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Volvo V90 Reliability

Volvo V90 Reliability

For decades, Volvo has built a reputation for engineering some of the safest and most reliable vehicles on the road. The Swedish automaker’s commitment to robust construction, meticulous design, and rigorous testing has earned it a loyal following among drivers who value longevity and peace of mind.


While Volvo’s boxy, tank-like models of yesteryear weren’t exactly paragons of style, they more than made up for it with their ability to log hundreds of thousands of miles with few major issues. Tales of well-maintained Volvo sedans and wagons lasting over 20 years and crossing the million-mile mark have become the stuff of automotive legend.


As Volvo has evolved its design language and embraced more luxurious appointments, some have wondered whether the brand’s vaunted reliability would take a hit. The V90, Volvo’s sleek and upscale mid-size wagon, represents a crucial test case. Can this stylish Swede still deliver on Volvo’s traditional virtues of durability and dependability?

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What is the Volvo V90?

The Volvo V90 is a premium mid-size wagon that combines Swedish luxury and design with versatility and capability. Introduced in 2016, the V90 serves as the flagship wagon in Volvo’s lineup, slotting above the V60 but below the larger V90 Cross Country.

With sleek Scandinavian styling, a spacious and well-appointed interior, and cutting-edge safety and tech features, the V90 offers an enticing alternative to traditional SUVs and sedans. It blends ample cargo space with a comfortable and refined driving experience, appealing to buyers seeking both practicality and prestige.

Key highlights of the V90 include a standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (with optional plug-in hybrid powertrain), all-wheel drive availability, a beautifully crafted cabin with premium materials, and the latest Volvo infotainment and driver assistance systems. The wagon also exemplifies Volvo’s focus on safety with its rigid construction and innovative safety technologies.

As a premium offering in a niche segment, the V90 competes with other luxury wagons like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon and Audi A6 Allroad. It carries a higher price tag than mainstream family haulers but delivers a more upscale experience aligned with Volvo’s reputation for quality and design leadership.

 

Reliability Ratings for the V90

When it comes to independent assessments of the Volvo V90’s reliability, the luxury wagon earns respectable but not stellar ratings. Consumer Reports, a leading non-profit organization known for its rigorous vehicle testing and surveys, gives most model years of the V90 an “Average” predicted reliability score. This positions the V90 as better than many luxury brands but not quite up to the level of top mainstream nameplates.

J.D. Power, another reputable source for automotive reliability data, bestows a score of 3.5 out of 5 for the V90’s reliability in the 2018-2020 model years. While not a perfect rating, this result is still above average for the luxury vehicle segment. It suggests that while the V90 may not be immune to issues, it’s less prone to problems than some competing upscale models.

Compared to other luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, Volvo tends to fare better in reliability assessments across its lineup. The V90 upholds this advantage, outperforming many of its direct rivals in areas like mechanical dependability and build quality. However, mainstream brands like Toyota, Honda, and Subaru still hold an edge over the V90 when it comes to predicted long-term durability and repair costs.

 

Common Problems with the V90

No vehicle is perfect, and the Volvo V90 is no exception. While overall reliability ratings are respectable, owners have reported a few recurring issues with this luxury wagon. Based on analysis of numerous owner reviews and expert assessments, the most commonly cited problems with the V90 include:

 

Infotainment System Glitches: Complaints about the V90’s infotainment system seem to be the most widespread. Owners report issues like frozen screens, connectivity problems with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, glitchy backup cameras, and audio system bugs or speaker failures.

Suspension Noises and Squeaks: A smaller but noteworthy percentage of V90 drivers mention experiencing annoying creaks, groans, or squeaking noises from the suspension, especially over bumps or at low speeds. This could potentially be related to bushing wear or lubrication issues.

Oil Leaks and Consumption: Some owners have reported problems with oil leaks from gaskets, seals, or other components. Others note higher than expected oil consumption between service intervals, requiring frequent top-ups.

Electrical Gremlins: As with many modern vehicles loaded with technology, scattered reports of various electrical bugs, sensor failures, or dashboard warning lights pop up for certain V90 owners.

