What Are The Best & Worst Years For The Volvo XC90? [My Honest Review]

Volvo has a history of making luxury cars and SUVs known for their safety, comfort, and performance.

The Volvo XC90 is a mid-sized luxury SUV designed for families. This SUV has a large cargo area and offers a lot of performance under the hood.

The Volvo XC90 is an SUV that comes with a hefty price tag. So, when you’re contemplating buying a model, you want to ensure you’re getting the most for your money—and that means getting the right year model.

If you are reading this article, then you are in luck. I have compiled a list of the best and worst years for Volvo XC90 for you to read about. Let’s take a look at them.

Worst Years for Volvo XC90:

  1. 2004
  2. 2005
  3. 2006
  4. 2007
  5. 2016

Best Years for Volvo XC90:

  1. 2009
  2. 2012
  3. 2015
  4. 2019
  5. 2021

Each model has been completely different in terms of quality and reliability. Let’s find out all these models in more details.

What Are The Worst Years For The Volvo XC90? Which Years To Avoid

No time will be wasted on this article. I will be discussing the worst models of the Volvo XC90 first, so you can remain aware when searching for one.

1. 2004 Volvo XC90

The 2004 Volvo XC90 is the oldest model on this list. It’s also one of the most complained-about models in this study, with issues from loss of power to complete transmission failure reported most often.

It’s not hard to see why. The XC90 has been around for nearly 20 years! That’s impressive, but it also means that you might be driving around with an SUV that could be prone to serious problems.

The biggest issue with the 2004 Volvo XC90 model is that its check engine light will often remain on—signaling a serious issue with your car.

With no clear indication of what is wrong, owners could spend money on things that don’t need fixing.

Overall, this model is not worth considering. It has too many issues and is too old at this point.

2. 2005 Volvo XC90

The 2005 Volvo XC90 is a vehicle you should avoid at all costs. This model has been reported to have had several problems.

Complete engine failure was commonly reported, which can only be fixed by replacing it entirely. That is extremely costly.

Transmission failure was also very common with this model of the XC90. Owners reported that the transmission would also produce a clicking sound, which is not normal.

The SUV also occasionally doesn’t start when you turn the key. This last issue is usually traced back to an electrical issue with the battery or starter motor.

If you’re considering buying a 2005 Volvo XC90 model, I recommend you look elsewhere for something to be your daily driver.

3. 2006 Volvo XC90

The 2006 Volvo XC90 came a year later with no real improvements. Although the XC90 had a lot of great features, it was plagued by numerous problems.

Engine failure was reported by many users, which is something no one wants. The issue can be alleviated by a complete engine replacement, which costs a lot.

The parking brake would not hold, which is dangerous, especially if you need to pull over quickly and avoid an obstacle.

There were also reports of the battery being completely drained, which led to the SUV being unable to start.

Overall, the 2006 XC90 is an SUV that should not be considered.

Unless you are looking to spend thousands of dollars on repairs, you should consider another model of the SUV, which is actually dependable.

4. 2007 Volvo XC90

The 2007 Volvo XC90 is not a model that I would recommend considering.

The gear would not go into the park, which meant the SUV could not be stopped. This is very dangerous and annoying.

The transmission also had problems. Although no failures were reported, the transmission would jerk when shifting gears.

This makes the driving experience very uncomfortable. The seals were poorly designed. Water leaks into the interior of the SUV as a result of this poor design.

So, you cannot take your SUV out into the rain or in a car wash because water will enter the cabin.

The 2007 model is better than its predecessors, but I don’t think you should consider it. There are much better options out there.

5. 2016 Volvo XC90

It shocked everyone when the 2016 Volvo XC90 came out, which was the worst model of all. This one was filled with issues, making using it nearly impossible.

The auto braking system would malfunction, with brakes squealing and emitting a strange noise.

The battery would not charge properly, and the alarm system would fail. These electrical issues are very annoying. It does not end there.

The audio system would also fail, so you couldn’t listen to your favorite tunes while driving in this great car.

The 2016 Volvo XC90 model was supposed to be a hit, but it ended up being a total flop! It took owners by complete surprise. Volvo did improve in the upcoming years.

What Are The Best Years For The Volvo XC90? Which Years To Buy

I am finally done with the worst models. This section will talk, in detail, about all the models of the XC90 that don’t have any downsides.

