Home » Here’s Why The Original Volvo XC90 Is Still The Best Crossover Of All Time

Here’s Why The Original Volvo XC90 Is Still The Best Crossover Of All Time

Volvo Xc90 Beige Sleeping On Ts Copy
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When you think about it, a good crossover utility vehicle is a difficult thing to build because it has to be good at everything aside from going off-road. It needs to have plenty of passenger and cargo space while not being too big, ride and handle more like a car than an SUV despite a high driving position, be okay on fuel, be safe, be comfortable, be easy to operate, shrug off the abuse of family life, and perhaps even tow small trailers. It’s one hell of a balance to get right, but 22 years ago, lightning struck. Not only did the original Volvo XC90 set the blueprint for the three-row crossover in Europe, it’s also the best crossover of all time. Not even its successor has hit quite the same sweet spot.

However, don’t just take my word for it, take the word of likely the most prolific repeat Volvo XC90 customer in the world — Jeremy Clarkson. In a road test of the current model, he wrote “I’ve had four of them over the years and if I still had children who needed ferrying about with 600 of their closest personal friends, I’d buy another without a moment’s hesitation.” So, what makes the XC90 so special? Let’s find out.

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Welcome back to Beige Cars You’re Sleeping On, a weekly series in which we raise the profile of some quiet greats. We’re talking vehicles that are secretly awesome, but go unsung because of either a boring image or the lack of an image altogether.

At 189.6 inches long in its lengthiest pre-facelift variant, the original XC90 isn’t much larger than today’s crop of compact crossovers. We’re talking 2.75 inches longer than a Volkswagen Tiguan, but that’s just enough space to cram in a useable optional third row of seats and a cargo area just large enough for the school run behind that. We’re talking about 2.1 inches more third-row legroom than a new Toyota Highlander and only three-tenths of an inch less third-row legroom than a gargantuan Mazda CX-90, all in a remarkably compact package. What’s more, because of Volvo’s clever decision to make the third-row seat squab slide into the cargo floor separately, rather than fold each half of the third row as one unit, occupants back there aren’t sitting on the floor and have reasonable seat comfort. No wonder the Ford Flex featured a similar arrangement.

Volvo Xc90 2002 1600 88

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Luggage space with the third row up? A tidy 8.8 cu.-ft. up to the bottom of the rear window, enough to swallow several backpacks thanks to a loadspace depth of 22.6 inches. However, stow the third row, and cargo space opens up to 21.72 cu.-ft. to the remarkably low window line. While that doesn’t sound hugely impressive, a better way of visualizing it compared to today’s high-beltline-equipped crossovers is by using cargo area length. Seven-seat first-generation XC90s have a behind-the-second-row loadspace depth of 49.4 inches, more than ten inches longer than you get in a new Toyota Highlander and even an inch longer than the gargantuan Grand Highlander can offer. If you’ve ever had to fold a modern stroller, you’ll know exactly how much that extra cargo length means.

Volvo Xc90 2002 1600 5e

Oh, and we still haven’t reached the cargo pièce de résistance of the original XC90 — an undoubtedly expensive yet oh-so-handy split tailgate. Not only does it require less space to swing open than a single-piece liftgate, the separate drop-down lower section holds cargo in place if you’re loading or unloading items when parked uphill, folds down to eliminate any cargo lip, permits lift-and-slide loading of bulky items without damaging the paintwork, is a handy place to sit if you just need a break, and its wipe-down hard plastic surface can function as a mobile change table for families with babies.

Volvo Xc90 2011 1600 3d

So, the original XC90 is incredibly practical for its footprint, but what else is there to sweeten the deal? Well, the dashboard is a festival of tightly-grained soft-touch plastics and honest-to-goodness buttons. The little human for HVAC direction is a genius piece of interface design, visibility is absolutely superb, and the front seats are some of the most comfortable in any car. If you hop into a brand-new six-figure car after driving an old XC90, chances are that fresh-off-the-lot luxury machine will have comparatively subpar seats.

