21 Best & Worst Volvo XC90 Years (With Pictures & Stats)

The Volvo XC90 is a premium, three-row midsize SUV that has been in production since 2003. 

It blends Scandinavian cool, handsome styling and a practical design to create a unique option in the luxury SUV segment.

In this article, we’ll dive into its best and worst years.

2023 Volvo XC90

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Volvo XC90 Are:

The best Volvo XC90 model years are 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2009. The worst model years of this model are 2003, 2004, 2005, 2016, 2017, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Volvo XC90?

2024 and 2023 Volvo XC90

The 2024 and 2023 XC90s are top picks – they are part of the second generation introduced for 2016 and have the latest Google-based infotainment system that includes Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play.

They are praised for their high-quality interior, plethora of safety tech, and versatile interior.

There are a total of 3 trim levels: Core, Plus, and Ultimate.

These 3 trim levels can be broken down into 3 powertrains:

  • B5 – mild hybrid with a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine; 247 horsepower
  • B6 – same engine as the B5 but with more power; 295 horsepower
  • Recharge T8 – plug-in hybrid variant with an electric motor powering the rear wheels; combined output of 455 horsepower

Base pricing of all variants ranges from approximately $57,000 to $81,000.

2023 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 3.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 5.0 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 76 / 100

2023 XC90, Edmunds Review:

“XC 90 Inscription hit all the key features that we were looking for and more without the outward appearance of high-end luxury. It is just a Volvo (not a Mercedes or BMW)! Comfort was the first consideration. The driving experience, visibility, heads up display and lane keeping make longer drives a breeze…”

2022, 2021, and 2020 Volvo XC90

If you are not too concerned about having the latest Google-based tech, then the 2020 – 2022 models are all solid picks and there are no major differences between them.

These models have elegant interior and exterior styling, precise handling, and spacious second-row and third-row seating. 

For 2020 the XC90 received a light refresh of the exterior, revisions to the suspension and brakes for enhanced comfort and smoothness, and an available 6-seat option for the Momentum and Inscription models.

The T8 plug-in hybrid was rebranded as Recharge for 2021.

Based on owners’ reviews online, these are the highlights of these models: comfort, appearance, interior, seating, safety, reliability, manufacturing quality, and spaciousness. 

2022 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 3.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 5.0 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 76 / 100

2021 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 74 / 100

2020 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 75 / 100

2020 XC90, Edmunds Review:

“We bought the XC90 T8 6 Seat Inscription. So much has changed since our 2013 XC90 was manufactured. Compared to the previous interior, Volvo has truly stepped up the design and you now feel like you’re in a true luxury car. The seats are very comfortable, the leather is supple and the inlays and trim are elegant. The shift knob is made of Swedish Crystal which is an elegant touch. The exterior styling is, in my opinion, at the top of the competitors…”

2019 Volvo XC90

Related: Volvo XC90 Snow and Winter Driving (Solved & Explained)

2019 and 2018 Volvo XC90

The 2019 and 2018 XC90 model years are the final and best installments of the second generation.

They are stylish inside and out and come with a plethora of driver assistance features.

New for 2018 is standard adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, as well as standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

For 2019 the base AWD models received heated seats and four-zone climate control and the R-Design and Inscription models feature a crisp Harman Kardon stereo.

The 4 main trims for these models are Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and Excellence.

Any of these trims can be availed of in 3 engine choices: the gas-powered T5 and T6 variants and the PHEV T8 version.

2019 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 3.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 75 / 100

2018 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 77 / 100

2018 XC90, Edmunds Review:

“I purchased the 2018 XC90 T8 Inscription in August 2017. After a couple of software/battery issues which required the car to be towed in the first year of ownership I am happy to report that I am now passing the 3 year mark with no other issues. This car is beautiful and luxurious on the inside. The seats are incredibly comfortable. The voice recognition is not great for the phone but it works well enough…”

2018 Volvo XC90

2014, 2013, and 2012 Volvo XC90

The 2012, 2013 and 2014 XC90’s are excellent alternatives to the pricey luxury family SUVs from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. These models are the final installments of the 1st generation and have an excellent track record for reliability.

