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Volvo XC90 SUV



  • Okay XC 90 fans, I am seriously considering my first Volvo. Currently we own two Mercedes, my 98 C230 which has been excellent other than a nagging window regulator problem (latent design defect in my book as an electro-mechanical sales person) and my wife’s brand new E 320. But with the addition of a puppy, Australian Cattle Dog, our kids are older now and more active, and our outdoor life style – sailing, MTB and road cycling, golf, snow skiing, etc. – we have concluded it is time to get another SUV. Had a GMC Yukon and will NEVER go down that path again!


    So can you discuss some of the finer points of living with an XC90 and Volvo? My vehicle design considerations run more towards luxury than plebian. Hence I want leather, REAL wood trim, automatic 5 speed of higher, AWD, seating for five even though we will usually have 4 only, (NO third row seat required and a real pull down arm rest with cup holders would be nice) in dash CD & changer, sun roof, functional roof rack where I can add a storage box, large enough cargo area for the dog to relax, 2 inch receiver for my bike/ski rack (not on the roof thank you), and some semblance of fuel economy. By this I mean no 10-15 MPG V8 monsters. A good EPA rating for greenhouse emissions would be a comfort as well.


    Vehicle in consideration are the X3 (I like the overall size coming from the C class and prefer the sporty ride/handling), Volvo XC 90 T5 (having driven one on a test track I can attest that this thing can fly when put to the test), VW Touareg V6 (concerned about quality, fuel economy, and despite the size the seating position is confining), and perhaps the new 06 ML 350 provided MB can get the recipe right in the fuel economy and weight area.


    So how is life with a Volvo? Do you get lifetime roadside assistance? How about free loaner cars while yours is in for service, warranty or not? And the repair prices for out of warranty, do they figure if you can afford to join the luxury club you should be able to mortgage the house whenever anything needs service? I hear that Volvos are known for poor quality and many trips to the dealer for service. Comments on that?


    The purchase is not going to be made until June/July but I am monitoring the various marquee forums to keep informed.


    Thank you!
  • C'mon Gomez, 600HP Volvo - it's like put a Hawaiian shirt over the Statue of Liberty. It totally ruins the image for me. There should be some car manufacturers out there prone to the hanger for more power.
  • I do not want sound pathetic, but the only word that can properly define the feelings our entire family have toward our two newest cars - 2000 Volvo S80 2.9 and 2004 XC90 2.5T AWD - is love.


    We love their style, spacious interior, comfortable ride, most accommodating seats,superb engineering, vast array of safety gadgets.

    Both cars are very well built. My S80 with 87K miles on it holds up extremely well - the same quite, supple ride, no rattles or squeaks, paint that is looking like a new, when washed, interior with basically no sign of wear (except that the driver seat and driver side door armrest need a good cleaning). The gas mileage is about 20 - 21MPG, which is good considering the typical LA mix - heavy freeway traffic or busy streets. It goes above 25 MPG on a long highway trips. DSTC system is wonderful. I have an extended warranty till 95K for $2200, and I did not break even yet. There were a few minor common issues that were fixed under the regular warranty or under the recall (sub frame bushings), and I went through 3 or 4 headlight bulbs and couple of tail light bulbs, but I consider it normal, since lights are on all the time, which makes 87K miles comparable to many hundred thousand miles for a car with no running lights.


    All of the above applies to the XC90, plus


    - interior room is even bigger.

    - the cargo area can only be compared to the full size SUV's, much bigger than all the direct competitors - BMW X5, Acura MDX, Lexus RX, VW Touareg, etc. - should be a real treat for your dog.

    - the most sophisticated stability and traction control system in the world, including the roll-over protection system.

    - versatility of SUV with higher stance, full time AWD, extremely flexible seat folding arrangement.


    A few additional comments


    XC90 does have a standard sturdy roof rack, that can accomodate a cargo box, sun roof, in-dash CD changer, 11 or 12 cup and bottle holders,

    It does have optional 2" receiver, real wood trim, real leather.

