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About the Volvo XC90 – Priorities and Pricing
To get an understanding of the XC90’s advantages and limitations, let’s compare it with the competition in the luxury midsize SUV category. We can eliminate any strict five-seaters, since most people who buy the XC90 crossover fully intend to use the third-row seating. What remains is a list of solid alternatives, some of which are the Acura MDX, the Lincoln MKT, the serious off-roaders Land Rover LR4 and Lexus GX, as well as the Mercedes R-class and the Audi Q7. Of these, the Volvo XC90 is the least expensive, starting at 38,200 for 2011. The next cheapest, Acura’s popular MDX, starts $4000 higher, and the rest start at anywhere from $6000 to $14,000 more than the Volvo. To be fair, the Acura MDX comes with standard all-wheel drive whereas this is a $2000 option on the base XC90, so for buyers who want all-wheel drive the difference is smaller; however, the overall value offered by the Volvo XC90 is nonetheless clear to consumers and reviewers alike.
For its lower price, the Volvo XC90 sacrifices some luxury and driving performance according to reviewers. US News calls driving the V6 base model “largely boring” with “ho-hum performance” that nonetheless “handles well.” The V8 fares better. It “sounds good, and it rides well” according to Car and Driver. For Edmunds, the V6 “struggles noisily to get the vehicle up to speed” while the V8’s “performance and refinement are much improved,” albeit at a premium starting price of $48,000.
For many family-oriented drivers, however, sporty or powerful engines are just not the point. A lukewarm performer with impeccable safety features (we’ll get to those) is preferable to many parents when it’s time to drive the kids’ to their soccer match, or when the teenagers want to borrow the car. In such circumstances, Volvo’s conservative personality and driving performance is reassuring.
In keeping with the typical family driver’s desire for safety and value first, reviewers find the interior stylish and comfortable but less luxurious than the competition. They also observe that the third-row seats are small for adults, and suggest pricier options like the Lincoln MKT or the Land Rover LR4 if adult seating is a priority. However, they praise a generous array of adult- and kid-friendly features such as electronic climate control, third-row air conditioning, tilt steering with cruise and audio controls, USB/iPod music interface, Bluetooth and optional navigation. There is also a rear-seat dual-DVD-player system with two seven-inch LCD monitors and wireless headphones for kids to watch different DVDs simultaneously.
Safety Features and Ratings
For Edmunds, the Volvo XC90 is “easily one of the safest SUVs on the market.” Other reviewers agree. It boasts Volvo’s innovative Roll Stability Control, which uses a gyro sensor to detect the threat of rollover and activate the stability control system in response. The XC90 also uses cameras mounted in the side mirrors to detect and trigger a warning when a vehicle enters the blind spot. Its rear park assist comes standard, as does its Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Anti-Skid System, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Assist, a full complement of airbags, Volvo’s Whiplash Protection System, LATCH Child Safety Seat Attachment System, and innovative integrated second-row booster seats designed for children to easily fold up and down by themselves.
Such emphasis on safety has been recognized by both major crash-testing agencies in the United States, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The IIHS named the XC90 a “Top Safety Pick” for 2011 and gave it its best rating in front, side, rear and roof strength evaluations. The NHTSA awarded previous-year models its top rating of five stars in all categories except rollover, which received four stars. The XC90 has not yet been fully tested according to the NHTSA’s new, stricter standards implemented for 2011. However, consumers interested in learning about the new testing criteria can check out the NHTSA’s website www.safercars.gov, which also updates test results as they become available throughout the year. Reviewers expect the XC90 to continue performing well in crash-testing.
How much is car insurance for a Volvo XC90
Because of its emphasis on safe family driving, the Volvo XC90 is a reasonably-priced SUV to insure. The national average premium for a typical driver is just over $1400 annually, which is slightly less than similar insurance for the Acura MDX, and much cheaper than insurance for the Land Rover LR4 or Lincoln MKT. The national average is only a general reference point, however. A number of factors affect the way insurance companies determine your rate, including the state and town in which you live, driver age and driving record, credit history, your annual mileage, and any multi-policy discounts you may take advantage of. Some of these variables can have a huge impact; for example Vermont drivers can insure the XC90 for under $1000 annually on average, whereas in Louisiana the same coverage can average over $2200.
These variations aside, insurance companies are in heavy competition for consumer business, so it’s a good idea to compare quotes from a number of different insurers. Simply enter your zip code in the box now to begin shopping for insurance for a Volvo XC90.