For 2013 the XC90 received a mild refresh that introduced a monotone paint scheme, LED running/taillights and exterior headlight washers. The cabin was also updated with touches of redwood and a leather strap for closing the tailgate.

Apart from that these models are essentially the same.

They have an upscale and stylish interior, supportive front seats, and confidence-inspiring handling.

EPA estimates are 19 MPG for combined city and highway driving.

2014 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 76 / 100

2013 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 72 / 100

2012 Volvo XC90:

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 70 / 100

2012 XC90, Edmunds Review:

“I have had one for four days now and I absolutely love it. I can not find anything to criticize about the car. You pay for what you get and I feel every option was worth the price. The Volvo drives rock steady on the road and I feel the engine is adequate. I had some concerns about the 6 cylinder but it does the job…”

2013 Volvo XC90

2010 Volvo XC90

The 2010 XC90 has received exemplary owner reviews and is highly reliable. A mere 15 complaints have been filed out of 11,500 vehicle sales according to NHTSA data.

It also has perfect crash test scores, a swanky cabin and a smooth ride.

There are three trims which are named according to the engine – 3.2, 3.2R and V8.

New for 2010 are a standard third-row seats, improvements to ride and handling due to chassis tweaks, and standard rear park assist. 

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 70 / 100

2010 XC90, Edmunds Review:

“We just bought our AWD XC90 and are very happy so far. Reviews of the add ons (like NAV and entertainment packages) helped us decide not to purchase these features. The safety features are unparalleled, especially at this price. It feels like you are driving a real vehicle instead of a plastic toy. Ride is smooth and much quieter than the Durango SLT Plus we traded in…”

2009 Volvo XC90

Prior to 2009 owner complaints were notably higher although Volvo managed to iron out the kinks for this model, it is one of the least problematic XC90’s produced based on NHTSA data.

Introduced for this model year is the R-Design trim level that comes with larger wheels, sportier suspension tuning, sharper steering, exclusive leather upholstery, and distinct styling cues.

A new ultra-luxurious executive package is now an option, as well as a Galateia 19-inch wheel package for the Base trim to add more flare and improved power steering. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 73 / 100

2009 XC90, Edmunds Review:

“This is my second Volvo XC90 (just traded in my ’08 after driving it for two years). I’m surprised that there are not more reviews on this car because we really love ours. Our ’08 was t-boned by a driver who ran a red light. I had my two children (5 & 9) in the back seat & none of us suffered any injuries. The other driver totaled his car & suffered from whiplash & minor back injuries. This car is a tank…”

2009 Volvo XC90

Consumer Scores For Best Volvo XC90 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
J.D. Power
Consumer Rating
2024 Volvo XC90
2023 Volvo XC903.4 / 5.05.0 / 5.076 / 100
2022 Volvo XC903.6 / 5.05.0 / 5.076 / 100
2021 Volvo XC904.0 / 5.04.1 / 5.074 / 100
2020 Volvo XC904.2 / 5.04.1 / 5.075 / 100
2019 Volvo XC903.6 / 5.04.1 / 5.075 / 100
2018 Volvo XC903.5 / 5.04.1 / 5.077 / 100
2014 Volvo XC904.3 / 5.04.1 / 5.076 / 100
2013 Volvo XC904.3 / 5.04.1 / 5.072 / 100
2012 Volvo XC904.2 / 5.04.1 / 5.070 / 100
2010 Volvo XC904.5 / 5.04.1 / 5.070 / 100
2009 Volvo XC904.2 / 5.04.1 / 5.073 / 100

Related: 6 Most Common Volvo XC90 Problems (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Volvo XC90?

2003, 2004, and 2005 Volvo XC90

The 2003, 2004, and 2005 XC90 models are the most problematic models and it is no coincidence they are also the first models produced – typically these are the most problematic as it’s the first time they are tested en-masse.

CarComplaints.com awarded the 2004 model the infamous “Beware Of The Clunker Award” although we’d advise steering clear of the 2003 and 2005 models too.