    And a V8 version has one of the best fuel economy in class 16/21, if I am not mistaken.


    The service is free for the first 30K, basically first 4 services.


    And my independent mechanic charge me exactly the same for the routine maintenance of my Mazda MPV and S80.

    The build quality is excellent and reliability is average, but the average today is maybe better than excellent 10 years ago as the absolute reliability of all the cars has gone up considerably.


    I did not have any trips to the dealer outside of scheduled maintenance, all extra repairs were for the non-ecential problems that could wait till then, with exception of one, when I believed my battery has died, but dealer concluded that it was a faulty coling fan draining the battery. It has been replaced under the extended warranty, but battery has died anyway in a week or so, that is why I have concluded that sometimes even trained technicians do not know much about the cars they repair.

    So, instead of mortgaging my house, I went to the accelerated payment plan.

    The road side assistance is free (at least for one year).


    And my dealer does provide free loaners or free rental cars for the service, warranty and extended warranty repairs.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    heh...well I wouldn't buy one.


    This is for people with money to burn. A toy for the weekend.
  • Here is a link to the interesting tool.

    Volvo XC90 V8 has a lot of cool features not available on any other SUV
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    Since you know everything about the you know how long the life cycle for the XC90 is.


    It's now on Model Year 3 - 2003,2004,2005.


    When would a new/updated model appear?
  • It's a good question for Volvomax. But judging by S80, which was the base model for the line, and is due to be replaced in 2006-2007, I would say - 2010-2011.
  • WOW, thanks.

    Yes the styling of the XC 90 has really caught my eye. Currently I am in a tight race between the X3 and XC 90. I am waiting for the new 06 ML 350 to come out and then do a full comparison between the 3 before I buy. The XC 90 in 5 passenger configuration has a lot of room inside, comfortable seating, and a large cargo area that is easy to load. It would be nice to have more wood trim on the dash and door panels. The door panels seem to be something that Volvo picked up from Ford in a cost cutting effort. Still the exterior styling is quite nice.
  • Thanks,

    It's funny that Ford is going to be blamed for everything. Volvo always has very functional interior design with very limited or no wood.

    I think, it's a Lincoln (Ford), that have tons of wood trim.

    We like an aluminum trim for the door panels. It looks contemporary, the Swedish style, resembles the IKEA furniture.
  • Forgive the topic if it was covered here but I searched and didn't find anything -


    We are shopping for another wagon and will be replacing our LR Disco II (hopefully). We have a Ford Freestyle on order and I know they share some bits and pieces.


    Has anyone here cross shopped the two? Thoughts?


    The Freestyle LTD seems to have a lot of the same things the Volvo does w/ a bit more room, better gas mileage and takes regular fuel.


    Looking for some feedback before we make the final decision.


    Thanks to all -

    BTW- Have had several Volvos in the past. :) Many have said the Freestyle drives with the "feel" of the Volvo. We haven't driven the LTD yet (aren't any in stock) but did drive the SEL.


    Also, posted to XC70 but no activity there...
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    No word on an XC90 replacement yet.

    Volvo is going to be pretty busy w/ other models through 2008.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Volvo's have never been known for opulent interiors.

    Always functional and somewhat austere in keeping w/ their Swedish roots.
  • chidorochidoro Posts: 125
    What is the XC90's fording depth?


    Running through snow is one thing, running through the rain that clogs the sewers which follows is another(and the one I'm more worried about when it comes to all-terrain capabilities).
  • It's 48 cm 0r 18.9".

  - - #pg87


    VW Touareg - up to 22.8"

    Porsche Cayenne 19.7/21.9 (with different suspensions)

    New MB - up to 23.5

    I've seen figures up to 27" for 4Runner
  • Going back to one of my comments that XC90 is still an SUV with respectful capabilities.


