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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Volvo XC90

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Expert's Rating


MPG 16 City / 23 Highway
  • Many standard safety features
  • Powerful engine options
  • Plenty of cargo room
  • Access to third row seat difficult
  • Cabin feels dated
  • Vague steering at low speed
, Automotive Editor -
At the 2002 Detroit Motor Show, Volvo unveiled its newest crossover SUV, the XC90. Despite Volvo not being a very popular make, the XC90 certainly held its own, as it received Motor Trend's "Sport Utility of the Year" and "North American Car of the Year" awards, is 2003. For the 2013 model year, the XC90 received a very light revision that includes a new monotone paint scheme, LED headlights and headlight washers. On the inside, Volvo added in an optional redwood trim package and new leather pull-down straps for the hatch.


The 2013 Volvo XC90 comes in a slew of trim levels, including: 3.2, 3.2 Premier Plus, 3.2 Platinum, R-Design, R-Design Premier Plus, and R-Design Platinum. The of 3.2 trim level range is your typical crossover SUV, but the trims increase in standard features as you work your way through the Premier Plus and Platinum levels. The R-Design levels add in a little extra sport to this crossover SUV, including: revised suspension, sporty exterior styling, larger wheels and a revised interior. Much like the 3.2 range, the R-Design trims simply add in more standard features as you move toward the Platinum trim level.

All of the trim levels feature a 3.2-liter V-6 engine that pumps out 240 horsepower and they can tow up to 3,970 pounds. With its relatively good 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway ratings, comfortable seating for seven and easy-to-handle chassis, it is obvious that XC90 is best suited for families that need an alternative to a minivan rather than those looking for an SUV to tow a boat behind.

See our picks for best crossovers in the CarsDirect Crossover Buying Guide.

The large crossover SUV market is chock-full of competitors, so there are plenty of options to choose from. One huge thing to look at in SUVs is their seating, as many SUVs have plenty of size, but only enough seating for five people, which pales in comparison to the XC90’s seven-person seating capacity. One alternative is the 2013 Subaru Tribeca, which carries with it a $32,595 base MSRP, a 256-horsepower V-6 engine and leather seating for seven people. The Buick Enclave comes in at a relatively heavy $38,445, and features a 288-horsepower, V-6 engine, seven-person seating and cloth interior. Another competitor to the XC90 would be the 2013 Acura MDX, which features a 300-horsepwoer, V-6 engine, leather seating for seven and a $43,280 base MSRP. On final alternative to the XC90 is the 2013 Ford Expedition, which comes with a base MSRP of $36,930, cloth seating for five to eight people and a 310-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 engine.

The competition for the 2013 Volvo XC90 ranges across many makes and even ventures into the full-size SUV market. This leaves buyers with a tough decision to make and Volvo needs to bring something extra to the table to convince undecided buyers.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Volvo XC90
Starting price

2013 Volvo XC90 3.2

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a premium crossover SUV without too many bells and whistles

The 3.2 trim level acts as the base trim for the 2013 XC 90 and it comes standard with front-wheel drive, but has the option to add in all-wheel drive. It comes in with a base MSRP of $39,700 with front-wheel drive. On the outside, the 3.2 trim level features: color-coordinated fender extensions, moldings, side-view mirror caps and taillight moldings, roof rails, 18-by-7.5-inch Thalia alloy wheels, rear parking assisted rain-sensing wipers. On the inside, the 3.2 trim gets electronic climate control, third-row air conditioning, power front seats with memory, power moonroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seats, sanded silver aluminum trim, 160-watt, eight-speaker high-performance sound system, USB port, and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming.

2013 Volvo XC90
Starting price

2013 Volvo XC90 3.2 Platinum

Recommended for: Buyers that like the added convenience that navigation provides

The 3.2 Platinum trim level on the 2013 Volvo XC90 acts as the top trim level for the standard XC90 3.2 lineup. This trim level includes all of the features of the Premier Plus trim level, but it adds in a few extra goodies. On the outside, the 3.2 Platinum trim level gets a rear-view camera added to the mix to make parking a little easier. On the inside, the 3.2 Platinum gets an audio upgrade to the tune of a 650-watt, 12-speaker premium stereo system. Also included on the inside is Volvo Navigation with real-time traffic updates.

2013 Volvo XC90
Starting price

2013 Volvo XC90 3.2 Premier Plus

Recommended for: Buyers with busier lifestyles that require additional convenience features

The 3.2 Premier Plus takes all of the standard features found in the 3.2 trim level and adds to it. In addition to the extra trimmings, the 3.2 Premier Plus comes in at a higher price tag: $42,200. On the outside, the 3.2 Premier Plus adds in just active dual-xenon headlights, color coordinated front bumper and chrome side-view mirror caps. The interior gets significant upgrades, as the 3.2 Premier Plus trim level adds in: Sovereign Hide soft leather seating, HomeLink garage door opener, digital compass, walnut accent trimming, executive carpeting, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a grocery bag holder in the rear cargo area.

2013 Volvo XC90
Starting price

2013 Volvo XC90 3.2 R-Design

Recommended for: Buyers that like a little sport with their crossover SUV

The Volvo XC90 R-Design is essentially the sports model of the XC 90 and this is its base level in this format. On the outside, the R-Design comes standard with 19-by-8-inch Ixion alloy rims, sport tuned chassis and suspension, speed-sensitive steering, Nivomat self-leveling shocks, dual-xenon headlights, rear park assist, roof rails, headlight washers, rain-sensing wipers, “Silk Metal” side-view mirror caps, R-Design styling package, front bumper bar, front skid plate and sport tailpipes. On the inside, the R-Design boasts: 160-watt, eight-speaker sound system, Bluetooth compatibility with audio streaming, R-Design leather seating, auto-dimming rearview mirror, electronic climate control, power front seats with memory, power moonroof, power windows and door locks, R-Design steering wheel, R-Design gearshift knob, R-Design trimming and R-Design floor mats.

2013 Volvo XC90
Starting price

2013 Volvo XC90 3.2 R-Design Platinum

Recommended for: Buyers looking for the best that Volvo has to offer in a crossover SUV

Much like the 3.2 Platinum, the R-Design Platinum is the top trim level of the R-Design format. In fact, it sits atop the entire XC90 lineup. This model comes in at a base MSRP of $45,600. The R-Design Platinum carries over most of the standard features from the R-Design Premier Plus, but there are some significant differences. On the inside, it adds in a 650-watt, 12-speaker surround-sound stereo system with iPod and USB integration, and navigation with real-time traffic and map updates. On the outside, the R-Design Platinum is virtually identical to the R-Design Premier Plus.

2013 Volvo XC90
Starting price

2013 Volvo XC90 3.2 R-Design Premier Plus

Recommended for: Buyers that want a little added convenience while driving

The R-Design Premier Plus features all of the same options that the R-Design does on the inside and outside. On the inside, the Premier Plus option adds in a digital compass mounted in the far right side of the rearview mirror. Another addition to the inside of the Premier Plus trim level is the HomeLink integrate garage door opener, which you can program to open of close your garage door, so you no longer have to bring along the garage door remote. The final addition to the inside of the Premier Plus trim level are grocery back holders in the rear cargo area to prevent the bags from falling over and spilling their contents. On the outside, the R-Design Premier Plus is exactly the same as the base R-Design.

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