Volvo XC90

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A mid-size luxury crossover SUV, the Volvo XC90 made its debut in 2002 at the Detroit Motor Show. Recognized for its safety, practicality, and comfort, the XC90 is a popular vehicle around the world. The top selling Volvo model in the United States, the model was the best-selling car for Volvo worldwide in 2005.

XC90 History

The Volvo XC90 is Volvo’s first SUV offering, and came late in the SUV game. In a market where some manufacturers have 4 or more models, Volvo for years made just one. It debuted as a 2003 model, and sales have been higher than Volvo predicted.

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Premiering with two model choices, the original debut featured the 2.5T and the T6. The 2.5T was a standard, entry level model with a 2.5L, 20 valve turbocharged in-line 5 engine. The T6 offered a 2.9L 24 valve twin turbocharged in-line 6 engine, along with all-wheel drive (the 2.5T came with front wheel drive.) In 2005, a Ford/Yamaha V8 engine was introduced.

Seating up to seven people, the SUV is roomy and offers removable seats for additional cargo spacing.

Winning North American Car of the Year and Motortrend’s Sport/Utility of the Year award in 2003, the XC90 is well respected for its performance, comfort, and safety features.

XC90 Safety

In keeping with Volvo’s reputation for safety, the XC90 performed the best in the world in roll-over tests, and the front end is specifically designed to absorb impact and a roof reinforced with high impact steel to protect the passengers in a roll-over accident. Volvo strengthened and perfected the XC90 to do very well in this type of crash, if not avoid it altogether with its Roll Stability Control. RSC is a system designed to predict and actuate brakes and throttle to eliminate rollover accidents.

The Volvo XC90 has an inertia sensor that monitors the SUV’s attitude and its acceleration. The sensor can determine the difference between an impending accident and steep terrain. Working in concert with the inertia sensor are sensors that watch the body’s lean and measures its roll movements. But if there is a rollover, the airbags will deploy and remain inflated for up to seven seconds, or 4 rolls.

A concern over the potential for batteries to short circuit and fire resulted in a recall in 2007 of the 2005 year XC90 models. While many vehicles were recalled due to this concern, there were no reports of short circuts in the vehicles.

The 2008 model saw upgrades to the trim and additional features such as an automatically dimming rear view mirror.

XC90 Future

The XC90 is rated high for value within its class by Consumer Reports, and Volvo plans to move toward hybrid technology with newer models of the XC90, and future models are expected to grow slightly in size and be designed to compete in a more luxury market.

While the XC90 was originally slated to move into a third generation version in 2010, this plan has been scrapped in favor of a facelift for the vehicle, and the intention is to sell these production models through the year 2012.

The XC90 shares Volvo’s P2 platform with the V70, S60, XC70, and S80.


  • turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 20-valve 2.5-liter 5-in-line, 208 hp, 236 lb-ft
  • twin-turbo-charged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 2.9-liter 6-in-line, 268 hp, 280 lb-ft
  • DOHC 32-valve 4.4-liter V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection, 311 hp, 325lb-ft
  • Transmissions 4- or 5-speed automatic with lockup torque converter
  • Wheelbase 112.6 in
  • Length 188.9 in
  • Width 74.7 in
  • Height 70.2 in
  • Curb weight 4450-4800 lb, depending on engine and FWD vs. AWD
  • Zero to 60 mph: 6.5 – 8.2 seconds, depending on engine
  • Top speed (governor limited) 128 mph
  • Fuel Economy: low teens (city) to mid-20s (highway)

27 responses to “Volvo XC90”

  1. […] calling around to different insurance companies to verify the results of this story, namely the XC90’s insurance costs vs other cars and SUVs,  but it does make sense now that — from my […]

  2. […] 216 factors to determine an insuree’s auto rate. Thus, by juggling those factors around, the XC90 could potentially be the lowest rate to insure, or it may not. It depends on the other 215 factors. […]

  3. […] corner here in North America. Here are tips and instructions on how to recharge AC refrigerant on a Volvo XC90 from extremely knowledgable MVS forum member […]

  4. […] past and present of model year 2003, 2004, and 2005 Volvo XC90 T6 vehicles equipped with a General Motors transmission may see money this October. Almost two […]

  5. Ismaila says:

    I change the inlet valve of the cx90 while working on this I miss the positions of the TIMING now the outer pollys are also not at the original positions and I don`t know the right positions of the 2 camsharfs and the gamsharf to start the engine again thanks ismaila

  6. […] Forum user Tiny Tim 077 has some maintenance questions about his XC90‘s AWD system. Forum members happily provided some answers. An […]

  7. Genaro says:

    Is it possible to upgrade my Volvo 2003 xc90’s T6 engine with a more modern DOHC v8?