    To contrast - the fording depth for S80 as well as for the XC70 is 30 cm or 11.8" - good 7" less than XC90.


    The numbers that I found for BMW M5 (which was fastidiously suggested as SUV) - 8", and for Acura TL - 10".
  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    Lev you are completely wrong when you say:


    "... but the average today is maybe better than excellent 10 years ago as the absolute reliability of all the cars has gone up considerably".


    If you compare with your piece of c..p Russian Moskvich 408, yes I agree that the reliability went up by orders of magnitude. But that was in another world. In this world check the Item 133 (Volvo Average Reliability) and you will see that the Volvo reliability continuously fell since 1988:



    From my personal experience now, the 1989 Volvo 240 Wagon I still have in front of my house never required any kind of work at the powertrain, and was an incredible car during all these 16 years. It still drives and feels sturdy as a "brick".


    When your XC90 will be 16 years old (if still alive) your bank account (or some other unfortunate person's bank account) will be emptied by countless sensor replacements, fancy electronic systems repairs etc etc etc. Trust me, when you endless keep adding useless electronic controls, the reliability of the system has nowhere to go but down. That's elementary probability theory Russians certainly learn in school.


    What can break in the lever I have to move left or right to set the temperature in a Volvo 240 ?! Simply nothing ! You keep discussing about how your fancy XC90 climate control breaks or should be set up, like it would be rocket science. Who in the world needs all that ?!?! Volvo needs it to take your money away.
  • You are right, the complexity of cars has increased, but the average reliability has increased too, because of better materials and smarter design for the vital parts, like engine, transmissions, suspension etc.


    And by the way - that Moskvich was simple as pie, but the life time of vital parts was miserable.


    And I live in US for 15 years, so I do not have first hand experience with any other cars, but the ones that are sold in US.


    And, lastly, I always say what I mean.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    I'm on my 5th Volvo since our first one, a 1988 740 turbo wagon. The least reliable of the bunch was the 1988, that damn electric overdrive always failed. Also, the power steering pump seized, burning the belt that was driving the water pump also; stranding us by the side of the road. Also worth mentioning: poor paint, a cracked dash, blown shocks. We sold it in 93 at 120,000 km (75,000 miles). My experience is that each one I owned was better than the previous one.
  • FYI,

    I have owned used 1989 240 and currently have a used 1990 740. The lever, that switches the climate control, modes on both cars does not work, because some little plastic part inside of the switch has worn out. My mechanic keeps a dozen of switches assemblies that he salvage from the junk yard, because it seems to be a common problem , and the switch is not repairable.


    Now, speaking of theory of reliability, that I happend to study at the university in former Soviet Union.


    If my system has 10 times more elements (and that what the actual ratio between the new cars and cars of 10 years ago probably is), but a reliability of each component let say 100 times higher, the probability of overall system is much better.


    The solid state components (so called "chips", "computers") have created a revolution in industrial design and manufacturing in general, and automotive industry in particular. There are solid state switches that hundred thousand times more reliable than mechanical one, because they do not have moving parts, and they can content many redundant circuits. I was involved into the design and manufacturing of specialty textile machinery. Our machines were much more reliable because we started using programmable controllers, solid state switches, etc, where other manufacturers were using 40 years old technology with mechanical or electro-mechanical components.


    The result was that our machines had a life span of 3-4 time of the conventional one, and we have saturated LA market in 3 -4 year.


    So, I can not trust you, because of my own experience.


    The complexity brings a level of flexibility and convenience that was not available before.

