By on April 25, 2016

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription Car wash, Image: Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

We said the new Volvo XC90 would need to sell very well. It is, in fact, selling well. And given the sharp declines Volvo is reporting with every other model, we may have understated the need.

Globally, Volvo reported an all-time record number of sales in calendar year 2015. In the United States, however, even with the second-generation XC90 displaying signs of recovery, Volvo sales in 2015 were half the total achieved by Volvo 11 years earlier.

But in early 2016, Volvo’s big new SUV isn’t simply “displaying signs of recovery.”

Nearly half of all Volvos sold in America in the first-quarter of 2016 were XC90s.

Volvo is therefore on track for U.S. sales to climb to a nine-year high. Yet, aside from the XC90, Volvo’s U.S. operations are displaying many troubling signs.

Over the first three months of 2016, non-XC90 Volvo sales are down 37 percent, a loss of more than 5,000 S60, S80, V60, XC70, and XC60 sales in a market that is producing greater overall new vehicle sales volume than during the record-setting year of 2015.

The age of numerous Volvos plays a large role in the brand’s non-XC90 downturn. The XC60, Volvo’s best seller at this time last year, launched in 2009. The XC70, U.S. volume of which is now about one-fourth what it was 14 years ago, is older than the XC60. Production of the S60 sedan began in 2010. Volvo’s recent debuts, the V60 and Cross Country versions of the S60 and V60, are based on that six-year-old second-generation S60.

2016 Volvo XC90 interior collage, Image: Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Volvo’s outdated S80 is about to be replaced by an all-new S90 sedan and V90 wagon, XC90-based cars with real appeal. Historically, stylish big Volvos weren’t forces with which to be reckoned in the U.S. market. S80 sales plunged 83 percent between 2008 and 2015, the third consecutive year in which Volvo sold fewer than 2,000 S80s in America. (Volvo sold 15,359 S80s in 2002 before sales declined in 11 of the following 13 years.) Not only is a Volvo not the obvious choice in the S90’s class, but the obvious choices are already suffering as consumers increasingly reject big sedans in favour of similarly-priced utilities. Through the first-quarter of 2016, U.S. sales of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class are down 24 percent, BMW 5-Series are down 20 percent, and Audi A6 sales are down 30 percent.

Volvo surely won’t allow its formerly popular models to linger unreplaced forever, as the now Chinese-owned Swedish automaker did with the XC90. 2017 should see a new XC60; 2018 is expected to bring a third-gen S60 and its offshoots. And we can expect to see North American imports of Volvo’s next-gen entry-level models, too, including an XC40 to take on the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

In the meantime, the XC90 is covering all the bases; scoring goals and defending the net; throwing touchdowns and receiving punts. Having just spent a week with a 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription, it’s safe to say the XC90 isn’t perfect. It isn’t as quiet as I expected, its ride quality becomes choppy (especially on 21-inch wheels), a few common premium components (power tilt/telescoping wheel and power folding seats, for example) are missing, the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder isn’t terribly responsive off the line, and the auto stop/start can be gruff.

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription, Image: Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

The new XC90 nevertheless is mostly pleasant to pilot, its interior wows where so many of its rivals bore, and it’s full of thoughtful elements (second-row built-in booster, numerous storage cubbies and hooks, abundant mounting points for different OEM barriers, hugely adjustable seats).

It’s therefore not surprising that, year-over-year, U.S. XC90 sales have now increased in 11 consecutive months. March sales climbed to 3,000 units, just the second 3K month (the other being December 2015’s 3,135-unit performance) since December 2007, a 99-month span. Of the 16,361 Volvos sold in the United States so far this year, 48 percent were XC90s.

Volvo USA averaged 35,000 annual XC90 sales between 2003 and 2007. 2016 sales are projected to climb beyond 30,000 units for the first time since then. This rebound is occurring even though the XC90 must deal with more rivals now than when it was launched, including the Audi Q7, Infiniti QX60, and Land Rover Range Rover Sport. Plus, two vehicles which didn’t sell quite as well as the XC90 in 2004 — the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class — are now genuinely high-volume competitors the XC90 won’t soon catch.

Inside the XC90’s own showroom, however, the key difference in Volvo’s overall U.S. performance is rather obvious. When XC90 sales peaked at 39,230 units in 2004, Volvo also sold 100,000 other vehicles in America. In 2016, as Volvo’s U.S. dealers deliver more than 30,000 XC90s, they’re unlikely to deliver more than 40,000 other Volvos.

