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#18

in Luxury Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $39,700 - $47,400
Invoice: $37,318 - $44,556
MPG: 16 City / 25 Hwy
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Volvo XC90 Performance

Critics agree that the 2014 Volvo XC90 has poor acceleration for a luxury midsize SUV. Some say that it has communicative steering and agile handling, but others write that the XC90 exhibits too much body lean while turning. Additionally, a few reviewers are let down by the XC90’s numb steering and brake pedal feel.

  • "Behind the wheel, the 2014 Volvo XC90 offers a level of performance that can best be described as adequate." -- Edmunds
  • "We were pleasantly surprised by the 2014 Volvo XC90's strong on-road driving characteristics." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Unfortunately, XC90 handles more like a large, truck-type wagon than a crossover." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Volvo XC90 has a 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine, which is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2014 XC90 gets an EPA-estimated 16/25 mpg city/highway, which is subpar for a luxury midsize SUV. Competitors like the Acura MDX and BMW X5 both use less fuel.

Most automotive journalists feel the six-cylinder engine is underpowered, and they say the XC90 has poor acceleration. Some critics note that the transmission operates smoothly, but a few think that it can be slow to downshift when more power is needed.

  • "Almost any competing luxury crossover SUV offers quicker acceleration, oftentimes with better fuel economy to boot." -- Edmunds
  • "With a 2 ½-ton curb weight and the standard 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, the XC90 can feel slightly underpowered." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The transmission is generally smooth, but some testers complain of slow downshifts." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

The 2014 Volvo XC90 comes with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Test drivers say that the Volvo XC90’s suspension is tuned for comfort, though the available R-Design trim sharpens handling with a sport-tuned suspension. Some say the XC90 corners well, with communicative steering and little body roll. However, others write that the XC90’s handling is less composed than they would like. The XC90 also draws criticism for its numb steering and brake pedal feel, which some reviewers say diminishes driver confidence.

  • "The base XC90's suspension is tuned to favor a comfortable ride over sharp handling, while the firmer sport-tuned suspension that comes standard on R-Design models makes a noticeable improvement in the XC90's demeanor when driving briskly around turns." -- Edmunds
  • "Given its eight inches of ground clearance, we expected more body roll in the curves, but the XC90 happily disagreed. It moves through turns with assuredness and delivers good feedback via the thick-rimmed steering wheel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Lifeless steering and marked body lean are problematic, and this Volvo is susceptible to highway-speed crosswind wander. The brakes don't inspire confidence, owing to non-linear stopping and vague pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/19/14

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