troubled by the far greater number of reported problems, and my concerns about long term reliability and maintenance issues. I have been spoiled by not having to spend much time taking cars in for service. I've also noticed in our area that 3-4+ year old Volvos have depreciated far more than their Acura (or BMW & Mercedes) counterparts. They are neck and neck with Infiniti on the worst resale of the "premium" brands.

    My holdup on the GX470, believe it or not, is that it projects more of a "snob image" than I would prefer. But in my neck of the woods, that's no issue for Volvo. So if anyone can point me to OBJECTIVE information sources that rate the Volvo as a solid long term dependable vehicle, that's the direction I'm inclined to go.
  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446
    why wouldn't you avoid the GX470 just based on how UGLY it is?

  • I was always wandering why the new 4runner is better looking than GX470?

    But I think we are getting off subject...
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ..must be in the eye of the beholder. I think the GX470 is better looking than the MDX. I even think the Pilot looks a little less mini-vanish than the MDX. But I'd rate the MDX and Lexus interiors slightly ahead of Volvo's (with the exception of the Volvo seats, which are second only to BMW's 5-series sport seats in my opinion).

    Back to the XC90, I really am looking for more objective information on it's reliability. In a 2003 Consumer Reports article, the top four brands in terms of fewest problems were Acura, Toyota, Lexus and Honda in that order. Volvo ranked tied for 26 out of 30, behind such steller brands as Chevy (24), Jeep(23), Pontiac (22), Oldsmobile (21), Dodge (19), Plymouth (18), Hyundai (12) and Buick (11). And it's not an anti-Swede thing, Saab rated a very respectable 7th, ahead of BMW (13) and Nissan (8).

    I don't put 100% confidence in Consumer Reports (or any other single source, for that matter), but it's pretty hard for me to overlook Volvo's ratings so far down the list. Our friends who have Volvo's like them in spite of problems, but are generally quick to admit they have had their fair share over the years. Perhaps I want my cake and to eat it too - a $40k+ vehicle that looks like a beauty, but doesn't behave like a beast when it comes to long term reliability.

    So, what say you XC90 owners? How did you get past the Consumer Reports, JD POwers and other poor ratings of Volvo?
  • Oh well,
    Here we go again.

    Let's get back to my previous statement:
    Reliability does not equate to the longevity, and vice versa.

    I do not expect, just plainly do not, the same level of reliability from Volvo as from Toyota, Honda or Nissan. Different philosophy, different approach to the technological advances, different "trial and error" base, etc.,etc.

    But I do expect that Volvo has good workmanship, uses durable materials and major parts with the long life expectancy. And so far, nobody could challenge that.

    I have mentioned before that as far as I could see, there are much more old Volvos on the streets as old Lexus.
    I I've got a lot of bashing for that, but nevertheless, I've conducted a small non-scientific research last month. Everywhere I go, I was counting the old Lexus LS400 (1989 - 1992 model, the slimmest one)) and old Volvos (240 and 740 only to be sure about their age).

    The ratio is more than 100 to 1 in favor of Volvo in West San Fernando Valley and metro LA areas. And this is consider that Lexus sold over 60K cars just during the first year (what is that - 3, 5 times more than Volvo? I do not have statistics in front of me, but I do not think I far from the mark).
    I am challenging my opponents to do the same and I promise to be very open-minded to their results.

    So, longevity is number 1,
    Than goes - safety, style, versatility.
    Price too (my wife is a small business owner and you know the rest), etc., etc.,

    And a status statement.
    I know, I am going to humor you, but in my world of highly (decently) paid professionals - 45K car is a statement.

    To be continued...
  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446
    I agree that my buying a Volvo is a statement

    it's not as big a statement as buying a Mercedes, but it is more of a statement than buying a Chrysler (even a Daimler-Chrysler)

    the Volvo label does have "some" panash (sic?)

    I am just hoping that the reliability is average.