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Volvo Xc90 2002 1600 77

In back, you’ll find an integrated booster seat, and the rear section of the center console lifts out and the center section of the second-row seat slides way forward to bring your child closer to you in the front. Oh, and despite the clever third-row seat, Volvo still found space to fit a compact spare tire. That’s a great little touch, just like the incredibly stout sound of the power door locks, the power of the available heated seats, and the optional 305-watt audio system gets loud. You could even get an endearing little navigation screen that whirred up out of the dashboard when in use, a little delight for finding your way.

Volvo Xc90 2011 1600 01

Then there’s the overwhelming sense of serenity you get as soon as you slot the shifter into drive. Not only do those beyond-comfortable seats cradle you perfectly, but the effortless steering, finely tuned ride, and Scandinavian ambiance all combine to create the four-wheeled equivalent of a well-worn-in knit sweater. It surfs the right lane in a soothing bubble of calm, making you want to drive like a better person. Driving one of these cars offers the same sort of moving pause as a warm cup of tea on a frigid Spring morning, and on ever more congested roads, isn’t that really what you want?

Volvo Xc90 2002 1600 97

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Because crossover utility vehicles are meant to carry the most precious thing in the world – your family – we need to touch a little bit on safety. In 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety unveiled a monster of a crash test, the driver-side small overlap frontal test. In this test, a vehicle hurtles into a rigid barrier at 40 mph, with a mere 25 percent of the frontal section making barrier contact. Unsurprisingly, when this test was first introduced, almost every car failed to achieve the organization’s highest score of “good.” However, the 2012 Volvo XC90, a car which had been on sale for a decade, managed to achieve what most cars of 2012 failed to do. Just watch this:

Yep, that looks properly safe. Oh, and because Volvo is absolutely pathological about safety, it goes even further. Back in 2018, BBC News reported that U.K. automotive risk analysis firm Thatcham crunched the numbers and found that not a single Volvo XC90 occupant on British roads had ever died. That’s 50,000 units on U.K. roads and not a single fatality.

Volvo Xc90 2002 1600 98

In the beginning, the original XC90 launched in North America with two powertrain options, one of which was great and one of which was atrocious. The 2.5T 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine may only make 208 horsepower, but it’s a solid gem that’ll last pretty much forever so long as you stick to the recommended timing belt interval of ten years or 105,000 miles. Likewise, the Aisin five-speed automatic transmission is reliable so long as you change the fluid and filter regularly. Add in a Haldex all-wheel-drive power transfer unit fluid change every 30,000 to 40,000 miles, and a 2.5T XC90 will have a genuinely reliable powertrain. The T6, on the other hand, was a disaster. The 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six was a punchy unit, but it was paired with a GM 4T65-E four-speed automatic transmission that was often stressed to the point of failure by the 280 lb.-ft. of torque the turbo six generated. Avoid T6 models like the plague.

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3632 Volvo Xc90 Up Close

For the 2007 model year, the entry-level 2.5T engine was replaced by a 3.2-liter inline-six dubbed the short inline six, which is a wild engine to mount transversely because inline-sixes are generally quite long. To fit it in the XC90, Volvo developed an accessory drive feed called the READ drive (Rear End Auxillary Drive) that was mounted to the transaxle side of the engine. While that sounds hideously complex, it’s far stouter than you’d imagine. It’s routine to see these engines with more than 200,000 miles on the original READ drive with no problems, and on the rare chance that a heavily neglected pulley has caused the main READ bearing to go bad after thousands of miles of neglect, it’s slow failure that’s not catastrophic and will absolutely make noise long before it gives up the ghost. Otherwise, pre-2012 engines may burn a little oil, early water pumps weren’t the greatest, and the vacuum pump may need a rebuild after more than a decade of daily driving, but the latter two issues have dirt-cheap fixes, and so long as you keep an eye on oil levels, you don’t really have anything to worry about.