Brake Issues: While not extremely common, there are instances of brake problems mentioned, such as excessive brake dust, warped rotors, or premature pad wear for some V90 models.

 

Real-World Owner Experiences

While expert ratings and statistics provide a helpful overview, nothing beats first-hand accounts from real-world V90 owners. Scouring online forums and owner reviews reveals a range of reliability experiences with Volvo’s luxury wagon.

On the positive side, many V90 drivers report smooth sailing with few to no issues. “I’ve had my V90 for over two years and 30,000 miles, and it’s been a dream,” writes one owner on Edmunds. “Not a single problem or trip to the dealer beyond routine maintenance.” Similar stories of trouble-free ownership abound.

However, the V90 isn’t immune to complaints. As mentioned, infotainment system glitches seem to be the most common gripe. “The Sensus system is laggy and has frozen up multiple times, requiring a full reboot,” laments a V90 Cross Country owner on Reddit. Electrical bugs like flickering lights or non-functioning accessories also crop up occasionally.

Mechanical problems aren’t unheard of either, though they appear less prevalent. A few owners have reported issues with the turbocharger, transmission, suspension components, and oil leaks – particularly on higher mileage examples. That said, many of these faults seem repairable without catalyzing a crisis of confidence.

Overall, V90 owner sentiments skew positive when it comes to reliability. With proper maintenance and care, Volvo’s slick wagon seems to deliver on its promise of premium durability for most buyers. But like any vehicle, gremlins can and do surface for an unlucky few.

 

Maintenance and Longevity Tips

Like any vehicle, the key to maximizing the Volvo V90’s reliability and longevity lies in proper maintenance and care. While Volvos are engineered for dependability, adhering to the recommended service schedule and addressing issues promptly can significantly extend the life of your V90.

First and foremost, follow the maintenance schedule outlined in your owner’s manual. This includes regular oil changes, fluid top-offs, tire rotations, and other routine services. Using genuine Volvo parts and having the work done by a trained Volvo technician can also help ensure quality and longevity.

Pay close attention to any warning lights or unusual noises, as these can indicate potential problems that require attention. Addressing issues early can prevent more significant (and costly) repairs down the road.

Proper storage and care are also essential for maximizing your V90’s lifespan. Keep it clean, both inside and out, and protect it from the elements when possible. Avoid excessive idling, aggressive driving, and overloading the vehicle beyond its rated capacity.

Consider investing in protective treatments like paint protection film, ceramic coatings, or rust-proofing, particularly if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions or salted roads. These can help safeguard your V90’s exterior and undercarriage from premature wear and corrosion.

Finally, keep up with any recalls or technical service bulletins issued by Volvo. These address known issues and can help prevent potential problems before they arise.

 

The V90’s Resale Value Remains Strong

Reliability plays a crucial role in determining a vehicle’s resale value, as prospective buyers are willing to pay a premium for a model known for its dependability. In this regard, the Volvo V90 fares exceptionally well, losing value at a slower rate than most of its competitors in the luxury wagon segment.

According to industry experts, the V90 boasts one of the highest resale values in its class, thanks in large part to Volvo’s reputation for building reliable and long-lasting vehicles. This reputation, combined with the V90’s sleek styling, luxurious interior, and advanced safety features, contributes to the model’s strong demand on the used car market.

While luxury vehicles generally depreciate faster than their mainstream counterparts, the V90 bucks this trend, retaining a higher percentage of its original value over time. This not only benefits current owners when it comes time to sell or trade in their V90, but it also makes the wagon a more attractive proposition for buyers in the used market, as they can expect to recoup a greater portion of their investment down the line.

Compared to other luxury wagons, such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon or the BMW 5 Series Touring, the V90 holds its value remarkably well. This can be attributed to Volvo’s unwavering commitment to building reliable and safe vehicles, which resonates strongly with both new and used car buyers.

Ultimately, the V90’s strong resale value is a testament to its reliability and desirability, making it a wise choice for those seeking a luxurious and dependable wagon that will retain its value over the years.