    I am concerned about reliability, but I felt that on allother issues the XC90 beat its competition. The decision would have been far more difficult if I only needed seating for 4 or 5, but if you want seating for 7 the analysis is pretty simple. And the "grin" factor of driving the XC90 compared to the MDX, well....I just didn't smile when driving the MDX. I enjoyed the drive of the XC90 more. But that's a matter of taste. The MDX is a fine vehicle.

    I also wanted something that looked good, and I didn't feel that the MDX looked good. Felt the same abiout the Highlander (they have 7 seats now?).
  • I decided on the XC90 by ignoring Consumer Reports. I based my research on Volvo company track record and took into account the XC90 was a new release.
    I have been fortunate in that I have had none of the miriad of problems a [B]few[/B] have had, save for the radio power, which was quickly fixed.

    The problem I have had with Consumer Reports is how they gather their info. They send surveys out to owners to fill out. These owners, as I understand it, only receive a survey if they are a CU subscriber. This leaves out a huge portion of potential owners.
    Secondly, the survey is a fairly long, exhaustive survey. Owners who have a problem-free vehicle are less likely to spend the time to fill out the survey than owners who have problems. The owners who have problems are more inclined to vent their frustrations by spending the time to fill out the survey and send it in.
    Over 40k XC90's have been sold in North America alone since the `03 model year. The posters on boards like these make up a small fraction of total owners regards to complaints.
    One can go to any make and model on these boards and find miriads of owner problems but they all make up a fraction of total owners.
    I quit relying on publications telling me what to buy when I bought a new `96 Mercury Sable, which CU glowed over (it and the Taurus). I had nothing but problems the first four to six months of ownership, with lingering nitpicky maintenance issues on and off until I offloaded it.

    But hey, I'm just a happy XC90 owner for over 9 months now, what do I know?
  • Thank you,
    You saved me a few minutes to write a second part of my response to habitat1.
    Great points.
    The CR is not any more objective than the current Town Hall message board. I have ignored CR twice in my life - once with Nissan Altima and then - with Volvo S80 and I am happy that I've done it.
    It was not difficult for me to do - when you read the reviews, you have to pay attention to the matter, not to the emotions. Then you can get a relatively objective picture even from the negative reviews.

    In both previous cases, and now, with XC90 I just do not see any real substance in the complaints, that will prevent me from buying a car I like because of... (see my previous postings)

    The reliability of Volvo is less than Toyota and always will be less than Toyota, but so what?
    The average car reliabilty is so high now, that it practically guarantees a reasonable trouble-less (it's never trouble-free) experience.
  • schuhcschuhc Posts: 333

    If you're going over to the mainland you'll want to check out TT Lines and Scan Line. However, be forewarned that the fast boat is in the morning. Afternoon boats take about 5 hours. (Yes....I learned the hard way). AND....The Raddison bar makes a TASTY BURGER!!!!
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I am not sure of the point, but I took Lev's challenge this A.M. in the undergound parking lot of a high rent office building (law/finanicial firm tenants) in downtown DC. I estimated that there were at about 350 to 400 cars (70-80 / level x 5 levels) at the time I left from my meeting.

    Here's my car count:

    8 Volvo's, including:
    3 S80's
    1 S70
    1 C70 Convertible
    1 XC70
    1 V70
    1 XC90

    21 Lexus, including:
    7 LS (4 400; 3 430)
    4 GS (1 300; 1 400; 2 430)
    3 ES (2 300; 1 330)
    2 LX470
    1 GX470
    2 RS330
    2 SC430

    Didn't count Mercedes, but noted that there were 2 SL500, 1 SL55, 1 C32, 2 E55 (old design). My guess is that there were 20 other Mercedes total, mostly E-class and S class. Not quite as many BMWs.

    Unfortunately, by my estimates, 95% of the aforementioned cars were under 5-6 years old and most looked under 3. I'll keep my eyes open, but I can't remember the last time I saw a Volvo 240 or original 1989 vintage LS400 on the road here. Maybe they've all gone to California.

    Like I said, I certainly don't put 100% confidence in CR. Or JD Powers. But I'm not sure trying to count old cars is going to become my gold standard for judging long term reliablity. It was rather interesting though, until I started getting honked at for going too slow while I was ditating my car counts into my tape recorder.