[Images: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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96 Comments on “Volvo’s New XC90 Is Soaring; Other Volvos Are Tanking...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Yep, that interior is spectacular.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      So, they put you into Swedish furniture set. But I would rather have that 4L I find in 4Runner. In the end, this is a car site. CAR! I have a really expensive leather set where I can rest at home. But I want to drive a car and be part of the machine. XC90 is not a machine. It is high-maintenance-bitch’s sex toy.

  • avatar
    ajla

    There was the old saying that went something like “Ferrari sells you an engine and throws in the rest of the car for free”.

    Well, the new Volvos sell you an interior and throw in the rest of the vehicle for free.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Looking forward to see what comes of the XC60.

  • avatar

    *A Makeup case?
    *Storage for shoes under/in the passenger seat?
    *A footrest when the seat bends over?
    *Champagne flute holders?

    One of my friend’s bought an XC90 – under my suggestion – and the rear seat package wasn’t available yet.

    WHO EXACTLY IS THIS CAR FOR?

    It’s a quiet ride and luxurious interior – very spacious – but with features like it has, it feels like it’s for women – to be chauffeured around by hubby.

    If you have $60,000- $100,000

    Thing is:

    #1 How many people would take a “Volvo” over an Audi Q something, Mercedes GLC or GLE, BMW X whatever or even the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

    #2 How many people are planning to spend $100,000 on a “Volvo”?

    That’s S-class money…

    That’s Escalade money.

    The only thing Volvo has really done here is ADVERTISE IT.

    More Advertising = WANT.

    The Germans already offer rear seat packages like this. All they’d have to do is ADVERTISE THEM MOAR.

    Or Escalade, Navigator and Jeep could add packages like this to the rear seat – charge an extra $10k and make MOAR sales.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      BTSR,
      I am not a SUV guy but we have one in the house, but I gotta say I do not give a Sh*t about back seat packages , I am driving the thing, only my kids will be in the back and I am sure they will survive w/o the back seat package. I would buy this 10 times over the Escalade and over the GLE, GLC any BMW X and the Jeep every day. The only one I would shop it against would be the Q. Your may be right it is S class money and I would take the S over it, ( well really the new E I am not a S class fan) but most folks like a SUV. I just went to the Volvo site and a mostly loaded xc 90 would be about 65,000 not exactly 100K but not cheap either.

      The Volvo interior is great and it is a safe car that ages pretty well compared to some others, I think the Volvo would hold up better long term than the others you listed as well.

      • 0 avatar
        MrKiwi

        This. I just built a nice model on their web site for under $50k. That’s the same price as we paid for a brand new Buick Enclave.

        I loaded up the Volvo on their web site with every available option I could put on and still didn’t break $70k. And that was with silly options like the 10 spoke Turbine Polished Alloy Wheels (positive bargain at $3,680!).

        BTSR, where are you getting $100k from?

        • 0 avatar

          Considering I just bought a HELLCAT ($75,000) and a Jeep SRT ($76,000)…And I’m preparing to re-lease at Hyundai for $30,000 – $55,000…

          …o I dunno. I’ll think of something.

          • 0 avatar
            seth1065

            BTSR,
            I understand you get a kick back every time you say hellcat but that has nothing to do with this. I am not sure you could get a XC 90 up to 100K but I will take your word on it but a pretty loaded one is about 1/3 of that.
            Edit I just went to the Volvo website and the most I can spend is $79,125 on a XC 90 getting every option so your mistaken, perhaps you can not say Hellcat or write it for the rest of the day.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Out of all the B&B, you are one of those who consistently puts your money where your mouth is. And you do it with luxurious performance trim levels.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Well, he’s also the B&B who seems to put his mouth where the money is, otherwise I see no reason for a Hyundai to consistently be intertwined with his Hellcat euphoria.

        • 0 avatar
          pb35

          The upcoming top spec XC90 Excellence trim level will start at $105,895, that’s where the $100k comes from.

          I’ve owned a 2007 XC90 V8 Sport since new (at 78k now) and I can’t say that it’s been the most reliable vehicle I’ve owned. I sunk 10k into it last year and am probably getting ready to dump it soon. I don’t think it’ll be replaced with another XC either, though I do like the new model.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            In my mind no Volvo not owned by Irv is worth $100K USD, ever.

          • 0 avatar
            seth1065

            PB35,
            I either missed that or it is not on the Volvo website, if I missed it I am wrong and owe BTSR a apology.