 

Reliability by Model Year

While the Volvo V90 generally earns respectable reliability ratings, some model years stand out as more robust than others. By analyzing data from organizations like Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, and owner forums, we can pinpoint the V90’s most dependable iterations.

The 2020 Volvo V90 emerges as one of the most reliable model years. Consumer Reports gave it a better-than-average predicted reliability score, and owners report relatively few issues. Common complaints focus on infotainment glitches and minor interior squeaks, but significant mechanical problems seem rare.

The 2019 V90 also fares well in dependability assessments. J.D. Power awarded it a strong 4 out of 5 reliability rating, and long-term owners praise its durability. However, some owners note troubles with the stop/start system and occasional electrical gremlins.

Ratings for the 2018 V90 are more mixed. While it earned an “About Average” score from Consumer Reports, some owners have reported problems with leaking sunroofs, faulty fuel pumps, and transmission issues in high-mileage examples. Careful maintenance seems key for this model year.

The 2017 V90, being the inaugural model, saw a few more teething issues. Owners frequently cited infotainment system freezes, along with occasional engine hesitation and turbo problems. However, many of these glitches were addressed under warranty.

Looking ahead, the 2023 and 2024 Volvo V90 models incorporate further refinements and inherit the brand’s latest tech and safety features. While too new for extensive real-world data, these recent iterations should build upon Volvo’s reputation for robust, long-lasting vehicles.

 

Comparing to Other Luxury Wagons

When assessing the Volvo V90’s reliability, it’s helpful to compare it to other luxury wagons on the market. Two of its closest competitors are the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon and the Audi A6 Allroad.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon has traditionally been known for its solid build quality and dependability. However, in recent years, its reliability ratings have slipped somewhat. Consumer Reports gives the 2022 E-Class Wagon a below-average predicted reliability rating, citing issues with the infotainment system, body hardware, and power equipment. J.D. Power, meanwhile, rates the 2022 E-Class Wagon’s overall quality as about average for the segment.

The Audi A6 Allroad, on the other hand, has generally fared better in reliability assessments. Consumer Reports rates the 2022 model as “Above Average” for predicted reliability, praising its solid powertrain and electrical systems. J.D. Power also gives the 2022 A6 Allroad a slightly above-average quality and reliability score.

Compared to these two rivals, the Volvo V90 tends to land somewhere in the middle. Its reliability ratings are generally average to slightly above average, putting it ahead of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon but slightly behind the Audi A6 Allroad. Of course, individual experiences can vary, but the data suggests the V90 offers competitive reliability for a luxury wagon.

 

Impact of Volvo’s Warranty and Support

Volvo’s warranty coverage and support services play a crucial role in the overall reliability experience for V90 owners. The Swedish automaker offers a comprehensive 4-year/50,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, which covers most components and provides peace of mind for buyers. Additionally, Volvo includes a 12-year unlimited mileage warranty against corrosion perforation, demonstrating their confidence in the vehicle’s build quality.

Should any issues arise, Volvo’s roadside assistance program ensures that V90 owners receive prompt attention and support. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and includes features such as towing, lockout assistance, jump-starts, and even trip interruption benefits. With a vast network of authorized Volvo service centers across Canada, owners can rely on knowledgeable technicians using genuine Volvo parts for repairs and maintenance.

Furthermore, Volvo offers a comprehensive scheduled maintenance program that covers various services at specific mileage intervals. This program not only helps maintain the V90’s reliability but also provides added value and convenience for owners. By following the recommended maintenance schedule and utilizing Volvo’s support services, V90 owners can maximize their vehicle’s dependability and enjoy a worry-free ownership experience.

 

Reliability for Different Drivetrain Options

The Volvo V90 offers several engine and drivetrain choices, and it’s worth considering whether reliability varies across these options. The most common powertrains include:

 

  • T5 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder (250 hp) with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
  • T6 2.0L turbocharged and supercharged 4-cylinder (316 hp) with all-wheel drive
  • T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid with the T6 engine plus an electric motor (400 hp combined) and all-wheel drive

 

According to owner reports and expert assessments, the T5 front-wheel drive configuration tends to be the most reliable option. Its relatively simple drivetrain design with fewer complex components reduces potential failure points. The all-wheel drive T5 models see a slight uptick in issues, likely due to the added AWD system.

