2010 Volvo XC90 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Perfect crash-test scores, upscale and stylish interior, supportive front seats, smooth ride.
  • Third-row seating cuts into second-row room, mediocre fuel economy, weak base engine.
List Price Range
$8,995 - $15,980

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2010 Volvo XC90 is still a competent luxury crossover SUV, but newer choices may prove more appealing.

Vehicle overview

The 2010 Volvo XC90 traces its roots back to 2003, when the crossover craze was just getting underway. Back then, people with traditional body-on-frame SUVs were starting to realize that they no longer had to put up with trucklike handling and ride qualities -- the car-based crossover SUV was here to save the day. Today, the automotive marketplace is brimming with capable luxury crossovers, yet the XC90 is still fundamentally the same as it was in '03. Fortunately for Volvo, the XC90 was a pretty good vehicle in the first place, and it continues to be a competitive but not class-leading crossover.

With the arrival of its excellent XC60 compact crossover for 2010, Volvo is doing its best to maintain interest in the aging XC90. In particular, the company is emphasizing the XC90's exclusive third-row seat, which enlarges passenger capacity to seven versus the XC60's five. We can't argue with that, but it's important to note that the XC90's third row compromises second-row legroom, so it's not all roses. The XC90 also offers an optional V8, though its smaller stablemate is actually quicker with its standard twin-turbocharged inline-6.

If you're sensing that we're not exactly convinced by Volvo's pro-XC90 campaign, you're on to something. Another trouble spot is the base 3.2-liter inline-6, which lacks turbocharging and frankly doesn't have enough oats to feed this draft horse. We're not even fans of this engine in Volvo's V70 station wagon, and the XC90 is significantly heavier. That weight also contributes to the XC90's unimpressive fuel economy, which ranges from 18 combined mpg in front-wheel-drive inline-6 trim to 15 mpg for the all-wheel-drive V8.

The XC90 does have a first-rate interior, decent driving dynamics and perfect safety scores, but some of its competitors have all of that and then some. In addition to Volvo's own XC60, we'd recommend checking out the Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Volkswagen Touareg. And if you need a third row in a still somewhat tidy package, take a look at the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Toyota Highlander. Don't get us wrong: The 2010 Volvo XC90 is certainly a nice luxury crossover. It's just that the competition has moved forward over the past eight years, and the XC90 has more or less stood pat.

2010 Volvo XC90 models

The seven-passenger 2010 Volvo XC90 is a premium midsize crossover SUV that comes in three trim levels: 3.2, 3.2 R-Design and V8. The 3.2 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, rear park assist, leather upholstery, power front seats with driver memory settings, a power passenger seat, wood interior trim, tri-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player and auxiliary/USB jacks. The 3.2 R-Design adds 19-inch alloys, a sport-tuned suspension and steering system, and a variety of R-Design upgrades, including sporty exterior styling cues, a sport steering wheel, special leather upholstery and watch-dial instrumentation. The XC90 V8 loses the R-Design accoutrements but gains exclusive 18-inch wheels, the V8 engine, all-wheel drive, color-keyed fenders and body-side moldings, heated front seats, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers, a special air filtration system and unique interior wood inlays.

All XC90s are eligible for the Multimedia package, which includes satellite radio, a Dynaudio surround-sound audio system, a navigation system with real-time traffic and -- on V8 models only -- bi-xenon headlamps. The Climate package is available on six-cylinder models, and adds the heated front seats, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers and air filtration system. The V8-only Executive package ramps up the luxury with 19-inch aluminum wheels, upgraded leather upholstery, massage and ventilation functions for the front seats, heated rear seats, leather door panels and center console cover and a wood-trimmed steering wheel, as well as an optional refrigerator. Stand-alone options include adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, a blind-spot warning system and a dual-screen rear entertainment system.

2010 Highlights

The 2010 Volvo XC90 gets a standard third-row seat and sees its model lineup trimmed to three, as the R-Design trim is no longer available with the V8. Additionally, the chassis has been tweaked for claimed improvements to ride and handling, rear park assist is now standard, and some other standard and optional features have been shuffled.

Performance & mpg

The 2010 Volvo XC90 3.2 and 3.2 R-Design come with a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine rated for 235 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The XC90 V8 gets a 4.4-liter V8 good for 311 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. XC90 3.2 models come standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive (AWD) is available as an option. The AWD system is standard on the XC90 V8.

In performance testing, we recorded a 7.4-second sprint from zero to 60 mph in an XC90 V8 Sport. That's merely adequate by current standards, and the 3.2 models are considerably less sprightly. Fuel economy ratings are mediocre at best, ranging from 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined for the 3.2 FWD to 13/19/15 mpg for the V8.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2010 Volvo XC90 include antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and anti-whiplash front seats. The optional blind spot warning system monitors vehicles entering the XC90's blind spots, alerting the driver via indicator lights.