          • 0 avatar
            seth1065

            what cost 10K in your xc 90, just wondering as that seems like a tom of cash for a 78,000 mile sub, I have owned several Volvos all xc 70 but while that were not cheap to fix nothing in that ballpark.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        I doubt the Volvo is any safer than the others. There was a time when Volvo could advertise “safety” – even though most of the innovations were pioneered by Mercedes.

        Volvo comes out w/ a new SUV that sells well for a couple of years and then disappears into the wallpaper for a decade. Volvo hasn’t had the money or base to meet the competition except for brief periods. I fear the competition that’s eroding profits in the luxury space may be fatal to weak companies like Volvo.

        That said, the new wagon is striking and absolutely gorgeous.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          re: “I doubt the Volvo is any safer than the others.”

          The S60 was one of the only cars to pass the first round of small-overlap crash tests on the first try, so there’s that.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            >>The S60 was one of the only cars to pass the first round of small-overlap crash tests on the first try, so there’s that.<<

            Well, when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its first annual "Top Safety Picks" vehicles list, none of Volvo's offered vehicles in the US were included on the list.

            So much for the Volvo advertising campaign from ancient times, the 1970's.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            thornmark,

            Were there any Volvos in that particular group? IIHS only tests a few cars at a time.

            The S60 and XC60 got the highest marks in their fist test. I think only one other car did (TSX?). For a while, Volvo was the only brand to bat 1000.

            The other manufacturers only caught-up after introducing all-new platforms.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            “The are some surprising omissions from the list of winners. There no Volvos, for example, among the winners. Volvo, which is part of Ford Motor Company, has traditionally marketed its vehicles as being particularly safe.

            “Volvo is lagging behind its competitors,” said Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Institute. Other car companies with strong reputations for safety also did not have vehicles represented among the winners.”
            http://edition.cnn.com/2005/AUTOS/12/04/iihs_top_safety/

        • 0 avatar
          pb35

          Seth1065

          The big one was the transmission and radiator. The trans cooler leaked coolant into the transmission and it started slipping. After that the power steering pump failed and I also had some front suspension bushings replaced. I live in Texas so I think perhaps the hot climate may have contributed; just a theory.

          All work was performed at the dealer so I could surely have had it done cheaper at my Volvo indie but that’s not how I roll (I roll, get it?)…

        • 0 avatar
          Tostik

          Back in the day Volvo’s claim was that it didn’t build it’s cars to pass a few simplistic crash tests, but rather it built it’s cars to pass real world crashes, based on it’s duplication of 1,000s of actual accidents. Yes, Volvo had to cave-in and do the simplistic stilted crash tests to get the public grades. Ironically though, the IIHS figured out that car companies were indeed just building their cars to pass crash tests. Part of their thinking behind the ‘small overlap’ test was to out this kind of behavior. Everyone was caught off-guard, except for Volvo (and maybe Subaru), proving that Volvo was building far ahead of the IIHS’s simplistic crash tests. The IIHS needs to do some more unexpected creative crash tests. Volvo would shine again.

          And not just the ‘small overlap test’ but roof strength testing a little over 10 years ago, caused many cars to fall off the Top Safety pick award, including 11 Toyota models. Volvo did great, as did VW and Subaru. Almost everyone else was embarrassed by this test too.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      The excellence package with the Bentley-style rear seat is for China. It’s offered here because it doesn’t really cost anything to offer it, and if there are a few takers, then that’s a few more $ in Volvo’s pocket. And you make it sound like they run from $60-100k, which is not really representative of the average configuration sold (probably a T5 Momentum starting at 43K). There are a lot of otherwise good values out there that you can option up to compete with more expensive cars, and although few people do, it’s nice to have the choice.

  • avatar
    brucebanner

    Recently there was a strange thing happening. Everyone drove in new Volvo S/CUVs with temp tags. They drive them for a week or so, then went back to their old cars.

    Either way, they’re too expensive and I am under the impression that they lack in long term reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      ” Everyone drove in new Volvo S/CUVs with temp tags. They drive them for a week or so, then went back to their old cars.”

      Could you expand on this. I’m not exactly sure of what you’re saying.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think he just made it up. He’d have to a) know what people drove before, b) see them with a temp tag, and then c) see the old car return afterward (because dealers will allow you to just swap it back out?).

        So this limits it to his family and neighbors whom he sees daily in their cars. “Everyone,” right?