The more powerful T6 engine appears just as dependable as the T5, with no glaring reliability gaps. However, its standard all-wheel drive system does introduce another layer of complexity that could require more maintenance over time.

The T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid represents the biggest potential reliability wild card. Its sophisticated gasoline-electric hybrid technology is cutting-edge but also relatively unproven long-term. While no major issues have surfaced yet, the T8’s complex powertrain may be more prone to problems as miles accumulate.

 

Long-Term Ownership Costs of the Volvo V90

While the Volvo V90 may have a higher upfront cost compared to some mainstream vehicles, its long-term ownership expenses are relatively reasonable for a luxury wagon. Proper maintenance is crucial for keeping costs down, and Volvo’s recommended service intervals are similar to other premium brands.

According to reputable automotive data providers, the estimated annual maintenance and repair costs for the V90 range from $800 to $1,200 per year. These figures cover routine services like oil changes, brake pad replacements, and other wear-and-tear items. Compared to other luxury wagons and SUVs, the V90’s costs are about average.

Major repairs, should they be needed, can be more expensive due to the complexity of modern vehicles and the use of premium parts. However, Volvo’s reputation for reliability and the V90’s solid build quality help mitigate the likelihood of costly repairs during the ownership period.

Depreciation is another significant factor in long-term costs. Like most luxury vehicles, the V90 experiences higher-than-average depreciation, particularly in the first few years of ownership. However, its strong residual values help offset this expense. After the initial depreciation curve, the V90 tends to hold its value better than many competitors, thanks to its desirable wagon body style and Volvo’s brand equity.

Overall, while the Volvo V90 may not be the most affordable vehicle to own long-term, its costs are reasonable for a premium European wagon. Diligent maintenance, careful driving habits, and choosing the right trim level and options can help maximize the V90’s value retention and keep long-term expenses in check.

 

Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins

While the Volvo V90 has a respectable overall reliability record, it’s not without some issues that have prompted recalls and technical service bulletins from the manufacturer. Being aware of these potential problems can help owners stay ahead of reliability concerns.

One notable recall affected certain 2017-2019 V90 models equipped with the 2.0L turbocharged engine. Volvo issued a recall to address an issue where the engine’s cooling system could leak, potentially leading to engine damage or stalling. Owners of affected vehicles had the cooling system inspected and repaired as needed under this recall.

Another recall focused on the V90’s autonomous emergency braking system. Some 2017-2018 models were recalled due to a software glitch that could cause the system to brake unexpectedly, increasing the risk of a crash. A software update resolved this problem.

Volvo has also released several technical service bulletins related to the V90’s infotainment system and electrical components. Issues addressed include frozen touchscreens, faulty backup cameras, and malfunctioning exterior lighting. While not safety recalls, these bulletins advise technicians on proper diagnostic and repair procedures.

Overall, the number of recalls and service bulletins for the V90 has been relatively limited compared to some competitors. However, it’s still important for owners to stay current on any open campaigns that could affect their vehicle’s reliability and safety. Working with an authorized Volvo dealer is recommended to ensure any necessary repairs are completed correctly.

 

Reliability for Canadian Drivers

For Canadian drivers, the Volvo V90’s reliability takes on added importance due to the country’s often harsh winter conditions. Fortunately, the V90 seems well-equipped to handle the rigors of Canadian climates with its capable all-wheel drive system and robust build quality.

Many Canadian V90 owners report that the wagon performs admirably in snow and ice, with the all-wheel drive providing confidence-inspiring traction. The V90’s ground clearance is also sufficient for dealing with unplowed roads and deep snow accumulation. Heated seats and steering wheel make cold morning starts more comfortable.

That said, some owners have experienced issues with the V90’s infotainment and electrical systems when temperatures dip below freezing. Glitches with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity seem to crop up more frequently in extreme cold. A few drivers have also reported problems with frozen door locks and malfunctioning windshield wiper de-icers.