Let’s take a look at the good side of the Volvo XC90 too.

1. 2009 Volvo XC90

The 2007 model was pretty bad—but only two years later, in 2009, one of the best models was released. The 2009 Volvo XC90 is a great SUV.

It has a powerful V8 engine that will easily get you wherever you need to go. The interior is filled with safety features that help you avoid accidents in the first place.

And it’s comfortable too—you’ll feel like you’re driving on clouds! And when you do have an accident? Well, those safety features will come in handy.

The 2009 Volvo XC90 model shows its age now, but you can get it cheaply. It is worth the price, and you will love it as a daily driver.

2. 2012 Volvo XC90

The 2012 Volvo XC90 is a good SUV. It’s not the best in its class, but it’s solid. The XC90 has ample seating space for seven people, which is more than enough for most families.

It gets up to 23 mpg fuel economy, so it won’t cost you an arm and a leg at the pump. And the engine can produce up to 240 HP, which is more than enough for most drivers.

It’s not as luxurious as some other models on this list, but if you’re looking for something that gets great gas mileage and has roomy seats, this might be the right choice!

3. 2015 Volvo XC90

The 2015 Volvo XC90 model year is an excellent vehicle and has been loved by many users.

The interior of the SUV has high-quality materials and is very comfortable, so you can get a good travel experience.

Moreover, the cargo space of the SUV is 451 liters, which means that you will be able to carry many things in your SUV without any problem.

This model also has good handling and a stable body to drive it safely on the road. Thanks to its control, you can make sharp turns with ease.

Overall, the 2015 model of the Volvo XC90 is excellent, and you will certainly enjoy driving it.

4. 2019 Volvo XC90

The 2019 Volvo XC90 is a great choice for those who want an SUV similar to the 2015 model but has had some updates.

Its exterior has an elegant design, and its interior is made of high-quality materials. It also has many safety features, making the driving experience incredibly safe.

There are also PHV variants available if you want to drive around on electric power alone or in combination with a gas engine.

This can allow you to get excellent fuel economy. You can go 17 miles in an all-electric fashion! That is pretty cool.

Overall, the 2019 Volvo XC90 model is an amazing SUV, and you will certainly love it.

5. 2021 Volvo XC90

The 2021 Volvo XC90 is one of the latest models of the SUV. Although it has a similar shape to the 2015 model, it does not look outdated.

Moreover, the interior is excellent, and there is plenty of space for passengers and luggage.

The drive is amazing, thanks to the engine, which can produce up to 400HP power.

This means that it can reach high speeds in a matter of seconds. The 2021 Volvo XC90 is the true definition of a luxury midsize SUV.

It checks all the right boxes and is also one of the lowest complaints about the model in the history of this SUV. So, you cannot go wrong with it.

How Reliable Is A Volvo XC90?

The Volvo XC90 is one of the most reliable SUVs on the market.

If you’re looking for a new SUV, chances are you will be in the market for something powerful and comfortable. Then the XC90 is perfect for you.

It has an amazing drive and will last you for a long time. This does not apply to all models of the SUV. But most of them are pretty good.

How Long Do Volvo XC90s Last?

The Volvo XC90 is a luxury SUV with a reputation for being built to last.

With proper maintenance, it’s possible to drive your Volvo XC90 for 200,000 to 250,000 miles before you need to replace it.

Now, this number is not guaranteed for every single owner, and let me tell you why. How you drive your SUV and maintain it can influence how much it can be driven.

What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 cannot take care of itself. You need to step in to ensure its needs are fulfilled. Yes, this is indeed true.

This section will look at what can be done to improve the reliability and lengthen the lifespan of this luxury SUV.

  • The Volvo XC90 has an oil change interval of 5,000 miles, so it’s important to stick to this schedule if you want the best performance from your engine.
  • Checking your tire pressure regularly will help avoid blowouts and other tire problems.
  • Wash your XC90 regularly and keep it free of any dirt or grime. This way, you can keep the condition of the SUV fresh.
  • Replace the air filter every six months to ensure air transfer to and from the engine is not restricted.
  • Check your brake fluid level and pads at least once per year if you drive less than 20,000 miles per year; check them twice per year if you drive more than 20,000 miles per year.

These tips may already be known to you, but they are still important to remember. You should make sure to follow them, so you can get the most out of your Volvo XC90.