Volvo Xc90 2006 1600 5f

Now, let’s get into the engine everyone wants, the 4.4-liter Yamaha V8. With a stout 311 horsepower and a robust six-speed Aisin automatic transmission as a dance partner, this bizarre 60-degree V8 made glorious noises and solid headway, but it had one big Achilles heel that’s surprisingly easy to not hit. Because it’s a 60-degree V8, Volvo used a balance shaft to maintain smoothness, and one of the balance shaft bearings is exposed right next to a depression in the engine block. If you wash the engine with water from the top, water can pool in that depression, get into the balance shaft bearing, trash the bearing, and ruin the engine.

T6 powertrain and potential issues with washing the V8 engine aside, the main things you’ll have to look out for on a first-generation XC90 have to do with weight. This is an incredibly heavy car, and weight does a number on bushings, ball joints, tires, brakes, and wheel bearings. These are all cheap to DIY, but worth keeping in mind as expenses.

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2014 Xc90 3.2 1

These days, first-generation XC90 values run the gamut, but no one variant boasts truly outrageous prices. If you want a nice 2014 model year car, the last year of the first-generation model, you’re looking at about $12,000 for one from a southern climate, like this 2014 3.2 up for sale in Van Nuys, Calif. for $11,995. While that sounds like a lot of cash for a decade-old car with nearly 86,000 miles on the clock, it’s roughly equivalent to a comparable Toyota or Honda crossover.

2008 Xc90 3.2 1

If you’re looking for an earlier 3.2-liter model, expect 100,000 miles on the clock and a price tag of between $5,000 and $6,500. This 2008 XC90 3.2 up for sale in Fort Worth, Texas for $5,995 is a textbook example. It needs a headlight washer cover, but with 105,562 miles on the clock and a history of living in a brine-free southern climate, this is the sort of car you could get a decade out of with a little bit of love. As a bonus, all 3.2-liter cars, and all XC90s from 2007 onward, came with an AUX input for your music, and that’s really all most people need for connectivity aside from a phone mount.

Xc90 V8 Sport

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Should you wish to have a V8, expect to pay $8,000 to $13,000 for a good one depending on spec and mileage. At the top of the V8 market, here’s a rare 2008 V8 Sport model in Passion Red up for sale in Warr Acres, Okla. for $12,995. It has the coveted Sport trim with unique suspension tuning, a different steering rack, and a bunch of cosmetic goodies, with only 89,714 miles on the clock. Fair warning, the ride on vehicles with this package and the later R-Design package is on the firm side, but it’s worth the tradeoff to some.

2005 Xc90 25t 1

If you’re looking for an early model with the tried-and-true 2.5T engine, expect to pay between $5,000 and $6,000 for a decent-looking one, like this 2005 model up for sale in Chantilly, Va. for $5,900. Sure, it has 128,233 miles on the clock, but if you’re willing to pull up YouTube, grab a wrench, and get your hands dirty, expect tens of thousands of miles to come.

It’s worth noting that parts support for these cars is still fantastic, with extremely competitive dealer pricing on parts and a variety of online retailers like FCP Euro and iPD catering to this car, should you prefer the digital route. What’s more, most midsize and larger cities have reputable Volvo specialists, and the community around these Swedish cars is really something special. It truly is love all the way down.

3629 Volvo Xc90 Studio Shot

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More than twenty years after its debut, the original Volvo XC90 is still the ultimate family crossover. It’s just the right size to do everything, well-equipped, incredibly comfortable, and properly safe. I’ve been fortunate enough to drive an overwhelming number of crossovers in this line of work, and nothing’s hit the sweet spot quite like this.

(Photo credits: Volvo, AutoTrader sellers)

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BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
26 days ago

Not only were the T6 transmissions bad, every 60,000 miles, like clockwork, the fuel mileage was bad. We’d get 12-13 MPG around town and 16-18 on the highway. We sold it and got a V8 model and immediately improved to 15-16 around town and 20-22 on the highway.

Last edited 26 days ago by BigThingsComin
Osunick
Osunick
27 days ago

Doesn’t the Ford Flex have a similar arrangement because it’s derived from the XC90?

