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#19

in 2012 Luxury Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $26,761 - $30,814
Original MSRP: $38,400 - $44,300
MPG: 16 City / 23 Hwy
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2012 Volvo XC90 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers say driving the 2012 Volvo XC90 is pretty boring. It no longer offers a V8 option, and reviewers say that the lone inline six-cylinder engine is sluggish. The XC90 certainly isn’t sporty, but at least test drivers say it rides smoothly and comfortably.

  • "Models tested ride firmly but are comfortable and composed.” -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The XC90's 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine produces 240 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Reviewers are disappointed with the engine’s performance, especially since Volvo discontinued the well-liked V8 engine option this year. Front-wheel drive is standard, but shoppers can opt for all-wheel drive.

According to the EPA, both front- and all-wheel drive models get 16/23 mpg city/highway. That’s not great for the class.

  • "The 3.2-liter inline-6 lacks the immediate rush of acceleration generated by some higher-performing power plants, but it has plenty of power and flexibility.” -- New Car Test Drive
  • "XC90 is a large, heavy vehicle. Despite its smoothness, the 6-cylinder engine provides merely adequate acceleration in all situations. The transmission is generally smooth, but some testers complain of slow downshifts.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The … Volvo XC90's base-model 3.2-liter inline-6 struggles noisily to get this heavy vehicle up to speed; it's just not up to the task of propelling nearly 5,000 pounds.” -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

For a large vehicle, most reviewers say the Volvo XC90 handles well, though it definitely isn’t sporty. Its steering gets criticism for its numb feel, but its ride is smooth and relatively composed on most roads. For an SUV with sportier driving dynamics, check out the BMW X5 or the Infiniti FX.

  • "The XC90 is not the sportiest vehicle among luxury-class SUVs, but it handles well on city streets and highways. It rides very comfortably and it's easy to park.” -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Both XC90 models ride quietly and smoothly on the highway, but they're hardly sporty.” -- Edmunds
  • "XC90s move like the tall, heavy wagons they are. The steering is numb and rather slow at any speed, and body lean is marked in quick changes of direction.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Uncommunicative steering at low speeds.” -- Cars.com

Next Steps: 2012 Volvo XC90

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