Overall, the consensus among Canadian V90 owners is that the wagon delivers solid winter reliability when properly maintained and equipped with quality winter tires. While not totally immune to cold weather gremlins, the V90 fares better than many luxury vehicles in harsh Canadian conditions. Diligent service and the use of approved Volvo accessories like engine block heaters can further enhance cold climate reliability.

 

Choosing a Reliable Used V90

For those in the market for a pre-owned Volvo V90, there are several key factors to consider to increase the chances of getting a reliable vehicle. First and foremost, meticulously review the service history records to ensure the previous owner(s) adhered to Volvo’s recommended maintenance schedule. Any gaps or delays in service could be a red flag for potential issues down the road.

It’s also wise to get a vehicle history report from a reputable provider like CarFax or AutoCheck. This report can reveal any past accidents, floods, or fire damage that may have impacted the V90’s structural integrity or electrical systems. Steer clear of any vehicles with a troubling history.

During your test drive and pre-purchase inspection, pay close attention to any warning lights on the dash, as well as any unusual noises, vibrations, or odors that could signal underlying problems. Specifically for the V90, carefully test all infotainment functions, as this has been an area where some owners have reported glitches.

Consider having an independent mechanic, ideally one familiar with Volvos, perform a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection. They can identify any existing issues or worn components that may need replacing soon. This evaluation can provide valuable negotiating leverage and prevent unpleasant surprises after the purchase.

When possible, aim for lower mileage examples and opt for vehicles with a single, meticulous owner over cases with multiple previous owners. Lastly, research pricing guides to ensure you’re paying a fair market price that accounts for the V90’s mileage, condition, and options.

 

The Verdict: Is the Volvo V90 Reliable?

After an in-depth analysis of expert assessments, owner experiences, and reliability data, the Volvo V90 emerges as a dependable choice in the luxury wagon segment. While not flawless, the V90 demonstrates respectable reliability that aligns with Volvo’s reputation for durability.

Independent organizations like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power rate the V90 as about average or slightly above average for predicted reliability compared to other vehicles. These ratings position the V90 better than most luxury brands but not quite on par with top mainstream nameplates.

Real-world owner reviews reveal a largely positive experience with V90 reliability. While some owners report issues with infotainment systems and occasional mechanical glitches, the overwhelming majority express satisfaction with their wagon’s dependability over thousands of miles.

Ultimately, the Volvo V90 proves a compelling option for shoppers seeking both luxury and reliability. With proper maintenance and care, the V90 should provide years of trustworthy service. Its strong residual values also reflect the market’s confidence in this sleek Swedish wagon’s long-term durability.

For discerning buyers who prioritize an upscale yet practical vehicle they can depend on, the Volvo V90 deserves serious consideration. While not perfect, it delivers on Volvo’s promise of safety and reliability with modern luxury and style.

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Questions About The Volvo V90 Reliability

The Volvo V90 has proven to be a very reliable vehicle in Canada. Volvo has a reputation for safety and reliability, and the V90 is no exception. Owners report few mechanical issues, even after several years and high mileage. The most common problems are minor electrical glitches. Overall, Consumer Reports rates V90 reliability as 4 out of 5.

Some minor issues reported by Canadian V90 owners include:

 

– Infotainment system freezing or lagging

– Faulty climate control sensors

– Excessive wind noise at highway speeds

– Clunking noise from suspension over bumps

– Transmission hesitation or rough shifts (fixed by software update)

 

But overall, the V90 has proven very reliable with few recurring issues in Canada. Proper maintenance is key to minimizing problems.

Maintenance costs for the V90 are reasonable compared to other luxury wagons. Oil changes range from $100-150 CAD. Brakes last long but cost $800+ when replaced. Volvo recommends service every 12 months/20,000 km at a cost of $300-500. Out of warranty repairs can be pricey due to high parts costs. But the V90 is very reliable, so major repairs are uncommon. Extended warranties provide peace of mind.

The 2018+ V90 models have proven most reliable after ironing out a few first-year bugs. Opt for a well-maintained T5 or T6 inscription model with complete service records for best reliability. The 2020-2022 model years offer the latest tech and longest remaining factory warranty coverage. Avoid the rare plug-in hybrid T8 model, as the complex drivetrain may have higher repair costs.