Swedish Jeep
Swedish Jeep
27 days ago

I had an 04′ 2.5 It was one of my favorite cars, especially that integrated car seat. It was there when you needed it, and gone when you didn’t. This thing was great for the road trips around CA with a bunch of people going to half and full marathons or wine tasting. It had room for duffles in the back and purses with all the rows up and a TON of room in the back with the 3rd row folded down. I loved mine for 148k miles at over 20 mpg and then bought a 2016….. which is my second favorite car and still going like gangbusters (with a hell of a lot more power out of a smaller engine- Polestar 340 hp). Same super functional layout with a useable 3rd row, and amazing seats with 8 years of wear that you’d barely notice. Xc90s are amazing luxo tanks.

Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
1 month ago

These have been very popular (as all volvos) here in nordics with especially diesels racking quite epic mileages. Of course we have quality volvo mechanics and also keep the maintenance intervals quite religiously, which is must in any car.

But my mail suprice is that somebody washes engine bays :O. I’ve had drivers licence now for 26 years and never washed engine. And we’ve got farm back home and we’ve maintained the equipment very pedantly especially what comes to lubrication, but I don’t think we’ve ever washed engine bays. Even our oldest “retiree” which is 59 Nuffield has never been cleaned and the engine isn’t that dirty.

Deltaforte
Deltaforte
1 month ago

I have an XC90 V8 and an E53 X5 with the 6 speed manual because I was trying to fill a suburban sized hole (i’d never owned a truck smaller then a suburban). I got the XC90 for $750 from Copart, running and driving! But it needed the balance shaft done. The secret is not to buy earlier then 2006, they made a hole for water to drain out and revised the bearing for the balance shaft, and in 2007 Volvo revised the valve body on the transmission, I just opted to swap the whole powertrain. not a terrible job with a lift and actually was a bit easier then doing the balance shaft, the damn head has to come off :(. Now my XC90 has a newer powertrain that has 70,000 less miles (original had 190K). Overall the XC90 has been more reliable then my X5 which likes to eat door handles and a window regulator or two on a yearly basis and wont unlock with the remote if I look at it the wrong way. The XC90 has become the car I actually rather use on a day to day basis, unless its snowing, nothing like a manual AWD truck in the snow, and while i like both the X5 and the XC90 for their own strengths, they never filled the suburban sized hole hole in my heart.

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
26 days ago
Reply to  Deltaforte

If I remember my Volvo trivia correctly , anything with a V8 engine number about 4600 has the weep hole for the bearing. I loved mine, it was a blast to drive.

Kyree
Kyree
1 month ago

Since I live in the Oklahoma City area, if you want, I’ll go test-drive that Warr Acres one and report back!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
29 days ago
Reply to  Kyree

Autopian’s Readers Drive!
Do it!

Kyree
Kyree
26 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I tried, on Saturday, but someone had put a deposit on it. The leather was worn pretty badly, though…not uncommon on these P2-era Volvos.

JayZen
JayZen
25 days ago
Reply to  Kyree

That deposit is me! Been watching this one for months now and was finally able to negotiate a better price. The sport model is pre R-type which has all the fittings of R-Type just without the badging. I got some pics of the seat’s and they did not look at that bad from what I saw. Some wear but no tears and they are generally repairable. I’ve got a 2005 w/ 244k on it and while it’s not perfect, the V8 and drive is so much more fun. I got rid of a 2018 T6 Inscription because I liked the 2005 better. So I’ve been hunting for a while for another decent V8 model. Missed out on a New Jersey Silver R-type but no blue dials with the same miles by a few hours but this color is just unique. Dealer and I are working out some of the details now as I will be traveling from Maryland to pick up the car in a few weeks. Did you notice anything else about the car?

Kyree
Kyree
24 days ago
Reply to  JayZen

I did notice that one of the roof rails was missing the end cap, which is no big deal at all.

I couldn’t see much else. It looked perfectly serviceable. If you want to authorize it, I’d be glad to drive it for you ahead of time and see what I notice.

And I had a 2017 Inscription T6, with all the options (including air suspension and the B&W sound system), so I know what you mean. The new ones are swank, but they lack that “Volvo-ness.” They feel like rolling computers.

Either way, reach out to me on Facebook: “Kyree Rollerson.”