These models were highly prone to transmission failure, these usually occurred well before the 100,000-mile mark.

“Transmission failed at 30,000 miles, no unusual circumstances and car well maintained. Transmission failed again at 46,000 miles. Replaced again by dealership. Car not yet at 50,000 miles already showing signs of transmission problems again.” – NHTSA.gov

“Transmission failure at 50,000 miles. There were no warning indicators or prior problems with transmission. Dealer advised just an internal failure.” – NHTSA.gov

A huge number of complaints were filed under the “Electrical System” category, with many owners reporting that the car would shut off electrics whilst driving.

“I had this problem a few times a year ago and now it has returned. I was driving my car at night in the rain on a two lane freeway when all of a sudden I lost the headlights, dash lights, speedometer, radio, power windows, electric transmission, and much more function of the car.” – NHTSA.gov

“While driving at any speed the vehicles electrical system completely shuts down without warning as if the vehicle was off. The engine stays running with very minimal power.” – NHTSA.gov

Engine problems were widespread too due to a balancer shaft defect, a component designed to suppress secondary vibrations. This led to costly repairs upward of $3000.

“Volvo is aware of the balancer shaft defect that causing a very pricey and serious problem.” – NHTSA.gov

“The balancer bearing and shaft on the 2005 Volvo Xc90 SUV is defective in the first 6000 vehicles manufactured for that model year. The balancer shaft bearing can go bad at any time without warning, causing catastrophic engine damage.” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2003 XC90 had a total of 2 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 149 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2004 XC90 had a total of 24 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 659 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2005 XC90 had a total of 19 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 289 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Premature tire wear
  • Loss of all electrical power
  • Engine failure
  • Transmission failure
  • Sudden loss of power
  • Clogged sunroof drain
  • Transmission clicking sound
2004 Volvo XC90

2016 and 2017 Volvo XC90

The 2016 and 2017 XC90s are the second-most problematic batch of models. They saw a huge spike in complaints due to engine problems, one of which was a cracked coolant line.

“Engine coolant line leaking from a faulty coolant pipe. Which can potentially cause fire.” – NHTSA.gov

“Main cooling system hose burst while driving down the road. Volvo dealer said extremely rare for this to occur. Car overheated, all warning lights appeared and coolant exploded under hood all while driving.” – NHTSA.gov

Engine complaints didn’t stop there, numerous owners also reported excessive oil consumption which has been linked to piston defects.

“Engine oil consumption issue. Engine is consuming a quart of oil every 1,500 miles.” – NHTSA.gov

“Driving at highway speed and a sudden loss of power. Vehicle has a history oil consumption. Seems that engine has a major defect. Waiting on a second estimate, seems a known catastrophic issue with pistons issue causing major engine work or possible replacement.” – NHTSA.gov

“Our car has shut down in the middle of traffic due to the oil going from full to empty in a few hundred miles.” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2016 XC90 had a total of 41 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 219 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2017 XC90 had a total of 5 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 62 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Lost all power while driving
  • Auto braking system malfunction
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Sunroof drains clogged
  • Check engine light on
  • Emissions test failure
  • Coolant leaks
  • Touch screen stopped working
  • Heater not working properly
2017 Volvo XC90

2006, 2007, and 2008 Volvo XC90

While the 2006, 2007, and 2008 XC90 models were fortunate enough not to have the transmission-related issues of their direct predecessors, they did have a few electrical issues that have been linked to water leakage and water getting into the BCM.

