Third row seats are awkward and infringe upon second row legroom
Weak fuel economy
Instrument panel overdue for an update
Since its introduction in 2003, the XC90 has gone through a few design modifications. It has, however, retained for the most part the look with which it made its debut, making it appear noticeably dated next to younger rivals. This detail will be irrelevant, though, to anyone who is not particular about flashy looks, for this family-friendly crossover SUV has a lot to offer.
Available in two trim levels (3.2 and 3.2 R-Design), the 2011 Volvo XC90 is powered by a 3.2-liter 240-horsepower 6-cylinder engine that distributes power to the front wheels via a 6-speed Geartronic transmission. The sportier R-Design is also installed with a stiffer suspension and an automatic leveling feature that keeps the car’s ground clearance by adjusting its rear shock absorbers according to the cargo weight.
The XC90’s performance may not get a driver’s pulse racing but it has a reasonable price tag ($38,400-$40,200 MSRP) and is a reliable, smooth ride despite its size. “It takes corners with confidence and returns good feedback from the steering wheel and brake pedal,” says Kelley Blue Book. Compared to most of its competitors, it’s better “for hauling children around, with superior cargo and seating flexibility, and it’s loaded with Volvo’s trademark safety technology,” observes AOL Autos. Its safety features include fog lights, ISOFIX/LATCH connectors for child safety and rollover protection. Overall, the XC90 offers a pleasant driving and riding experience “with less pitchiness and side-to-side motion than in many other crossovers.” Though, unfortunately, “its poor fuel economy tarnishes an otherwise superb vehicle,” says Car Connection. The federal government has assigned a 16/22 city/highway MPG estimate.
With three packages to choose from, customers can opt to dress up their XC90s with extra features that suit their needs and style. Some of the optional features being offered are heated front seats, a rain sensor, dual xenon headlamps and a navigation system.