Volvo XC90

An overview of the first generation Volvo XC90 SUV, its features, price, problems and what to look for when buying Volvo's big SUV used.

XC90 first generation

Volvo XC90, First Generation

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. The new, second generation XC90 was recently awarded the title of 2016 North American Truck of the Year. It is the second time the XC90 has won the North American Truck of the Year award. The first was in 2003, when the vehicle was originally introduced.

The Volvo XC90 was Volvo’s first SUV offering, and came late in the SUV game.

In a market where some manufacturers had 4 or more models, Volvo for years made just one until the 2009 XC60.

This page is about the first generation Volvo XC90. After a monumental run of occasional updates, in 2015 Volvo finally got the second generation XC90 on showroom floors.

Volvo XC90 History

It debuted as a 2003 model, and sales have been higher than Volvo predicted. 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.

2013 Volvo XC90:2013-Volvo-XC90
For 2013, the XC90 receives its first major update since its launch in 2002. The 2-tone look of previous XC90’s is now a thing of the past– Volvo instead went with a more monochromatic theme for 2013. The front fascia is updated with the addition of new daytime running lights while new 18-inch alloy wheels round out the more noticeable exterior changes. Inside, there’s a new leather wrapped steering wheel, walnut overlays and improved interior lighting. The R-Design has also been updated with new 19-inch wheels and a black mesh grill.

2012 Volvo XC90:2012-Volvo-XC90
For 2012, the Volvo XC90 loses its V8 engine option and reconfigured all of the trim levels. The lineup now includes Premier Plus and Platinum models in
addition to the performance-oriented R-Design. The base XC90 loses its optional navigation. It is now standard on the Platinum trim.

 

Volvo 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.

Setting new safety standards in 2016:

The Volvo XC90 is debuting with two “World First” safety technologies.
2016-Volvo-XC90-safety-tech

The first world-first safety feature debuting on the 2016 XC90 is Safe Positioning, which is aimed at reducing injuries in crashes where the vehicle leaves the road. When the system detects that the XC90 is running off the road, it cinches tight the seatbelts, locking occupants snugly into the seats. This is important because the seats have energy-absorbing material between their outer layers and the frame designed to cushion occupants’ spines in the event of an extreme vertical impact, such as a hard landing at the bottom of a ditch.

2016-Volvo-XC90-safety-tech-01

Next up is an automatic braking feature that can stop the car before it turns in front of oncoming traffic. This is a common sort of crash, where the driver of a car turning left, for example, misjudges the velocity of—or simply doesn’t see—an oncoming car and makes a turn in front of it. Our home state of Michigan is so paranoid over the prospect of such accidents that it designed many of its roads without left-turn lanes, choosing instead to route traffic through a so-called “Michigan Left,” which is where cars wanting to turn left instead turn right or go straight at an intersection, then more or less pull a U-turn using designated lanes on the left to avoid crossing two directions of traffic. Volvo’s mistrust of left-turners elevates the automatic-braking game from a simple detection of largely stationary objects in front of a vehicle (as executed by the automaker’s own City Safety feature) to a more complex decision-making process that can consider faster-moving targets not directly in front of a vehicle.

Volvo 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.

Specifications

  • 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)

Second Generation XC90

2016 Volvo XC90:2016-Volvo-XC90
The Volvo XC90 gets a full redesign for 2016, with fresh, new exterior styling, a new interior and a brand new engine. See the Second Generation XC90 page here. The outgoing XC90 had been on sale for a long time when it finally ceased production in 2014 and Volvo wanted to take a full year off to figure out how to make its replacement as competitive as possible. The result is a thoroughly modern SUV that borrows very little from its predecessor, while still remaining unmistakably a Volvo.

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Author: Matt
Date: December 18, 2008

Comments

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32 thoughts on “Volvo XC90

  1. Bradley Malagas says:

    Good afternoon, anyone know which transmission is comparable with 4T65E in the XC 90 2003 model.
    I’m in Australia. I need to fix tranny which has gone apparently, but I’m not forking out a kidney to fix. Would appreciate any help.
    Cheers

  2. 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?

  3. 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

  4. 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?

  5. 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).

    Symptoms:
    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.

  6. 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 .

    Thanks

    EOjito

  7. 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
    thanks
    mr ekene onyenjoro
    +24107281505

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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?

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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