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2013 Volvo XC90 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2013 Volvo XC90 was new.


Interior: 7.2

Reviewers are impressed with the XC90’s high-quality interior and comfy front seats, but note that the rest of the interior falls short. Critics say the two rows in back offer little legroom and that the third-row seats are only suitable for children. Additionally, test drivers point out that the audio and navigation controls aren’t intuitive, are oddly-placed and take time to learn. The XC90 has a good amount of overall cargo space, but with all seats in use it has less than some compact cars, which doesn’t give it much utility.

  • "Materials look nice, and assembly quality is very good." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Inside, the 2013 Volvo XC90 offers a passenger cabin that's stylish, comfortable and quiet." -- Edmunds
  • "The Volvo XC90's interior layout strays from the typical form-over-function designs of its competitors. While it can be outfitted with warm wood and sumptuous leather, XC90 designers focused primarily on clever ergonomics and distinguishable controls." -- Kelley Blue Book


The 2013 Volvo XC90 seats up to seven in three rows. Reviewers say the front seats are some of the best in the class in terms of comfort and support, but that’s where the compliments end. Auto writers agree that the second- and third-row seats are cramped. Critics find that the third row should be reserved for kids and that accessing it can be a pain. Leather seating is standard and heated front seats are optional. The XC90 also offers a built-in booster seat in the center, second-row seat.

  • Front seats offer good support and a generous amount of room, but the second- and third-row seats are a little tighter than those on several competitors." -- Edmunds
  • "Access to the 3rd row is very difficult, even for the kids who would be most comfortable back there." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Supportive side bolstering, plush padding and creamy leather trim make for some of the most comfortable front seats in its class." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A standard third-row seat allows for a maximum seating capacity of seven, but it's a tight squeeze in back." -- Cars.com

Interior Features

Standard equipment in the base XC90 includes parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and an eight-speaker stereo with satellite radio, Bluetooth and a USB port. For 2013, the XC90 adds rain-sensing windshield wipers and headlight washers to the standard features list. Available features include a navigation system with a remote control, a backup camera, an upgraded stereo system, a rear-seat entertainment system and blind spot monitoring.

Overall, reviewers think the XC90’s interior functionality is lacking. Critics find that buttons and gauges aren’t logically placed or easy to use. Test drivers especially single out the oddly-placed optional navigation system’s controls, which are behind the steering wheel and located on a remote control. They also note that the navigation system is outdated when compared to more contemporary systems in other vehicles. Reviewers say once owners get familiar with the audio controls' unconventional layout, they become easier to use.

See 2013 Volvo XC90 specs »

  • "Controls are mostly a form-over-function affair. Everything looks stylish, but the layout and operation are a bit haphazard." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The navigation system included in the Platinum level is antiquated and relies on obtuse controls located behind the steering wheel or on a remote control. Most other Volvo models have a more advanced infotainment system." -- Edmunds
  • The audio controls are even more unusual, with a twisting knob that cycles through menus and a keypad that looks like telephone buttons. They all work quite well, once a user gains some familiarity, and nearly all are large and easy to locate, even at night." -- New Car Test Drive (2011)


The Volvo XC90 has 85.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row, which is good for the class but trails the cargo space in rivals like the Acura MDX. There are 43.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 8.8 cubic feet behind the third row. Reviewers are disappointed with the amount of space when all seats are in use, saying that carrying seven people and their gear will be difficult. One critic notes that there’s a shortage of small item cabin storage, which they say is common in Volvos. Test drivers think loading cargo is easy though, and like the XC90’s tail/liftgate combo.

  • Loading cargo is quite easy thanks to the ‘clamshell’ tailgate that opens in two pieces. Unfortunately, the upper part doesn't rise high enough to clear a 6-footer's head." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Another downside is the fact that there's just 8.8 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seat, which means carrying seven people and their luggage is unlikely unless you invest in a rooftop cargo carrier." -- Edmunds
  • "Storage for smaller items, particularly in front, is lacking, as it often is with Volvos. The door pockets are narrow and the small center console compartment is slim and difficult to access. If you slide a few CDs in the slots, there's no more room at all." -- New Car Test Drive (2011)

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