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7.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.2
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 7.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.6
Safety: 9.7
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Volvo XC90 Review

The 2013 Volvo XC90 has an impressive safety score, but its so-so rear seats, uninspiring performance, and cumbersome technology are not very appealing. Collectively, these drawbacks drag the XC90 to the bottom third of our luxury midsize SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding safety scores
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Uninspiring power and handling
  • Dated navigation system
  • Tight second and third rows
  • Small cargo area when all seats are in use

2013 Volvo XC90 Overview

Is the 2013 Volvo XC90 a Good Used SUV?

The 2013 XC90 boasts one of the highest safety scores in its price range, making this a good pick for budget-savvy shoppers who want a safe 3-row SUV with a splash of luxury. Families that plan to pack the XC90 full of people and gear may want to look elsewhere, though, as this Volvo has a tight third-row seat and limited cargo space when every seat is in place. The XC90 also ranks below average for reliability.

Used 2013 Volvo XC90 Performance and Interior

The 2013 XC90 comes with a 240-horsepower 3.2-liter engine that can feel underwhelming when you want to quickly get up to speed. Mated to this six-cylinder is a six-speed automatic transmission that is usually smooth but can occasionally lag when shifting. Fuel economy is typical for a 3-row SUV. With front-wheel drive, the XC90 gets 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The highway rating drops by 1 mpg on all-wheel-drive models.

Reviews are mixed on the XC90's handling: Some say it's comfortable and poised, while others complain of too much body roll and not enough assurance from the brakes and steering. R-Design models, which come with a sport-tuned suspension, enhance handling to a certain degree.

Read more about XC90 performance »

A used 3-row XC90 can carry up to seven people and comes standard with leather upholstery, driver's seat power adjustments, and a trio of second-row seats that can individually slide forward and backward. The first two rows of seats are relatively comfortable (especially in models with heated front seats), but even small travelers will have a difficult time squeezing into the rearmost row. With all seats in use, there is little cargo space in this vehicle compared to competitors. For child safety seats, three tether anchors and two sets of lower anchors are mounted in the second row.

An eight-speaker sound system – complete with Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a USB port – is standard in the XC90. The XC90's controls are easy to use, like its clearly labeled set of climate control buttons. The available navigation system and rearview camera are not as user-friendly; they use a slow-moving retractable screen, and the navigation interface feels awkward and outdated.

Read more about XC90 interior »

Used 2013 Volvo XC90 Prices

For a 2013 model, Volvo XC90 pricing averages around $17,400 for a base model. Expect to pay about $18,800 for a base XC90 AWD, while prices for the range-topping XC90 R-Design Platinum ring up closer to $20,700. As with any used car, these prices can shift up or down depending on the vehicle's mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 81 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Volvo XC90 in our full review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with more than 80 professional Volvo XC90 reviews.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the best new cars and used cars for the last 10 years, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Volvo XC90?

With a score of 2.5 out of five, the XC90 has a worse reliability rating than most other 2013 midsize luxury SUVs. Rivals like the Lexus RX 350 and Acura MDX have much higher reliability scores.

See XC90 reliability scores »

How Safe Is the XC90?

The XC90 earns some of the best crash test scores in its class. It boasts a Top Safety Pick+ label from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, acing every crash test simulation. Rear parking sensors and rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard in every XC90. Some models may also come with front parking sensors, adaptive headlights that follow a curve in the road, blind spot monitoring, and a rearview camera.

See XC90 safety scores »

Is the 2013 XC90 the Best Model Year to Buy?

Because few changes separate the 2013 XC90 from previous model years (all are part of this SUV's first generation), there's a good chance you can save some money by purchasing a 2011 or 2012 model year instead.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 XC90 »

Which Used Volvo XC90 Is Right for Me?

Both XC90 models – 3.2 and 3.2 R-Design – are available in base, Premium Plus, and Platinum trim levels. R-Design models come with distinctive styling elements (such as larger alloy wheels) and a sport-tuned suspension system, making this the best option for performance-minded drivers.

With an appealing set of standard features – including leather seats, dual-zone climate control, and rear parking sensors – most used car shoppers should find the base trim level quite satisfying. The higher trim levels add few noteworthy amenities. A wood-trimmed shift knob and a handful of upscale interior materials are among the limited add-ons in the Premier Plus, and the Platinum's navigation system and rearview camera can be more cumbersome than convenient.

Given the XC90's below-average reliability rating, you may want to pony up the extra money it will cost you to get a certified pre-owned vehicle. Volvo covers these with a comprehensive warranty good for seven years or 100,000 miles from the new-car purchase date. Each CPO Volvo must pass a 130-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volvo warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Volvo certified pre-owned program »

2013 Volvo XC90 and Other SUVs to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Volvo XC90 or 2013 Acura MDX?

If you can afford to spend a few thousand dollars more, you can get the Acura MDX, which is a much better seven-seat SUV. Despite its higher price, the MDX is a better value, thanks to its standard all-wheel drive, heated front seats, and rearview camera (none of which come standard in the base XC90).

Which Is Better: 2013 Volvo XC90 or 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is much pricier than the XC90, and it only holds five people. If those attributes are workable for you, however, the M-Class is an excellent midsize SUV to consider. Its opulent cabin is one of the nicest in the class, and uplevel models like the diesel-powered ML350 Bluetec and V8-powered ML550 will appeal to spirited drivers.

Which Is Better: 2013 Volvo XC90 or 2013 Volkswagen Touareg?

Placing in the middle of our luxury midsize SUV rankings, the Volkswagen Touareg is better all-around than the XC90, and it isn't much more expensive. The back seat of this 2-row SUV is particularly spacious. Whether you pick a gas- or diesel-powered edition, the Touareg offers plenty of punch.

Compare the XC90, MDX, and M-Class »

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