2013 Volvo XC90 Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 30, 2013
  • Choice of front- or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD)
  • 2013 may be last year for this model
  • Keyless entry and ignition are now standard on all T6 models
  • Luxury-themed crossover utility vehicle is loaded with safety features
  • Midsize design provides seating for 7


The Volvo XC90 made its debut at the 2002 Detroit Auto Show, and many industry observers expect it to be replaced by a different model, or extensively redesigned, in the next year or two. The XC90 is Volvo's midsize, 7-seat, 5-door crossover luxury SUV. For 2013, all black plastic exterior trim has been replaced with painted body-color trim. LED running lights and taillights are also new for 2013, as well as some interior styling touches, such as optional redwood accents. Volvo emphasizes the XC90's safety, smooth ride, and passenger-friendly features. In the United States, the Volvo XC90's competitors include the Ford Flex, Buick Enclave, and Acura MDX, among others. The 2013 Volvo XC90 is offered in two models: the XC90 3.2 and the XC90 R-Design. Both are available in base, Premier Plus, and Platinum trim levels. The XC90 3.2 comes standard with front-wheel drive (FWD); the R-Design has standard all-wheel drive (AWD), which is optional on the 3.2. With proper equipment, the Volvo XC90 can tow up to 3,970 pounds.

Exterior Features

The 2013 Volvo XC90 is offered in a total of 10 colors: basic black and white, red, and seven metallic colors. The metallic colors carry an additional charge. The base 3.2 model features 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, fog lights, roof rails, automatic wipers, power sunroof, rear privacy glass, liftgate, skid plates, spoiler, and heated mirrors. The Premier Plus trim level adds active dual xenon headlights, cargo cover, and front and rear park-assist sensors. The R-Design features a dual exhaust and 19-inch alloy wheels, plus a sportier suspension and steering (including self-leveling rear suspension), and adaptive xenon headlights as standard equipment.

Interior Features

Standard interior features on the Volvo XC90 3.2 model include dual-zone climate control, cruise control, leather upholstery, 8-speaker sound system, leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power front seats, split-folding 40/20/40 rear seats, 50/50 split third-row seats, and full power accessories. The Platinum trim level adds a garage door transmitter, navigation system, and rearview camera. The R-Design features various styling upgrades, including distinctive leather upholstery and sportier-looking gauges. The XC90 offers 33.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. With all rear seats folded, maximum cargo space is 85.1 cubic feet.

Optional Features

A Climate package adds heat to the front seats, as well as heated windshield washer nozzles, and Volvo's proprietary air filtration system. Optional equipment on all XC90 models includes a blind-spot monitoring system, remote ignition, side scuff plates, silver crossbars, cargo compartment mat, cargo organizer, rear-seat entertainment system, kayak cradle, trailer hitch, and a park-assist camera.

Under the Hood

The Volvo XC90 3.2 is powered by a 3.2-liter, 240-horsepower, inline 6-cylinder engine that produces 236 lb.-ft. of torque. Front-wheel drive and a 6-speed automatic transmission are standard; AWD is optional.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Volvo XC90 are:

  • XC90 FWD: 16/23/19 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • XC90 AWD: 16/23/18 mpg


Standard safety features on the Volvo XC90 include anti-lock brakes, active front head restraints, front side air bags, and side curtain air bags. A blind-spot monitoring system and other safety enhancements are optional--including a proprietary pedestrian-detection system that can apply full braking force in emergency situations.

To date, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not published the results of impact tests on the Volvo XC90, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the vehicle "Good" ratings--its highest--in frontal-offset, side impact, and roof strength tests.


Volvo's optional Polestar Performance software enhances throttle response, torque and power, according to the manufacturer, without increasing the certified fuel consumption or affecting the vehicle's original warranty. The software re-calibrates hundreds of parameters that control the engine to increase the turbocharger boost pressure, re-optimize the ignition and fuel mapping, and re-calibrate the throttle response. Polestar Performance can be installed by any Volvo dealer.
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