Lightly freshened for an early model-year introduction, the 2013 Volvo XC90 design dates back to 2003. Even with updates, this Volvo struggles in a class filled with newer, better competitors. To take measure, we bought an XC90 and ran it through our extensive test program.
Over the years we've tested the Volvo XC90 with its initial six-cylinder turbo, and later in V8 guise. The only current engine is an updated 240-hp, 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder. Mated to a six-speed transmission, this SUV feels underpowered. The ride is also notably stiff and unsettled.
Our XC90 Platinum edition came with Volvos antiquated pop-up navigation system. The navi lacks voice control, and must be programmed with either steering-wheel controls or a klutzy wireless remote control for the passenger to use. The $2,700 Platinum package bundles the navigation system with a premium stereo and backup camera. Strangely, Volvo also offers a standalone Garmin GPS option for $750. And even the backup camera isn't particularly worthwhile: The screen takes a full 10 seconds to rise from the dashboard, by which time you could be finished backing up.
At least the basic package is still handy, with a roomy, well-finished interior and good visibility. Check out our video to see more of what the Volvo is good at, as well as why we think it's so outclassed.
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