2005 Volvo XC90 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Safe as a bank vault, plush ride, solid performance from V8 model, feels smaller than it is, high-quality interior materials, ample cargo room.
  • Turbocharged T6 engine not well suited to SUV duty, third-row seating takes up too much second-row space.
List Price Estimate
$1,936 - $3,230

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Easy to drive and easy on the eyes, Volvo's first foray into the SUV arena has everything it needs to compete in this highly competitive category.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2005 Volvo XC90.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Solid and safe family transport
2.5T AWD 4dr SUV (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 5A)
It won't win any races, but it rides and handles beautifully for its weight and height. The seats are the most comfortable of any cars I've owned. Going down the highway, the car tracks straight and feels solid. Exterior design is classy, and interior design is highly functional and efficient. The car is easy to drive and park, though the second row leg room is tight to make room for the third row and the generous cargo bay. The car was reliable during the 4 year warranty period. On the down side, the car is underpowered while only returning so-so fuel economy. It needs a new set of tires every two years. Had some electrical problems starting year 5. Dealer service and parts are expensive.
V8 Engine Is Prone to Catastrophic Failure
V8 AWD 4dr SUV (4.4L 8cyl 6A)
Last week, our 2005 Volvo XC90 V8 'died' in an intersection. The dealer explained the engine had a 'catastrophic failure' and was "dead". I was told the battery was dead and there is no compression -- air blew through the engine. I asked how this could possibly have happened to a car that has undergone every Volvo dealer service, including one just 45 days ago. The dealer was courteous but explained the car required a new engine which costs $15,000. Google "Volvo Yamaha V8 Failure" and you'll come across numerous people discussing catastrophic failures thanks to the timing chain breaking. Volvo has not undertaken a recall.
Transmission needed
T6 AWD 4dr SUV (2.9L 6cyl Turbo 4A)
Always had Volvos and this was our first SUV/crossover. Bought used with 55k miles and at 62k needs transmission with a 7K quote. It doesn't have tow package so it was babied by previous owner. Thankfully the dealer is helping make good on this awful vehicle. Test drove others and felt skipping in trans...so never again will we purchase an XC90. And the mpg is among the worst in the crossover line at 14.2 city and 18-19 highway. What a shame because the vehicle is beautiful and comfortable, its just a mechanical nightmare!
2005 Volvo XC90
V8 AWD 4dr SUV (4.4L 8cyl 6A)
I bought a 2005 Volvo XC90 new in Feb of 2006 at the dealership in Athens GA. In Dec. of 2011, transmission had to be rebuilt at 87,000 miles for $4200 - dealership wanted $6500. Then in April 2012 at 92,000 miles, the engine started knocking - balance rod failure. I looked on line and Volvo has known that both these failures could occur in this make and model. Never did I receive any recall or info. I contacted Volvo of North America who offered no help to pay for these repairs. I did not rebuild engine - would cost almost what car was worth. I sold it to an auction company for $3600. Now drive a Toyota Highlander. Will never trust Volvo again.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2005 Volvo XC90
More About This Model

When the Volvo XC90 was introduced two years ago, our road test editors had only one reservation: at times it seemed a bit underpowered. That reservation is gone now that Volvo has announced that the 2005 version of this popular SUV will be powered by a V8 engine. But it gets even better. The V8 puts power to the road with the help of a six-speed automatic transmission that gets the most out of every available pound-foot of torque.

The use of a V8 engine might seem a bit out of character for a manufacturer known for its elevated respect for the environment. But Volvo is quick to point out that two of the biggest problems with a V8 — low fuel economy and higher emissions — aren't an issue with this power plant. The 311-horsepower engine, which makes 325 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, gets 22 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in the city, according to Volvo. Manufacturer tests show it going from zero to 60 mph in only 6.9 seconds. Not only that, but it is the only SUV in its class that has earned a ULEV-2 emissions rating.

While Volvo came late to the table, introducing its first SUV in 2003, it arrived with the benefit of hindsight from years of watching other manufacturers' hit-and-miss approach to addressing consumers' needs. The result was a well-conceived vehicle with all the safety features which have distinguished Volvo from the competition. Those features — such as Roll Stability Control and inflatable curtain airbags for all rows — were presented in an attractive package that offered good interior space with a reasonable footprint. The 2005 XC90 V8 comes standard with seven-passenger seating, as well as a 21.1-gallon fuel tank that should allow you to transport your brood well over 300 miles between fill-ups. Better yet, dual-screen, rear-seat entertainment is now an option to keep young passengers amused.

With all the buildup about the V8 version of the XC90, we were eager to see how it performed on the road. We chose a route that offered steep grades and found that the XC90 never felt winded. The SUV pulls well from a standstill and offers impressive passing power. The six-speed transmission shifts intelligently and smoothly so that there is always power on tap. When the V8 comes alive, there is even a throaty growl from the twin tailpipes. At idle, it is very well behaved with little vibration and almost no sound.

Volvo cars typically offer an excellent ride while providing good road feel, and the XC90 is no exception. The steering is light at low speeds but firms up as the speedometer climbs. The XC90 has carlike driving characteristics with little roll in the corners. While the Volvo offers a solid, secure road feel, it's still fairly light on its feet. The ride is comfortable without any of the harshness found in competing truck-based SUVs. Braking is especially strong with a great progressive feel through the pedal.

The well-insulated cabin is impressively quiet. Sit in the driver seat and the gauges and controls are conveniently wrapped around you. There is a feeling of being in just the right position to drive: feng shui, Swedish style. Visibility is excellent. The center stack is tastefully accented with wood grain paneling that contrasts nicely with brushed aluminum control knobs. Heating and air conditioning controls are clearly laid out and easy to use.

The Volvo XC90 boasts a maximum cargo capacity of 93.2 cubic feet — larger than its competitors, including the Mercedes-Benz ML500 with its 81.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Oddly, the XC90 doesn't feel especially roomy, probably because of the well-insulated characteristics of the vehicle. There are many nice touches that make the space more usable, among these a split rear tailgate — the lower section keeps stray items from rolling out if the Volvo is unloaded on a hill.

The XC90 V8's base price of $45,395 includes an impressive list of standard equipment: all-wheel drive, a moonroof, leather seats (for the third row, too), power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, an in-dash CD changer, separate third-row air conditioning and rear audio headphone outlets and controls. This package compares favorably to that of competing vehicles such as the Lexus GX 470 ($45,375), the 2004 M-B ML500 ($45,750), the 2004 Cadillac SRX ($46,595) and the BMW X5 4.4 ($52,100).

Now that Volvo has upped the power on this otherwise desirable 'ute, it seems to match or exceed its competitors in performance. But the real story lies in Volvo's unerring dedication to safety. Put those two things together and you may well have, as the 2005 Volvo XC90 attests, the best of both worlds.

Used 2005 Volvo XC90 Overview

The Used 2005 Volvo XC90 is offered in the following submodels: XC90 SUV. Available styles include T6 AWD 4dr SUV (2.9L 6cyl Turbo 4A), 2.5T AWD 4dr SUV (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 5A), V8 AWD 4dr SUV (4.4L 8cyl 6A), and 2.5T Fwd 4dr SUV (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2005 Volvo XC90?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2005 Volvo XC90s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2005 Volvo XC90s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo XC90 for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $15,868.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 1 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $12,228.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo XC90 for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $17,856.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $22,272.

Should I lease or buy a 2005 Volvo XC90?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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