Last edited 24 days ago by Kyree
4004
4004
1 month ago

Oh yes, the family hauler. The one I’m familiar with is a diesel, which is “sufficient” to at least get it to 200kmh on a straight road. Hate that Aisin though.
My brother loves the tailgate (he’s put a chair in the boot, so you get a sunshade with the hatch), but hates all the corrosion he had to fight on the car

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
1 month ago

My dad had one of these that he sadly rolled trying to keep from t-boning a minivan that pulled in front of him on a snowy country road-and he walked away with barely a scratch so can confirm on the safety bit. However he wasn’t entirely sorry to be getting rid of it, at less than 70K miles the transmission was going out (he did have the T6) as well as having recently needed a wildly expensive infotainment unit (or maybe it was the HVAC controls) replaced under his extended warranty. He replaced it first with a Mazda CX9 which he got a lot of problem free use out of, then a Porsche Cayenne which was higher maintenance but a lot more reliable than either of us expected.

The Volvo was a very nice thoughtfully designed car but it always left me a little cold, the handling was competent but with less spring in its step than either the CX9 or the Cayenne. For quiet competence I’m tempted to say a person would be better off with an 04+ Lexus RX350, and if you want some sportiness to go with your maintenance bills get a 1st gen BMW X5 3.0.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago

It’s also worth noting that the space efficiency is a factor of not needing huge wheel wells and clearances for the types of tire and wheel packages that have become all the rage these days.

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
1 month ago

IIRC this was the first SUV with roll stability control–a standard now on all SUVs, but it was innovative in 2002. https://moneyinc.com/the-history-and-evolution-of-the-volvo-xc90/

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago

100%, can confirm.

Had a 2006 2.5T for a bit, replaced it with a 2007 V8 (because V8). I get about the same fuel economy with better sound and more power. Best vehicles I’ve yet owned, and my V8 is my 4th Volvo.

A few notes:
The passenger front seatback folds forward to lay flat, which allows for about 8′ of interior cargo capacity with the 2nd and 3rd rows folded flat. I have used this on multiple occasions where otherwise I might have had to use a truck, cargo van, or box truck.

Road trips are a breeze: these will happily hold extra-legal speeds with surprising quietness and superb composure. The seats are so excellent that stops are only required for refueling and restroom breaks. Stretching isn’t required, numbness doesn’t set in, and legs don’t feel dead (which I’ve experienced in many other vehicles).

Ford used the P2 (XC90 and S80) platform to make the Ford Five Hundred, Freestyle, Taurus, Taurus X, Explorer, Flex, Mercury Montego, Lincoln MKS, MKT, and of course the law enforcement versions of the Taurus (Police Interceptor Sedan) and Explorer (Police Interceptor Utility). All have high safety ratings, with the police versions able to take rear impacts from a vehicle traveling at highway speeds.

They also borrowed some of the Volvo’s features for these vehicles, including the seating positions (as touched on in the article), and fold-forward front passenger seat on some models.

The issue with water in the V8 was resolved for the 2007 model year.

The headlights are some of the easiest to work on in the modern automotive world (others share the design, of course): two retaining bars lift up and out, and the entire headlight assembly lifts free. Tilt forward to access the bulbs. An individual who is familiar with the method can change both front headlamp bulbs in under a minute (as I’ve done when swapping in LEDs to replace the outdated halogens). It also makes them very easy to polish away the oxidation that can and will occur on the plastic lenses.

The Volvo owners community – as mentioned – is excellent. Admittedly the newest generation of cars has brought in some folk who don’t quite have the same communal spirit as the establishment, but that’s to be expected. Some adapt, others just get the help they wanted (which was probably in the owners manual and/or YouTube anyway) and move on.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

Also: the AWD system is one of of not the best I’ve yet encountered (for ones entirely computer controlled with no modes or user inputs, though even there it compares well). The rear wheels kicking on with the “Instant Traction” is as advertised. Fast, predictable, and effective. Even off-road the system does an impressive job.

