Buying Guide

2012 Volvo XC90

Fair Market Price $18,622 3.2 FWD


16 City / 23 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

NA / 85.1 cu. ft.



Volvo’s largest crossover has seen few changes in the past several years and looks due for a major update. The quick and smooth 4.4-liter V-8 that was an option for the 2011 XC90 is gone, leaving only a 3.2-liter straight six paired with a six-speed automatic. Either front- or all-wheel drive can be specified. Although not as spacious as some large SUVs, the XC90 comes standard with seating for seven–including a second-row booster seat–and plenty of space for cargo. The 3.2 R-Design gets a sport-tuned suspension, speed-sensitive steering, and twenty-inch aluminum wheels, but there’s no sign of the 3.0-liter turbo six found in the R-Design S60 and XC60. Although the XC90 is a relative bargain when compared with most of its competition, it suffers from outdated technology and poor fuel economy. The six-cylinder is rated at 16 mpg around town and 23 mpg on the highway–not really much worse than some of its competitors–but it doesn’t offer a diesel or hybrid option for buyers who put a high priority on fuel efficiency. Volvo has piled on the safety features, including blind-spot monitoring and roll stability control, but due to the XC90’s age, it misses out on Volvo’s newest safety innovations, including City Safety. A new XC90 can’t come soon enough.

Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

Trim levels: 3.2, 3.2 Premier, 3.2 Premier Plus,

3.2 Platinum, 3.2 R-Design, 3.2 R-Design Premier Plus, 3.2 R-Design Platinum

Body style: SUV/crossover, 7-passenger

Engine: 3.2L I-6, 240 hp, 236 lb-ft

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Passenger volume: 102.4 cu ft

Capacities: Towing 3300 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 8.8/43.3/85.1 cu ft

Bluetooth with audio streaming capability is now standard. Premier, Premier Plus, and Platinum are new trim-level designations. Premier Plus includes a walnut-trimmed shift knob and active dual xenon headlights. Platinum adds a premium sound system and a navigation system with a backup camera. The R-Design gets twenty-inch aluminum wheels and active bixenon headlights. The V-8 has been dropped.

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and tire-pressure monitoring are standard. A blind-spot monitoring system is optional.

All: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway

  • Big on safety
  • Priced below competitors
  • Mediocre fuel economy
  • Outdated technology

Volvo’s first SUV is starting to show its age.

  • Acura MDX
  • Buick Enclave
  • Lexus GX460
  • Mercedes-Benz GL-class

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