The Volvo XC90, which is a large three-row crossover from the Swedish automaker, has been a hit since it debuted in 2003. It is Volvo’s best-selling model in the U.S. The 2012 Volvo XC90 returns in its tenth model year with a mild refresh. Both the interior and exterior have received changes.
For 2012, the XC90 adds LED daytime running lamps, lower silver trim on the bumper, and new 18-inch wheels. On the inside, the model gets new gauges, aluminum trim, a new three-spoke wheel, and Bluetooth streaming audio. The model also offers a new mobile application for Android and iPhone users.
The 2012 XC90 is offered in just two trim lines: the 3.2 and the 3.2 R-Design. Those seeking a sportier look should go with the R-design. This trim offers new 19-inch wheels and redesigned upholstery, inlays, and door panels. A variety of different option packages are available on both trims.
The 2012 XC90 3.2 has a starting MSRP of $38,400. This is unchanged from 2011. The 3.2 R-Design starts at $41,200. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard across all trim lines. A power moonroof, leather seats, rear park assist, third-row climate control, and an integrated second-row booster seat come standard in all trim lines. However, an MP3 player, DVD player, and navigation system are all optional features.
The biggest change for 2012 is that the XC90 has dropped the Yamaha sourced 4.4-liter 311 horsepower V8 engine offered in XC90 from 2005-2011. This model had poor fuel economy of 14-mpg city and 21-mpg highway. It started at a price of $48,000 and a navigation system was optional.
The XC90 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine lags nearly all of its competitors in terms of power and is only in fuel economy. The engine produces 240 horsepower and has EPA estimated fuel economy of 16-mpg city and 23-mpg highway. Highway fuel economy improved 1-mpg from 2011.
Even with the 240 horsepower engine, the model is rated to tow 5,000 pounds. The 2012 XC90 has a 0-60 time of about 9 seconds, which is below average for its class.
All XC90s come with front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive. Third row seating is standard. The XC90s 85.1 cubic feet of cargo room with the seats folded down is slightly less than the 2012 Honda Pilot. Interior head room and leg room is spacious.
As expected from a brand known for its safety, the XC90 was on the list of safest 2011 SUVs from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The XC90 is a capable, comfortable, luxury SUV in the $40,000 price range. All 2012 XC90s are built in Sweden. Its competitors include the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, and Mazda CX-9.