Various reports have stated problems with the following:

  • Malfunctioning driver’s side seat controls
  • Loss of steering control
  • Display flickering
  • Malfunctioning lights (turn signal indicators, headlights, tail lights, and interior lights)

“While driving through the neighborhood, suddenly the following warnings appeared: the dash completely shut off, all instruments zeroed out, the auto a/c shut off, my windows and locks stopped working the radio turned off.” – NHTSA.gov

“Owned car 2nd hand for 2 years now. The past 2 weeks my turning signal, drivers side mirrors, interior lights, display counsel flashes on and off. Especially when I use turning signal.” – NHTSA.gov

“Water leaking from an unknown place gathering in passenger side floor! causing many electrical problems!” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2006 XC90 had a total of 9 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 66 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2007 XC90 had a total of 6 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 53 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2008 XC90 had a total of 2 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 41 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Engine failure
  • Parking brake ineffective
  • Glare from windshield
  • Jerking
  • Very loud road noise
  • Key stuck in ignition
  • Vehicle would not start
  • EOC unit failure
2008 Volvo XC90

2011 Volvo XC90

The 2011 XC90 was the least problematic model year on this list however it did receive a small number of engine-related complaints.

Owners reported the check engine warning indicator coming on, delayed acceleration, issues with the serpentine belt, and engine stalling.

“The contact owns a 2011 Volvo Xc90. The contact stated that the check engine warning lights were illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to a local dealer. The manufacturer was informed of the failure and suggested that the vehicle be taken to a dealer to be diagnosed. The failure mileage was approximately 128,000.” – NHTSA.gov

“From the beginning this vehicle has delayed acceleration, very dangerous to drive when pulling out in front of on-coming traffic, or making left hand turn with on-coming traffic.” – NHTSA.gov

“The problem is exactly as described in the NHTSA campaign number: 10v579000 my car stalled and check engine light came on as transmission went into protection mode.” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2004 XC90 had a total of 2 complaints according to CarComplaints.com and 29 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Leather seats deteriorating
  • Lags, surges then stalls while driving

Related: How Long Do Volvo XC90 Last? (12 Important Facts)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2024 Volvo XC90
2023 Volvo XC900162
2022 Volvo XC900192
2021 Volvo XC900174
2020 Volvo XC902135
2019 Volvo XC901125
2018 Volvo XC903302
2017 Volvo XC905626
2016 Volvo XC90412197
2014 Volvo XC90150
2013 Volvo XC903130
2012 Volvo XC90160
2011 Volvo XC902291
2010 Volvo XC901153
2009 Volvo XC900111
2008 Volvo XC902413
2007 Volvo XC906532
2006 Volvo XC909663
2005 Volvo XC90192896
2004 Volvo XC90246596
2003 Volvo XC9021495

What Problems Do Volvo XC90s Have?

  • Lost all power while driving
  • Premature tire wear
  • Transmission failure
  • Auto braking system malfunction
  • Sunroof drains clogged
  • Check engine light on
  • Emissions test failure
  • Touch screen stopped working
  • Heater not working properly
  • Burns oil
  • Dead battery
  • Windshield leaks
  • Sudden loss of power
  • Engine failure
  • Transmission clicking sound
  • Parking brake ineffective
  • Glare from windshield
  • Jerking
  • Very loud road noise
  • Key stuck in ignition
  • Vehicle would not start

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Volvo XC90?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class8.6$57,700 – $83,850City: 16 – 20 /Highway: 21 – 25
BMW X58.5$61,600 – $85,400Electric: 50 /Gas: 18 – 23
Porsche Cayenne8.5$72,200 – $188,700City: 14 – 19 /Highway: 19 – 23
Genesis GV808.4$57,450 – $81,500City: 18 – 20 /Highway: 23 – 24
Lincoln Nautilus8.4$44,825 – $67,245City: 19 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 26
Land Rover Range Rover Sport8.3$83,000 – $121,500City: 16 – 19 /Highway: 21 – 26
Lincoln Aviator8.3$53,340 – $80,725City: 17 – 18 /Highway: 24 – 26
Audi Q78.2$59,200 – $64,800City: 18 – 19 /Highway: 22 – 25
Volvo XC908.2$56,000 – $69,700City: 20 – 22 /Highway: 26 – 28
Audi Q88.1$72,800 City: 18 /Highway: 23
Land Rover Range Rover Velar8.0$60,300 – $79,200City: 19 – 20 /Highway: 25 – 26
Land Rover Discovery7.9$58,400 – $77,800City: 19 /Highway: 22 – 25

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: Where are Volvo XC90 Made (Solved & Explained)












  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...