In government frontal and side-impact crash tests, the XC90 earned a perfect five stars for all occupants. Likewise, the XC90 earned ratings of "Good," the highest possible, in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing.

Driving

The 2010 Volvo XC90's base 3.2-liter inline-6 struggles noisily to get the vehicle up to speed. It's just not up to the task of propelling this nearly 5,000-pound SUV. The V8 model's performance and refinement are much improved with a minimal fuel economy penalty, but it'll cost you. Both XC90 models ride quietly and smoothly on the highway, but they're hardly sporty, claimed improvements for 2010 notwithstanding. The 3.2 R-Design model feels somewhat more buttoned-down thanks to its sport-tuned suspension and steering, but it's saddled with the inferior engine.

Interior

The XC90's cabin was penned as Volvo was transitioning to its current sleek design aesthetic, and it has stood the test of time remarkably well. Materials are of almost uniformly high quality, and controls are stylish yet intuitive, though the XC90 lacks Volvo's trademark "waterfall" center stack that's available on the brand's newer vehicles. The center position in the second row has an integrated child booster cushion that slides forward, allowing easier access to children in the back. Legroom in the rearmost quarters is better than in many competitors, although at the expense of second-row legroom. Cargo capacity is just 8.8 cubic feet behind the third row, but it expands to an ample 93 cubic feet with the third and second rows folded.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2010 Volvo XC90.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Van to XC90
Tatunka,03/11/2010
3.2 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 6A)
Owned for a few months now and no problems. As noted I would like to see better technology in this car like a modern nav and stereo. The safe and sound warranty is great. All service including oil,brakes rotors, wear and tear etc (except tires) are covered for 5yr/60k 91 octane is recommended but hard to find so I use 93. You can use 87 but I notice a lack of power with the 3.2 engine. Overall, I love this SUV. It is sharp looking and safe. No new design appears in the works until 2012.
good choice in mid size SUV category
hook'em,03/05/2010
3.2 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 6A)
I bought this primarily because I believe, based on an in-depth research, it is the safest SUV around. I looked at the data behind the NHSA and IIHS's ratings in addition to some detailed rollover test results from something called JRS rollover test. I might have taken this safety stuff a little too seriously. However, looking beyond just the readily available ratings (which, in my opinion, would incorrectly indicate that other SUVs are just as safe as the XC90) revealed that Volvo's safety reputation in this case is well deserved. Other pluses: The interior is functional and flexible for our family of 4 (plus grand parents) and to my eyes, this SUV looks better than the others.
Second XC 90
kfrgolf,11/26/2009
3.2 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 6A)
This is the first time in 40 years that I ever got the same exact vehicle that I had been driving. Bravo Volvo - safe , efficient, quiet and has all the amenities
Nice Car - Couple concerns
lhos315,11/26/2010
V8 4dr SUV AWD (4.4L 8cyl 6A)
I've had the car about 8 months. I replaced a minivan w/very squeaky brakes. I was disappointed that within a couple months the brakes were already squeaking in this car. I've had it in the shop a couple of times but they have not been able to fix it. The ride is a little stiff as has been mentioned. The V8 is great with a lot of power. I got the nav package and this system is pretty poor. The rt traf is helpful but this system can't find big time retail stores without typing in an exact address. I wouldn't rec buying this nav system. I too have experienced the buzzzz in the speakers which hasn't been fixed. Does anyone know what this is? Overall a good/fun/safe car to drive around

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 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
    Rollover4 / 5
    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
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Volvo XC90

Used 2010 Volvo XC90 Overview

The Used 2010 Volvo XC90 is offered in the following submodels: XC90 SUV. Available styles include 3.2 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 6A), V8 4dr SUV AWD (4.4L 8cyl 6A), and 3.2 R-Design 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned Volvo XC90 models are available with a 3.2 L-liter gas engine or a 4.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 311 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2010 Volvo XC90 comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2010 Volvo XC90 comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Volvo XC90?

Price comparisons for Used 2010 Volvo XC90 trim styles:

  • The Used 2010 Volvo XC90 3.2 is priced between $8,995 and$12,000 with odometer readings between 91519 and141980 miles.
  • The Used 2010 Volvo XC90 V8 is priced between $15,980 and$15,980 with odometer readings between 48163 and48163 miles.

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Which used 2010 Volvo XC90s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2010 Volvo XC90 for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2010 XC90s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,995 and mileage as low as 48163 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2010 Volvo XC90.

Can't find a used 2010 Volvo XC90s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volvo XC90 for sale - 9 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $7,766.

Find a used Volvo for sale - 7 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $7,863.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volvo XC90 for sale - 1 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $11,386.

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Should I lease or buy a 2010 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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