2013 Volvo XC90 Review
The 2013 Volvo XC90 offers outstanding safety scores, but test drivers say its underwhelming engine, outdated tech features and cramped back seats can’t keep pace with its rivals.
The XC90 has a standard six-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive on all trims. All-wheel drive is optional. Auto writers think the XC90’s engine lacks the gusto of many rivals and critics are disappointed with its lack of steering feel. While they note that the XC90’s comfortable ride will suit most drivers, one critic prefers the R-Design model’s sportier suspension and firmer ride. Both front- and all-wheel drive models get an EPA-estimated 16/23 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class, but trails the Lexus RX 350. Keep in mind that the XC90's reliability score is below average for the class.
Inside, auto writers say the seven-seat Volvo XC90 is well-built, and has plush, supportive front seats, but many critics find that the second- and third-row seats are a squeeze for adults. They point out that the third-row seats should be left to children and even then, are difficult to access. The auto press says the Volvo XC90’s optional navigation system is a bit outdated when compared to more contemporary SUVs and has oddly-placed controls that are difficult to learn how to use. Likewise, reviewers say the audio controls are difficult to master. While the 2013 XC90 has ample cargo space, writers are highly disappointed with the 8.8 cubic feet of space that's available when all seats are in use.
- "Although the 2013 Volvo XC90 remains a fairly competent luxury crossover SUV, more modern rivals might prove more appealing." -- Edmunds
- "With seating for seven, a generous offering of standard equipment and a full complement of safety features, the XC90 is a great fit for parents who consider safety and versatility as top priorities in their next SUV purchase." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Still, XC90 feels rather dated, with design quirks (like its oddball control setup) that are not present on more modern competitors. It's worth a look if Volvo's reputation for safety and surprisingly good warranty are high on your priority list, but there are better choices for the money when it comes to refinement and driving enjoyment." -- Consumer Guide
Other SUVs to Consider
The Acura MDX is a smart choice because of its good safety scores and high reliability rating. The MDX has slightly lower fuel economy estimates, but also comes standard with all-wheel drive and a significantly more powerful engine The MDX seats up to seven, and reviewers like its high-tech interior, but say its third-row seats are cramped like the XC90’s.
You should consider the Volkswagen Touareg if you’re looking for an SUV with comfortable seating for five. The Touareg has comparable safety scores and reliability to the XC90, but reviewers have more positive things to say about its interior space and comfort. The Touareg’s base engine is more powerful than the XC90’s and there is also a fuel-efficient turbo diesel V6 available.
Details: 2013 Volvo XC90
The 2013 Volvo XC90 comes in two models: 3.2 and 3.2 R-Design, with each offered in base, premier plus or platinum trims. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on all trims. For 2013, the XC90 has a refreshed exterior and now has standard rain-sensing windshield wipers. The XC90 doesn’t have many significant changes for 2013, and as a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from model years 2007 through 2013.