    I have written it before, and I can repeat again, that when it comes to the climate control, I have set it to Auto mode - 72 degrees 4 years ago, and do not touch it at all ever since. It cools in the summer and heats in the winter on it's own. I can never do that with the mechanical controls.
  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    I agree that 10 times more components 100 times more reliable would be better. The problem is that actually they are 10 times more components 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 times more reliable (like your specialty textile machinery is). So the overall Volvo reliability dropped year after year since 1988 like in the:



    You Lev and Guyf blame the 240. Even if I agree with some of your complaints, I say it was one of the best cars mankind ever made. The bottom line is "Love" or "Friendship" or even "Family". The 240 really became a member of many American families. Why ? It's very simple. Because most of the time during these 17 years either didn't break or it broke but I fixed it by myself. Or I just ignored the problem and was not punished because of that. Like a loving member of a family would do. For instance the Check Engine light was ON during the last 150,000Km (100,000 miles). I just ignored it and was never punished. Actually recently it went OFF, probably because the bulb burnt.


    Guyf it was funny to read your complaint about the cracked dash. I realized that during so many years I had a 2 mm wide crack on my dash, 20 inches away from my eyes, I completely forgot about. Like a parent who will always see his children to be the most beautiful children on Earth, and never see something wrong with them, me too I was not able to see that awfully cracked dash, highly visible for anybody else.


    I didn't have the other 240 problems you mentioned. I am getting close to 300,000 Kms (190,000 miles). Never touched the powertrain ! I honestly would buy a new car but I don't know which one. Reliability is the only concern for me. Actually I put a deposit on a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica, but I could back up because of reliability concerns. Not decided yet.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    I really like cars in general...but this is getting kinda WEIRD...


  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    You should back out of that Pacifica purchase....




  • There is something personal in Volvo cars.

    My 16-then years old daughter had called her 240 by lovely female name Lola.

    How many Toyotas ever had personal names among of their teenager owners?


    Now-21, she calls her 740 that she likes less - Fred.


    Go figure...
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I would NEVER buy a FWD FreeStyle and not even an AWD without VSC. VSC in 06, maybe.


    And I never want to go back to changing points, condensor, rotor caps, sparkplugs, etc, etc.
  • What is VSC - analog of DSTC?


    If it is - then I agree. I will never buy FWD SUV or AWD without the stability control system.

    I have looked at Freestyle and 500 today at LA auto show - very-very nice for a price.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    Well, after 20,000 miles they feel like a Volvo with 200,000 miles. they don't age too well. BTW, how many do you see on the road? One of Chrysler worst failure. Slow, heavy, noisy in the 3rd row seat...
  • The Freestyle AWD LTD we are considering has Traction Control but not Stability Control.


    Still a no no?


    We are priced right at $30k (every option but the DVD)- the only XC90 we could afford would be the smaller engine one.
  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    Anotherwagon I am OK with Traction Control. I just hate the Stability Control, because I cannot stand the idea that a computer would be authorized to brake my wheels. It's simple: I pay, I brake. If the computer system becomes defective (sensors or whatever) it could suddenly and unexpectedly brake my front left wheel and steer me into the incoming truck. I know I know, it's reliable, will send error codes ... blah blah blah ... you can write that on my tombstone ...


    The Host deleted my 3807 post because I violated the Edmunds policy (I promoted another auto chat web site), so I post it again without that link:


    I agree Chrysler doesn't age well. Still if you drive one Pacifica you will fall in love. It has the 240 ability to make you become emotionally involved. Don't know why ... sturdiness, brick feeling, tank feeling ...


    Also it's that impressive (and highest on the market) 1.33 NHTSA Static Stability Factor. They really have the lowest centre of gravity among anything non-car. You can feel it. I don't trust a VSC electronic system to do what simple physics easily and safely do. If it would be wider and lower centre of gravity (like Pacifica is), and without the electronic c..p, the XC90 would stay on my driveway now.


    Volvo ages slower than myself ...


    I saw yesterday a new boat for sale in a mall (I don't care about boats). Still when I saw Volvo" written on the engine I suddenly loved that boat.
  • chidorochidoro Posts: 125
    I would guess the Freestyle wouldn't have the stability issues a typical SUV would.


    Also, thanks for the fording info Lev.
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