      • 0 avatar
        brucebanner

        Unfortunately for me, my boys have to attend private school. I am the one who drops them off and picks them up. The drop-off/Pick-up line looks like the Presidential motorcade with all of the giant SUVs driven by the soccer moms. mostly they are Cadillac, Mercedes, GMC, with a few Volvo. Recently, as in the past two or three months, there were maybe 4 to 6 of these swapped for new Volvo S/CUV. It was particularly striking because they are good looking vehicles and they were all white. They never had the temp tags taken off. They were all sent back.

        My assumption is that the dealer called up their best customers and offered to lend them one for a week or three. I never asked any of the moms about it. There is plenty of new cars there and I thought it was a co-incidence.

        Seeing this article makes me think it was a sales push. At least one of them put on real tags and kept the vehicle. It was the bigger one.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    GM seems to get away with 10 year old designs in their big SUVs.
    Ditto the Jeeps.

    And IF I were going to get a new car today, the XC60 is certainly one of the top 3 choices. It STILL is one of the top in the Mid to Compact SUV category. It would be a close choice against the RDX and the Edge.

    And gosh…we gotta see the new V90 wagon. I love this car.

    IMO…it was that stupid small and expensive wagon and lifted off-road wagon that took a lot of real buyers away thinking Volvo was mailing in old stuff with new images.
    They could get more for less elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Doctor

      I’d be willing to bet that most people who think “Volvo wagon” think of the older square versions. The current V60 is more of a hatchback than a practical wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      My wife drove an XC60, Q5 and JGC Altitude before picking. The Volvo was a distant third. The Q5, while very well packaged, priced and put together, ended up coming in second to the Jeep. No, the Jeep interior is nowhere as well put together as the Audi, but taken as a package, the Jeep ran circles around it. Better powertrain, better suspension setup, quieter, more room.

      The only (objective) advantage to the Audi was the fuel economy on the 2.0T model. The Grand Cherokee won points on everything else, plus that je ne sais quoi which is The Jeep Brand. Assuming this one continues to hold up, Jeep may have a lifer in my wife.

      I was rooting for the Volvo originally.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        I must admit I have been searching for GC diesels online. Believe it or not, they are going for a lot less than I originally saw.
        Even better with a few thousand on them.
        IF I was going to actually pull the trigger, the GC D would be there.

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          TrailerTrash –

          Buddy of mine has a ’14 diesel and he loves it, except that it’s been less than reliable. My understanding, separate from this anecdotal, is that the diesels in general are less reliable, and the ’14s are particularly bad.

          You are correct on the values – I almost picked up a ’15 JGC Overland V8 in December with 10k on the odometer for $35k.

      • 0 avatar

        The XC60 SUV is the most disappointing vehicle Volvo offers IMO.

        I ended up getting an XC70 Cross Country wagon and it’s a much better “SUV” than the XC60 and it’s also an excellent car. It does everything better than the XC60, both SUV things and car things.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          TRI

          While I don’t agree that the XC60 is the most disappointing (I reserve that for the overly expensive small wagons) Volvo, I can agree with the love for the XC70.
          I do not know why I love it, but I do.
          Wagons are just so functional and, well, OK…cool?????
          It’s my damned wife that will not allow any wagons.
          At all.
          The latest one comes with the turbo 4, although I don’t think it has the supercharged/turbo T6. I wish it had as there is NEVER enough POWER!

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    re: ” the XC90 isn’t perfect. It isn’t as quiet as I expected, its ride quality becomes choppy (especially on 21-inch wheels), a few common premium components (power tilt/telescoping wheel and power folding seats, for example) are missing, the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder isn’t terribly responsive off the line, and the auto stop/start can be gruff.”

    That’s minor nit-picking. It may influence some purchase decisions, but it won’t have an effect overall. Every competitor also has a number of flaws which could sway specific buyers.
    Overall, the XC-90 is the best-finished and best-driving large luxury SUV right now, so they deserve all the sales they are getting. Can’t wait to see the S/V/XC-60 replacement. The current models are still really good, so it will be interesting to see what direction they take them.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      For people who plan to keep it long term, I’d say the unknown reliability of the super/turbocharged engine is the main concern. I wouldn’t want to be a beta tester.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I drive a Saab with a quarter million miles and no issues, and I’ve got a buddy with a half-million mile Saab that still runs like new.

        Turbo paranoia makes sense if you only drive American, but then you also have to worry about every other low-bidder part.