    P.S. Just to clarify, I'm not trying to hold Volvo to the Acura/Lexus/Honda reliability standard. If they were in the top half of the ratings, on par with Saab, Nissan and BMW, I'd probably not be the least concerned. But they were way down near the bottom of the list, amoung brands I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. I hope that as more dat comes in, the XC90 proves to be more reliable than these surveys or JD Power ratings suggest.
  • schuhcschuhc Posts: 333

    Think all the 240's got stuck here in Chicago with me on their way to California. We've got more of those things than corrupt politicians.
  • Edward,
    You got to be kidding...

    Lawyers and financial advisers working for the government and driving 15 year old cars...?

    I would not think so, unless it's a collectible item.

    Look, let's drop it. It one of those things where it's OK to disagree. I believe that Volvo has a high life expectancy, you do not and it's fine. I drive Volvo, you drive ??? and it's fine too.

    What is important, that when we present our opinions we also are describe what is behind our opinion. This way - the average buyer from SF Valley, who can afford 45K car can relate to my views and my non-scientific researches, and the average buyer from Downtown DC will relate to your opinion.

    One other thing - please, do not be snobby, there are not any cars on US market now, that is not good. They can be better or worth, but there is a market niche for every single car sold here, otherwise, they are pulled from the market (we saw it happened, didn't we - FIAT, Alfa-Romeo, Yugo).
    Cars in general became much more reliable.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    We can agree or not, but for the record, I don't think I ever said that Volvo's don't have a "long" life expectancy. This may be the case. But a long life is not necessarily the same as a "healthy" life. I don't plan on keeping an XC90 for 15 years; but I would want to be reasonably assured of a trouble free 6-8+ years.

    Perhaps I am unusual in my low tolerance for maintenance and repair headaches. Of our three current vehicles, two have been delights to own; one has been a pain in the butt. I want to avoid a repeat of the latter.

    The anecdotal evidence, Consumer Research reports, and other reviews go from one end of the spectrum to the other with respect to Volvo. I'll need to reach my own conclusion and I appreciate your input as well as that of others in this forum. So, thank you for that.
  • Edward,
    Thank you and you are welcome.
    Just out of curiosity and to change the mood (maybe) - What are those vehicles?
    The ones, that are delight to own, and the one that is a headache?

    I have jumpped into the discussion after 4 and half years of just reading solely because I wanted to get accurate anecdotal evidence from actual users but not the generalized statement - all Volvo are piece of crap. There was too much of that on this board. I think, that the tone of the discussion has changed a bit since then, and I want to believe that I have contributed to it somewhat.

    The dynamics of the S80 board support my point of view. It started 5 years ago just as XC90 with the overall overtone that one more crappy vehicle hit the market. It has toned down a lot, since then, when there were more actual testimonies placed on that board. The Volvo is Volvo, relatively limited production car with a character, and you either like it or not.

    So, for as long as we would try to post facts, and when posting opinions, try to explain what our opinions are based upon - I would be a happy participant.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Delight: 2002 Honda S2000 w/ 17k miles; 1995 Maxima SE 5-speed w/152k miles.

    Headache: 1996 Isuzu Trooper w/ 71k miles.

    I am trying to put the Volvo in perspective. One nice thing is that, of the two dealers I might buy from, one is less than 2 miles from my house, the other even closer to where I do a lot of work and both include free loaners.

    Best wishes.
  • gambiamangambiaman Posts: 132
    I am thinking of purchasing a XC90 in the next year so I went back and read all the XC90 posts and now have some questions.
    First I now have a 01 RX300 which has been a very good car and plan to replace it in the next year or so. I started looking the XC90 because of the 7 seats. After driving 3 XC90’s (2.5’s) I finally decided as comfortable as my RX is, the XC seats are more comfortable. I also like the way it drives.