It’s also surprising to me how amazingly quiet they are. Admittedly I have nice Bridgestone tires on mine that make them even quieter, but being able to hear someone speaking at a normal volume from the third row while in the driver’s seat is such a marvel. Meanwhile Honda installs microphones back there to accomplish the same function (which is cool but seems more for a 15-passenger van or larger, not a 3-row vehicle). That said, it’s no sensory deprivation chamber, but there’s times I drive with the windows down a bit just to hear ambient noise around me.

The entire safety system feels so thoroughly developed in such a way that few things do. It can make you feel nearly invincible, nearly super-human in fact. Controlled body roll even on banked highway cloverleafs, tight steering control in emergency maneuvers, brakes with good feel and predictable bite, and a passenger compartment safety cell that seems like it could take on both The Crushinator and a Bigfoot monster truck simultaneously and emerge with unscathed occupants.

Last edited 1 month ago by Box Rocket
Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
1 month ago

Because it’s just a lifted mega-V70. And could be had with a Yamaha V8. End of story.

Dingus
Dingus
29 days ago

I have a P2 V70, and most of the stuff noted here (minus the 3rd row) is very similar. I know the T5 gets terrible mileage for what it is, but it has such an endearing character, I still love it.

Anyone who has borrowed my car starts off making fun of it, but when they’re done, they can’t say enough good things. They just have a certain feel to them; very steady, easy going but never weak or dull. When you want to move, there is plenty of power. I’ve never had any issues in the snow despite being on all-seasons and FWD only. It just finds a way to keep pulling through. The seats are true to Volvo standards, which means they’re the best of any car I own or have owned. It is 18 years old but there isn’t a single rattle or major issue with the interior, it has held up far better than most cars I’ve ever owned. Nobody thinks is more than 6-7 years old at a glance.

I’m not sure about modern Volvos, but the generation noted here really holds up well. I will probably have to go find a C70 and a C30 next.

twicetheMF
twicetheMF
1 month ago

Semi funny reading this and thinking “oh yeah these were great, they sold a ton around here” and then one of the for sale examples being down the street from my house.

But yeah it’s funny seeing crossovers like this and now seeing what the segment has turned into. Lot of regression.

Last edited 1 month ago by twicetheMF
Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
1 month ago

Nothing expresses the duality of the Autopian experience like recommending an old Volvo as a good transportation choice. It is simultaneously 100% right and 100% wrong.

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
1 month ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

Yeah, I’ve been to the 10-year-old-Volvo well twice, and, let me tell you, nothing good that way lies (except for the seats).

I firmly believe that Volvo reliability is, and always has been, a myth. Old Volvos (pre-Ford, maybe even pre-850) were durable, but not actually any more reliable than any other high-end European car. Important distinction. Newer ones aren’t even durable anymore, and seem to be significantly less reliable than many comparable Euromobiles. I love much about the design ethos behind many of Volvo’s classics, but the execution is pretty much always a mixed bag at best.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Autonerdery

I’ve had the opposite experience. I won’t touch VAG, very wary of Mercedes and BMW, open-minded about JLR, but I’m on my 4th Volvo. The prior three were all sold as running and road-legal, the first of my prior cars to do so.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Autonerdery

I dunno, for me ‘reliable’ is defined as ‘it starts every day and doesn’t strand me’. In 7 years and 60k miles (bought used at 100k) my 2012 XC70 T6 has only failed once due to faulty coil plugs at 140k (which was my fault for missing the 120k service interval).

Yes maintenance and parts are pretty pricey and it probably needs servicing more often than a Honda or Toyota, but I can get in it and drive anywhere (even on thousand mile road trips) without feeling like it’ll break down. To me that’s reliable enough.

Kyree
Kyree
1 month ago
Reply to  Autonerdery

A Volvo or a Mercedes-Benz are just about the only 90s cars I wouldn’t be afraid to rock today, from a safety standpoint. Oh, and my V12 Jag, which is just too cool to be concerned about safety.

But Volvo and Mercedes-Benz have been concerned with designing holistically safe cars, and Volvo in particular, where other manufacturers were more concerned with getting by.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 month ago

The greatest crossover of all time remains the BMW X5. COME AT ME, NERDS!!!