Things That Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Volvo XC90

Your Volvo XC90 has a lot of systems, and sometimes those systems can malfunction.

Here are some things that can cause your Volvo XC90 to break down and shorten its lifespan:

  • Poor maintenance. The engine will not run as smoothly and will wear down faster. This is the number one thing that can shorten the lifespan of your Volvo XC90.
  • Using the right tires for your Volvo XC90 is also extremely important. The wrong tires can cause instability and poor handling. This can also cause uneven wear on the suspension system.
  • Not changing your brake pads or rotors when they need replacing – If you let them go too long without being replaced, they won’t be able to stop properly.
  • Driving at high speeds can cause excessive wear and tear on the engine parts.
  • Taking it off-roading. This isn’t a Jeep! Don’t take your Volvo XC90 off-roading—it’s not designed for that kind of abuse.

The XC90 needs special care to ensure it can last for a long time. There are do’s and don’ts which need to be followed to ensure a reliable driving experience.

3 Most Common Volvo XC90 Problems You Should Know

The Volvo XC90 has not had perfect history. It is a vehicle, and vehicles are bound to have issues.

This section will cover three of the most common problems that owners of the Volvo XC90 have had to face over the years.

Let’s get started.

1. Failure of the Electrical System

The electrical system includes ignition, lights, climate control, power windows and locks, and other electrical accessories.

The most common complaint about Volvo XC90 models is the failure of the electrical system.

Faulty wiring, defective relays or fuses, or a faulty battery can cause problems with the electrical system. This issue can lead to a pretty expensive repair.

2. Excessive Oil Consumption

Excessive oil consumption is a common problem with the Volvo XC90. This happens when the engine cannot regulate the rate the oil is used, so you’ll have to top it up often.

Its oil consumption is on par with performance vehicles, and it is not one of them. So, this really is a very annoying issue that can result in quicker wear and tear of the engine.

3. Grinding Or Squeaking Noises While Braking

Another common Volvo XC90 problem is grinding or squeaking noises that come while braking. This can be caused by worn brake pads, which are not replaced often enough.

If you feel like your brakes are making a lot of noise, it’s a good idea to have them checked out by a mechanic.

They can tell if you need new brake pads and, if so, how long until it’s time for those replacements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is Volvo XC90 A Good SUV?

The Volvo XC90 is a good SUV, but it depends on the model you get. Some models are reliable while others are not.

I would recommend you go with a model that’s been around for less than five years, as almost all recent models of the XC90 have been pretty good.

Q2: Do Volvo XC90s Hold Their Value?

After five years of ownership, the average Volvo XC90 retains more than 45% of its original value. That makes it slightly above-average among midsize luxury SUVs.

So, that is pretty good, and it also means that you will not be selling your XC90 at too steep of a loss, even after five years.

Q3: How Many Volvo XC90s Have Been Sold?

Since the introduction of the Volvo XC90, sales have been consistent. In fact, almost every year since its launch, there have been between 30,000 and 40,000 sales.

The highest sales were in 2021 when around 38,000 units were sold. The lowest number of sales was in 2014, when only 4,000 units were sold. That’s a pretty dramatic difference.

Q4: Which Volvo XC90 Engine Is The Most Reliable?

If you’re looking for the most reliable engine in the Volvo XC90, it’s a toss-up between the 2.0L I-4, which is found in the second generation of the SUV.

The engine has a decent fuel economy of 21 mpg. It can produce 316 HP, which is plenty of power for a midsize SUV.

Q5: Is Volvo XC90 Expensive To Maintain?

Volvo XC90 is a luxury SUV, and most luxury SUVs are more expensive to maintain than a car.

However, the XC90 is actually less expensive than the average for luxury SUVs by $3300. This is a pretty big difference. You can expect to pay around $12,359 for the first decade.

Conclusion

The Volvo XC90 has been around for a long time. It’s an SUV that can be used as a family SUV but can be used for a little bit of hauling too.

If you’re looking for a safe and reliable vehicle for your family, then this is the one for you! It checks all the right boxes.

The only thing you need to make sure of is that you get the correct model. This article has done that for you with its list of the best and worst years for Volvo XC90.

Now, all you need to do is choose a model that will be perfect for you. I hope this article played a part in your decision-making about purchasing this amazing SUV.

References:
https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/volvo/xc90/
https://www.whatcar.com/volvo/xc90/4×4/used-review/n17382/advice

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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