    Since I own a RX I have read the RX posts for several years now and some questions that are discussed there and not here have surprised me. People on the RX forum discuss costs of the extended warranty but very little discussion of that here. Surprising considering there is a lot more discussion of reliably for the XC90. Did anyone buy an extended warranty and if so cost?

    Maintenance - With Volvo doing all maintenance until 30K and oil changes at 7500 do the dealers use synthetic oil?

    Cargo Capacity - With my RX I use a Thule roof box but I still have more room in back than I will have in the XC90 with the 3rd row seats. Does anyone know the distance from the back of the 3rd seat to the lower back door. I’m trying to figure out if I can lay my present suitcases I use down in the back. I will gain cargo capacity on top since the XC90 has a much higher roof rack capacity than my RX.

    Reliability - Like all others here I am concerned about reliability. Do I think it will be as trouble free as my RX, probably not, but most of the posters here have not had major problems and as some have pointed out people with problems look for a place to complain about them. Most people without problems just enjoy their vehicles and therefore don’t post or read this forum. My daughter has a 1993 940 which has mostly been a very good vehicle.

    Excitement - I enjoyed driving the XC90 and get excited about owing one. As nice as a new RX would be it just doesn’t do anything for me or get me excited. The XC90 does. I have more questions/comments but enough for now.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'll let actual Volvo owners answer your questions. But since I'm also considering the XC90 2.5, as well as the GX470, I wonder if you as a current Lexus owner have considered the GX470? If so, your thoughts and opinions. Thanks.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    Gambiaman, It is 19.5" from the 3rd row seat to the lower back door. 47.25" from the second row (slided all the way back) to the lower back door. With the third seat down you should have more cargo room than in the RX.

    I've had mine for 3 weeks now and the "initial quality" is just about perfect. Very comfortable and quiet down the road. Firm but compliant suspension. For long term reliability, this vehicle uses components that have been used in other Volvo vehicles for years so I am fairly confident. This is our 5th Volvo since 1988 and we usually trade them around 130,000 km (85,000 miles) and we did not have major issues with any of them. In fact I would say that reliabilty and quality have been improving steadily trough the years.

    Guy :)
  • adplusoneadplusone Posts: 66
    We are finalizing my wife's next vehicle and an XC-90 is one of our finalist. Three questions of current owners...

    1) What has been the most frustrating service/repair issue you have had?

    2) What has been the most pleasant surprise in owning/driving the vehicle?

    3) If you could change one thing on your XC-90 what would it be?

    Any other owner comments would be appreciated!



    McAllen, Texas
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    1- None so far.
    2- Handling and quietness of the vehicle. Good standard sound system.
    3- On 2.5T, The engine has excellent low end torque but could use a little more top end power.

  • 1) What has been the most frustrating service/repair issue you have had?

    None so far (after 9 months and 14.5k miles).

    2) What has been the most pleasant surprise in owning/driving the vehicle?

    For me (and I realize this is subjective) the comfort of the seats. I had lower back surgery 14 years ago, so long trips are a pain. I drove the entire trip to Florida pain free. The lumbar supports were excellent. Another pleasant surprise is the heated seats ( I was neutral at first but now really appreciate them). I was also surprised at the responsive acceleration of the 2.5T. We have had no complaints with it and it has been a breeze merging and passing - even on fairly steep grades.
    The premium audio with subwoofer has exceeded my expectations.

    3) If you could change one thing on your XC-90 what would it be?

    I would like to see a manual tranny as an option, but I understand that won't happen in the U.S.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Volvo uses a synthetic blend.
  • I would think that S2000 is fun to drive and Maxima SE (the one with the white dials?)was my dream car 10 years ago.
    I have heard that s2000 is a bit underpowered in the low RPM band and you need to be pretty "heavy footed" to get it going. Is that so?

    The latest responses from the current XC90 owners will help, I hope, to put the Volvo in perspective for you.
    I will attest to the XC90 later this year, when I will own one, though if you want to have my review of the XC90 introduction event in El Toro marina base last year, let me know.

    I am going to post my perspective to the Volvo S80 to the respective board. So, you might visit it over the weekend.


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