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
1 month ago

Parsh Cayenne has entered the chat…

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 month ago

Parsh good! But the X5 walked so the Cayenne could run

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
1 month ago

Was replying Cayenne so Steph got represented. My actual personal feelings on greatest crossover of all time is the Rav-4. I’m much more about cars for the people then luxury leases with long term service payments

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 month ago

Oh come on now, you could get plenty of X5s for the price of a RAV-4! I’m not saying you SHOULD…but it’s absolutely a thing that you can do, and out of all your choices for an affordable crossover a used X5 is absolutely, 100% one of them.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago

If you’re gonna bait the nerds, the greatest crossover is gonna be Archie Meets The Punisher or Spider-Man and the Not Ready for Prime Time Players. There’s not an automaker out there that can match comics for crossovers.

Last edited 1 month ago by Drew
Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

The Jetsons meet the Flintstones was a pretty wild premise of a crossover.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago

Ooh, good point. That was a heck of a crossover. Proves that TV can certainly compete with comics for best crossover.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
29 days ago
Reply to  Drew

“Scooby Doo Meets Mama Cass” enters the chat.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

And if you’re looking for non-nerds, I’d like to submit Allen Iverson.

(I am a nerd, but also for basketball)

Last edited 1 month ago by Taargus Taargus
Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago

Frank Stephenson did a nice job designing those. And being RWD-based they do have an element of superiority to them. But I don’t see old X5s driving around like I do old XC90s and RX350s, as far as luxury crossovers go.

Jeremy Aber
Jeremy Aber
1 month ago

Volvo just always has the best seats in the game. I’ve never sat in another car that is as comfortable, especially on long road trips.

ChefCJ
ChefCJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Aber

I’ve been chasing the high of the first time I sat in a C30 for years

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  ChefCJ

The closest I can approximate experiencing Volvo seats compared to typical automotive seats is the scene from South Park when Randy first experiences the fancy Japanese toilet.

ChefCJ
ChefCJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

I’m still sad I didn’t buy that car. Sure, I would probably be griping about Volvo problems instead of Volkswagen problems, but at least I could be doing it from a throne blissful comfort

Ryan L
Ryan L
1 month ago

Not sure if they all had the design flaw but I had a buddy that basically ground stopped his because everytime it rained water flowed into his cabin. Turns out some one put some tiny drain that apparently is clogged quite easily. A super long zip tie later he was able to get the drain cleared and he was back on his way. I think it was like a 700 alternator or something that finally did it in.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryan L

Early cars (up to and including the 2006MY) had a t-shaped (or X-shaped, whatever) connector behind the A-pillar that would come clogged and/or undone. Easy fix involves removing the A-pillar handle covers the A-pillar covers themselves, and then clearing or reattaching the hose.

2007+ models have a bigger hose and an improved connector design.

Source: I had to do the fix on my 2006, and my 2007 thankfully doesn’t have that issue.

Ryan L
Ryan L
29 days ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

yeah he was able to clear it by basically using a 20 inch zip tie as a pipe cleaner I believe. But until he figured it out he wasn’t driving it in the rain for like half a summer I think.

Clubwagon Chateau
Clubwagon Chateau
28 days ago
Reply to  Ryan L

I once entered my 2004 sunroof-equipped V70 after a substantial rain to find a good inch of water covering the carpet & floormat in the front right footwell. Now I use my compressor and airgun twice yearly to clean around the sunroof inside the roof and especially both drains. I haven’t had an issue since.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

These P2 era Volvos were just such good looking cars. The designs still hold up 20 years later.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

an AUX input for your music, and that’s really all most people need for connectivity

I’m sorry, what? In an otherwise well-written article, this is batshit. Who in 2024 still has a phone with a headphone/AUX jack?

From 30 seconds of Googling, it looks like Bluetooth became standard in 2011; those would be the ones to get if you actually listen to music from a phone.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Get an aux bluetooth dongle and you are set. both my cars use one and its great. Very high quality

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

for what it’s worth, I just got my first phone with no aux port last year (begrudgingly, because I wanted a better camera).