  8. […] Dave Barton. Paraphrasing Dave: in 2003, to show the accident-avoiding reflexes of the new XC90, Volvo built the ”Moose Avoidance Test.” It was their bit of closed track where the […]

  9. Ettienne Swanepoel says:

    I hope you can help me. I need to drive a friends Volvo XC90 to JHB in a few days time. It’s an amazing vehicle. At this stage I can’t get hold of my friend due to the fact that he is out the country with the company he work for.
    The vehicle is acting very strange and I don’t want to take the risk of driving from the West Coast to JHB if I could damage it by doing the trip. If you could tell me what to look out for it would make my life a lot more stress free.

    The bottom hose on the radiator keep coming off from time to time. After parking the vehicle it sometimes just pop off after a few minutes. I have replaced the hose clamp with a new one and it seemed to work but then a few days later the same thing happened again.

    Please advise me what to do. I don’t want to allow anyone to work on the vehicle until I can get hold of my friend.

  10. joy woodruff says:

    How do you repair an input turbine speed sensor circuit Volvo 90xc 2006?

  11. Mark says:

    2007 XC 90 6 Cyl. has oil breather hi pitched wine at low rpms and after driving for 30 minutes. How do you replace/fix this condition?

  12. L says:

    I have an ’05 XC90 4.4 AWD with 140k miles on it. Although it is AWD, only the FWD is currently working (found out since I barked the new tires). Volvo had a peek and assumes that it could be a metal sleeve in the transfer case and says it will be 11 man hours and a cost of roughly $1,500.
    Although I will be getting a 2nd opinion, any words of advice of what to look for or think about?

  13. Gulli Jonsson says:

    Where are the front airbag sensors located in the XC90 2004 ?

  14. Christopher says:

    I own an XC90 and I have the No Oil pressure stop engine warning popping out. if I check on the engine oil level, there is enough oil. I also recently changed the oil pump. What could be causing his error and will i damage the engine if i continue running it?

  15. Gary says:

    2004 XC90 6 Cyl. Engine starts but no throttle response when you step on the pedal. I’ve checked all wire connections and all is plugged in.

  16. NOUMEUBI ROGER says:

    Hi I have a volvo XC90 from 2005.I actualy have a message on board ” antiskid moment escuso” the diagnostic tool sho me twoo DTC references 0095 and 0006. The is no more brake. I don’t know if I will change the DEM or yaw sensor

  17. […] to buy a used Volvo XC90: I’ve been looking at used XC90 for a little over a year. I’ve read some ratings and […]

  18. sir
    i am a japanies/volvo and cherokee mechanic in africa. precisely gabon.

    i am having problem in fixing the timing belt of volvo jeep model xc90 t6 awd.

    sir kindly send the full information on how to do that into my sectary’s mail box. please if possible kindly extend your telephone number to me for easier contact
    mr ekene onyenjoro

  19. enrique ojito says:

    2006 XC90 V8 AWD – 130K miles . During driving car loose power and stop . Boosted and starts but off again. Replace battery but do not have crank.

    Can you help me to diagnose its broken parts and fix .



  20. Arthur Albert says:

    We have the 2003 XC90 V6 (6 speed), and are experiencing problems with the transmission as well (seems to be getting worse).

    1. Originally the transmission seemed to hessitate when accellerating from almost stop – it would suddenly jump into gear.
    2. When start the car, it move with normal1st gear to 3rd gear, stays in 3rd gear or skips to 3rd, both manual option
    3. And goes on to 3rd and until the car is off and on again.

  21. Tom says:

    I just bought a 2007 XC90. I am wondering iif it is possible to modify the drivetrain to a standard 4X4 drivetrain, with four wheel high and low gearing?

  22. shawn callendar says:

    Does the alternator on an 2008 xc 90 continuously turn? I changed the alternator but we are still getting a power failure lights. I noticed when the car is running the pully is not turning. It is the direct drive type alternator

  23. […] Volvo xc90 – history, reviews & how to buy a good example […]

  24. […] Volvo xc90 – history, reviews & how to buy a good example […]

  25. […] Volvo XC90 model years 2003-2005 with the T6 engine were made with automatic transmissions that fail early and often. […]

  26. Richard says:

    Can anyone help I have an xc90 2007 year and the front armrest refrigerator has stopped working dose anyone know how to fix this have checked the apparent fuse in the front and that is fine but not sure if there are any other fuses for it?

  27. Engine system resuirement has popped up on the message is it still safe to drive 75klm

    2005 Xc90 and hasn’t stopped or lost power

    No other message

    Any thoughts

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