Properly maintained V90s often reach 300,000+ km with few major issues. Volvo engines and transmissions are built to last in Canada’s extreme climate. Owners in Quebec and the Prairies report their V90s hold up very well in cold winters and hot summers. With regular maintenance, 15+ years of reliable service is realistic for a V90 in Canada.

An extended warranty can provide value and peace of mind for a V90 owner in Canada. Volvo’s factory warranty is 4 years/80,000 km, so an extended plan kicks in after that coverage expires. Most major repairs happen after the 5-year mark. Replacement parts and labor rates are expensive in Canada, so a warranty helps offset those costs. Consider your budget, driving habits and repair risk tolerance when deciding on extended coverage.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta and Bridgestone Blizzak tires consistently earn top ratings from Canadian drivers. Both provide exceptional winter grip and handling in snow, slush and ice. The Nokian WR G4 all-weather tire is another great option with winter traction almost as good as full winter tires. Install narrower rims in winter to accommodate these tires for maximum performance.

With proper winter tires installed, the V90 is very capable in Canadian winters and snow. The long roof helps weight distribution for excellent balance and stability. Available AWD provides extra traction when needed. Ground clearance is sufficient for most snow conditions. Heated seats, steering wheel and wipers keep things cozy inside. Overall, Canadian V90 owners give it high marks for winter drivability.

The V90 Cross Country features a higher ground clearance and standard AWD optimized for rough Canadian conditions. Reliability ratings match the standard V90, with a 4 out of 5 score from Consumer Reports. Most repairs needed are minor issues. The complex AWD system may incur higher repair costs outside of warranty. But overall, the Cross Country version demonstrates the great reliability expected from Volvo.

Minor electrical glitches top the list of V90 problems reported in Canada. This includes issues with door locks, power windows, sunroof, and computer modules. The climate control system also suffers sporadic sensor failures. Finally, some owners report excessive wind noise from ill-fitting body panels. But in general, the V90 avoids major mechanical issues even at high mileage thanks to Volvo’s engineering and build quality.

Insurance rates for the V90 are reasonable compared to other luxury wagons. Average annual premiums range from $1,500 – $2,500, depending on your location. V90 safety ratings help lower costs, as collision claims are less frequent. Consider features like an alarm system and winter tires for additional savings on your premiums. Gaining multi-policy or multi-vehicle discounts from your provider also helps reduce costs.

New 2023 V90 prices now start around $59,950 CAD for a base Momentum model. Well-equipped Inscription models run $63,950 and add features like leather upholstery, heated rear seats and a premium sound system. Top-trim V90s with the Polestar performance package can top $80,000. Various option packages let buyers customize and increase the price further based on desired features.

Used V90 pricing averages:

 

– 2018 – $38,000 CAD

– 2019 – $42,000 CAD

– 2020 – $47,000 CAD

– 2021 – $52,000 CAD

 

Factor in mileage, condition, service records and options when negotiating used V90 prices. Well-maintained examples with complete histories command premium resale values closer to original MSRP.

The V90 wagon provides excellent passenger and cargo space for Canadian families. Family-friendly highlights include:

 

– Optional integrated child booster seats

– Generous rear legroom and headroom

– Large rear cargo area for strollers, hockey bags, etc

– Easy access for installing baby seats

– Advanced safety features like auto braking

– Available built-in WiFi and rear seat entertainment

The complex T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid system does present more potential reliability issues versus gas-only V90 models. However, Volvo stands behind these vehicles with an 8 year/160,000 km warranty on hybrid components. Overall, the V90 T8 demonstrates fairly average PHEV reliability if properly maintained. Battery capacity loss appears very minimal over time.

Natural Resources Canada rates V90 fuel economy at:

 

– City: 11.5 L/100 km

– Highway: 8.4 L/100 km

– Combined: 10.2 L/100 km

 

So expect around 10-11 L/100 km in mixed driving for a front-wheel drive V90. The heavier AWD models consume closer to 12 L/100 km combined. These numbers match what most Canadian owners report with a mix of city and highway driving.

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