Tons of low and midrange phones still have them, though. And I wish mine did because the charge + aux dongle is stupid.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Lots of the same people who are shopping for a sub 12K family car and don’t want apple products. I refuse to buy a phone that lacks an aux jack. I use headphones often and freaking hate battery powered headphones. It takes me an extra 4 seconds to hook up my phone via aux cord? What a horrid and pointless inconvenience!

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Who is 2024 still uses a headphone jack? Um, I do. And I am happy to keep doing it actually. I prefer it over Bluetooth and having my phone info ported over to my car.

Frederick Tanujaya
Frederick Tanujaya
1 month ago

Me right here! I prefer IEM’s to bluetooth headsets/headphones as the quality, is sooooooo good.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I guess I should have known who I was dealing with here.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I can show pictures too!!! I use a USB-C to aux connector and it works flawless. Plug it in, hit Pandora and off I go.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I’m with you on this. My 2008 Focus had bluetooth, and my dailies have had it (or, now, Android Auto) ever since I got that in 2010.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

It should never surprise me how much people here seem to reflexively dislike modernity in all its forms, and yet it still manages to.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Hell, screw the AUX port! Bring back cassettes and tape deck adapters!

I want that sweet, sweet wire hanging out of my dash at all times.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Hey now, the Aux jack in my 2007 V8 is the most advanced piece of A/V technology (aside from the 6-disc in-dash CD player) I’ve yet had in one of my daily drivers. The radio screen even displays song names!

To your point: you’re entirely right that many phones don’t come with headphone jacks for the male-to-male plug to function. I had actually acquired my first phone without the audio jack shortly before I got my 2007, of course, so I haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy the feature as much as I would have withy prior phones. The location in the XC90 is really good though, as it’s between but slightly aft of the center cupholders, just ahead of the center storage bin/armrest. Makes it so the audio player – or Bluetooth dongle for those wishing better audio quality than a Bluetooth FM transmitter – is nicely at hand and doesn’t block any controls.

Last edited 1 month ago by Box Rocket
Pat Rich
Pat Rich
1 month ago

My wife and I hunted for a good first gen XC90 for a long time before giving up. The reason? There are no good XC90’s left. Not for reasonable sums at least. Every. Single. One we drove had some different issue, noise, clunk or problem. This was nearly 10 years ago as well, so they were a lot fresher then.

We both liked them, but we just couldn’t find one that we trusted. We bought a Lexus GX470 and its been great.

Also, price out a replacement 4.4L. Its terrifying.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

I did exactly the same thing. The Volvos were certainly once nice, but good golly did they get abused by their second and third owners. One owners were priced idiotically.

I love my GX470, and since I bought it before it became the darling of overlanders, it has only appreciated in value over the years.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

I have a 2007 V8. But I also have an extended service plan on it, and I change my oil every 5K miles. An EV conversion can be less pricey than replacing that sonorous Yamaha siren, but you lose AWD capability.

The noises are how you know it’s working! Kidding, of course; the suspension bushings seem to suffer from BMW levels of short-livedness. But quick struts and suspension kits are relatively inexpensive and not hard to do, especially given that it’s FWD. I suspect some Ford cost-cutting might have been at play with some of the materials, and/or Volvo’s eco focus made them choose different materials that lack the longevity of some of their prior models. I had two late-’80s/early-’90s Volvo wagons that had their original suspension components despite being over 15 years old at the time.

The GX is a nice choice. They were on my short list for a long while until the overlanders found out they were fancier 4Runners. Dammit.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

To be fair, you were shopping an ordinary consumer white good against the ‘make it last 20 years, minimum’ Toyota Prado. But yeah, like most minivans the XC90 suffers from the ‘it’s just a normal car but bigger’ issues of weight-related component failures.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
1 month ago

we were shopping for MDX, XC70, XC90, etc. We ended up with the Lexus when nothing else panned out. Super happy about it now.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
1 month ago

This is imho the safest possible car in the world. If you’re prioritizing safety, this is what you want. Everything else is less safe.

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