The Volvo XC90 was first introduced back in 2003 while the 2nd generation came about back in 2016. The 2016 XC90 was the only big refresh of this popular mid-size premium SUV which means that you can’t really choose between many generations. Even so, we are going to tell you which Volvo XC90 to avoid in this very article, so stick around and find out!
The 2003/2004 XC90 seems to be the one with the highest number of complaints while also being a fairly dated example. This means that the 2003/2004 XC90 is not going to satisfy most people when it comes to technology, space, safety, and overall appeal, at least not in this market segment.
The 2016 Volvo XC90 was the biggest turning point in the life of the XC90 which means that the 2016 XC90 is the first model year of the 2nd generation XC90. The 2016 XC90 is a completely different vehicle from all other XC90 models that came before it which means that it set the bar for newer XC90 models to improve on.
Last, but certainly not least, you should also avoid the very latest 2023 Volvo XC90 because a new XC90 is right around the corner. The reason why 2023 should be avoided is that it costs too much for what it offers, especially considering that there are no EV variants and that it does not really differ even compared to the 2016 XC90.
If you’re looking for a used Volvo XC90, you might wanna take a look at the problems that Volvo XC90 might get.
2003/2004 Volvo XC90
The 2003/2004 XC90 was the very first XC90 to ever come out which means that Volvo started from a clean sheet of paper while designing the 1st gen XC90. This means that the 2003/2004 model, even though it was fairly successful, was/is plagued by a wide variety of issues, some of which can completely ruin the ownership experience.
For example, the electrical system within the 2003/2004 XC90 is susceptible to a whole load of issues, most notably, the power windows, the central control module, and faulty door locks. This model of the XC90 is also known to suffer from transmission issues that could require a rebuild or a brand-new transmission.
The suspension system is also fairly problematic as it can suffer from clunking noises and potentially prematurely worn-out shocks, bearings, and struts. The last reason why you should avoid the 2003/2004 XC90 is that it is a bit too old for the modern era as it lacks 90% of the features that create the modern-day premium SUV driving experience.
2016 Volvo XC90
The 2016 Volvo XC90 is the first model of the 2nd generation of the XC90. The 2nd generation of the XC90 propelled Volvo to the very top of the mid-size premium SUV market because it easily rivals the likes of the Audi Q7, the BMW X5, and the Mercedes GLE, even beating them in some regards.
However, with such a great change comes a few notable drawbacks, especially in the reliability department. First of all, the 2016 XC90 was initially plagued by a whole host of infotainment system issues, AC issues, and a whole host of software glitches and imperfections.
Even though many of the glitches have been solved through TSBs, recalls, and overall maintenance, the 2016 XC90 still remains the “least reliable 2nd generation of the XC90“ which is why it had to be included on this list.
Besides these, the 2016 XC90 also suffers from potential suspension issues while diesel engines suffer from injector trouble. The air suspension system that came with the 2016 XC90 transformed it into a really comfortable SUV, but it also created potentially expensive issues.
2023 Volvo XC90
The last model we are going to mention today is the newest 2023 Volvo XC90, but the reasoning behind this one is vastly different. First of all, the 2023 XC90 rivals all of its competitors (BMW X5, GLE, Q7, Cayenne…) in the price category, but the 2023 XC90 is more or less just a 2016 XC90 with better reliability records.
Even though that is no bad thing per se, it does mean that the 2023 XC90 does lack a little bit compared to some of its newer rivals, especially the Cayenne and the X5, both of which have had a complete refresh in 2023.
If you are a huge Volvo fan and you want the XC90 more than all the other ones in this segment, it would be a good idea to wait a year or so before the next-gen XC90 comes out which should be a thoroughly refreshed model with EV powertrains and much more technology, luxury, and style.
Should I Buy a 2016 Volvo XC90?
Even though the included the 2016 XC90 in our “XC90 to avoid“ list, it does not mean that you should automatically avoid it. It actually means that you should just be more careful when buying these. If you do find a nice example of a 2016 XC90, it would be a good idea to do a full pre-purchase inspection just to know how well-kept the car has been during its lifespan.
A 2016 Volvo XC90 can be a great purchase, but because it is a 7-8-year-old car now, it should be thoroughly looked at and it should also come with a commendable service history record, even if such examples cost a lot more money.
Should I Buy a 2003 Volvo XC90?
The 2003 Volvo XC90 is now a 20-year-old premium SUV which means that you need to be immensely careful when buying one. First of all, the 2003 XC90 was never the most reliable premium SUV to begin with, and 20 years on the road didn’t do it any favors either.
This model of the XC90 is lacking 90% of the technology we are used in cars today, so if that does not bother you, then you can consider buying a pristine example, otherwise, it makes little to no sense. The reason why is that even though it has depreciated immensely, spare parts still cost a lot.
When is the New Volvo XC90 Coming Out?
The next-gen Volvo XC90 should hit the streets sometime in Q4 2023 or Q1 2024 if everything goes according to plan. The new XC90 should come with an EV powertrain as well which is very welcome for those who want a smooth, quiet, and efficient driving experience.