2014 Volvo XC90 Rating Breakdown
2014 volvo xc90
EPA est City/Hwy
16/25
Starting at
$39,700
Engine
3.2L I6
Power
240 hp

Starting at

$39,700

Engine

3.2L I6

Power

240 hp

City/Hwy

16/25

Seats

7


The Car Connection Expert Review
Bengt Halvorson

Bengt Halvorson

Deputy Editor

DISLIKES
  • Unimpressive fuel economy
  • Secure, but not nimble
  • Tight third-row seat
  • Dated instrument panel design
volvo xc90 2014

An aged look puts some distance even between the XC90 and newer Volvos.

The Volvo XC90 has essentially gone unchanged since its debut in 2003, making it one of the oldest crossover designs on the road today. Even so, it still looks reasonable fresh, due in part to a handful of minor refreshes over the years.

Thanks to mild updates for the 2013 model year, the XC90 continues to look current in today's luxury crossover segment. There are front and rear body-colored bumpers, updated side molding, silk-matte side mirrors and standard LED daytime running lights.

There also are white interior lights–rather than previous models' minty green–as well as silver or red wood inlays, but there's no question that the XC90 shows its age most from the inside. Volvo's 'floating' center stack found on other models isn't present–there's just a two-tone instrument panel instead.

An aged look puts some distance even between the XC90 and newer Volvos.

Competent handling is on the mark, but there's nothing here to get excited about.

The 2014 Volvo XC90 isn't exciting to drive, but it's not necessarily meant to be. Instead, it's a confident all-weather performer that keeps family comfort and convenience in mind.

There's only one drivetrain available: a 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It's available as either front- or all-wheel drive, and there's a Haldex 'Instant Traction' option available for the all-wheel-drive system.

In general, the XC90's powertrain feels lively and smooth, with strong pulling power and an engine that's happy to sing up the rev range. Unfortunately the handling doesn't feel the same way; it's responsive enough, but never engaging, and you'll be aware of the XC's heft. But it's a safe handler and never feels unstable or tipsy, even with riders in the third row.

Competent handling is on the mark, but there's nothing here to get excited about.

The XC90 spawned a generation of sedans and crossovers, and its comfort and space are still competitive.

The 2014 Volvo XC90 may be one of the smaller seven-seat vehicles on the market today, but it's focused on passenger comfort, thanks to its car-based design. That makes it a solid choice for shoppers who might otherwise choose a minivan or truck-based SUV for their family-hauling needs.

Comfort itself is great, thanks to good ride quality, with less pitchiness and side-to-side motion than in many other crossovers, and cabin materials are impressive, providing plenty of pleasing soft-touch materials, even though they're a little stark at first glance. For 2013, XC90 Premier Plus and Platinum models get softer Sovereign hide seating surfaces as standard equipment.

The front two row of seats live up to Volvo's reputation for exceptional comfort that won't leave you achy after a day's worth of driving. It's easy to get in and out of the XC90, too, thanks to its wide door openings and tall ride height.

The third row, while it's doable for adults—and it definitely works for those occasions when you need another position to get another couple of children home from practice—isn't all that spacious. Entry and exit to the third row is more the issue than the space itself, as the second-row seats can be adjusted forward to help. Fold the third row forward, and cargo space can be expanded to a flat 85 cubic feet.

The XC90 spawned a generation of sedans and crossovers, and its comfort and space are still competitive.

It's been an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but the XC90 hasn't been tested lately by the NHTSA.

As safety has become more and more important to shoppers in recent years, the national organizations that rate vehicle safety have designed more rigorous tests to make vehicles safer than ever. Even so, Volvo has essentially owned the torch for car safety for decades now.

The XC90's IIHS Top Safety Pick status has gotten even better for 2014, as it's been subjected to the small-overlap test that now gives it the Top Safety Pick+ designation. The federal government still hasn't tested the XC90 under its revised test method, though.

So what separates Volvo models like the XC90 today? You can be sure that the XC90's structure and features as as protective as its rivals, and even though this is hardly a fresh design Volvo has made sure that there's an impressive set of safety features—including front side and side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, stability and traction control, roll-stability control, rollover mitigation, and finally, rear park assist. The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which warns of vehicles in the blind spot by flashing indicator lights within the cabin, is available.

It's been an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but the XC90 hasn't been tested lately by the NHTSA.


Luxury and convenience features are on par with the crossover class--and should be, at these prices.

The Volvo XC90 has added features and equipment over the years, and despite the vehicle's aging design, the new technology has made the SUV a seemingly better and better value over time.

The XC90 goes mostly unchanged for 2014. Last year, it received standard LED taillights and daytime running lights, headlight washers, rain-sensing wipers, a new trims and finishes. Bluetooth hands-free connectivity is standard on all versions of the XC90, as is Sirius Satellite Radio. There's also standard leather seating, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and keyless entry.

Premier Plus and Platinum editions add more equipment, and a Climate Package brings heated front seats and an upgraded climate system. The Premier Plus gets active dual xenon headlights, a garage-door opener, and other upgrades, while the Platinum adds rear park assist and premium sound. A dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system remains available, while the optional navigation system comes with real-time traffic and a rear park-assist camera. Heated front and rear seats, massage and ventilated front seats, and other appearance upgrades can be had with Premier Plus and Platinum models. Below those, there's also a sporty R-Design package that nets you a number of cool items such as sports seats, brushed aluminum trim, and a fresh "Ixion" wheel design.

Luxury and convenience features are on par with the crossover class--and should be, at these prices.

Gas mileage isn't anything special with the XC90.

The Volvo XC90 isn't what we'd call a gas-sipper. If one of your top priorities is excellent mileage, you might want to steer over to the likes of the Lexus RX 450h or Mercedes-Benz ML 350 BlueTEC; both of those models go significantly further per gallon while offering a comparable amount of space (though neither has three-row seating).

With that in mind, the 2014 Volvo XC90 isn't a gas-guzzler, either. According to the EPA, the XC90’s fuel economy is listed at 16/23 mpg city/highway, and 19 mpg combined, though we've noticed those figures can easily deteriorate with even a little hard driving.

Opting for the all-wheel-drive model decreases the highway fuel economy by 2 mpg, and we recommend it for this system's excellent snowy-weather ability.

Gas mileage isn't anything special with the XC90.


Fuel Economy Information

Ratings Based on 6 cyl, 3.2 L, 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic

19

Combined

5.3 gals/100 miles

16

City


25

Highway

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