        • 0 avatar
          BC

          I’m a Saab guy and have had multiple turbo 4 models. That doesn’t make me any less concerned about a brand new powertrain, especially concerning a Volvo. Previously, both their best and worst engines were turbos (t5 and t6, respectively). My wife loves the new xc90 but even if we were in the market, I wouldn’t buy one until these cars were on the road for at least a year or two.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    The XC 70 was not the problem, really no Volvo was the sales problem, but they stayed far to long w/o a new vehicle, I looked at a 2014 XC 70 wagon and it is about the same as my old 2001 XC wagon that is still in the family, they need new cars and trucks in the worst way and they will be fine when they get here. They are a very good use car buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      The XC70 is going to be produced for three more weeks:
      http://www.bilsport.se/artikel/har-rullar-sista-v70n-av-i-torslanda/
      The last V70 was made today, after 1250000 produced since 1996.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’d suggest Volvo USA should be put on a Death Watch, except they’ve been muddling along at 50-70k sales for 8 years now, and 2016 won’t be any different. They must have good margins.

    What’s really troubling is that they’re becoming a one-trick pony with the XC-90.

  • avatar
    ItsMeMartin

    My father recently bought the new XC90 and I got to drive it for some time. I am a long-time Volvo fan but, sadly, I have to say I was rather disappointed by this car. What I remember is that the ride quality was very impressive – the car stayed planted to the ground regardless of the quality of the road – the interior was well-built and very spacious (even if I do not find it as attractive as most of you do), and the base sound system didn’t distort the sounds too much.
    What I hated was the center display that forced you to look away from the road every time you wanted to change anything other than audio volume – the Grand Cherokee does a much better job at that since it has the touchscreen+physical buttons for the most important functions. I couldn’t for the life of me understand how to operate the display between the speedometer and the rev counter as well. The worst thing about the car was, however, the engine. We have the 2.0 230HP diesel with the Polestar tune, and it is a major disappointment for me. It hunts for gears under hard acceleration, takes more than a second to spool up before it starts accelerating like it should. It is surprisingly unresponsive and simply does not want to move if the turbocharger isn’t active. I am almost sure that the 2.0 gas engines that you are getting in the US are not any better in this regard.
    Compared to the 3.2 gas engine that I got to drive in the old XC90 and in the XC60, the new 2.0 turbodiesel is a dog, and everybody who thinks that a turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel is a proper engine for a premium car should be laughed out of the room.
    I recently test drove a new Grand Cherokee and let me tell you: despite my long-standing Volvo fanboyism, I would take a Pentastar Grand Cherokee every day and twice on sunday (and yes, the diesel in the GC sucks as well).

    • 0 avatar
      ThirdOwner

      Isn’t it ironic that a safety-centered brand like Volvo can’t get a basic safety aspect right by insisting on producing controls that can not be operated without taking the eyes off the road? It’s been what, 11 years, since your S40 (and my V50) design to get that sorted? It still irks me every time I have to pick out just the right chiclet for the job from the rows of its siblings.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I like that my XC70 has buttons and knobs for climate, and think that should be on every Volvo.

        (Hell, I’d like the “seated dude” button arrangement for fan activity to be on *every car*.)

        (On the other hand, nobody should eulogize the old 3.2; the correct engine for an XC90 is the 3.0 Turbo [the old “T6”, not the new “really a 4 cylinder T5”.

        Same fuel economy, more power and torque.)

        • 0 avatar
          BC

          The correct engine is/was the 4.4L Yamaha v8.

        • 0 avatar
          ThirdOwner

          Try operating the chiclets with your gloves on, which is a habit that people who live in the Northern climes (like, say, Sweden) have. Large controls, like knobs, are a must for that.

        • 0 avatar
          ItsMeMartin

          The old XC90 never had the 3.0 turbo that the 2007-2016 V70 and S80 had. The pre-facelift XC90s had the 2.9 T6 which was a great engine but it was paired to a horribly unreliable GM 4-speed. Compared to that, the 3.2 + Aisin 6AT was a very good combination.

          I think the 3.2 is a great engine. The ones I have driven proved to be very reliable and not at all underpowered, contrary to what the stereotype would suggest.

          @ThirdOwner
          Exactly, it would make sense for Volvo of all makes to make its cars as easy to use as possible. Maybe they will get better at that it in their next cars. The XC90 is a serious letdown in this regard.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    I’ve driven one and it’s a nice vehicle. I’d wait a year or three until they can fix all the problems though. Can’t imagine how pissed I’d be buying a $60k vehicle to only have the moonroof leak.

    • 0 avatar
      Tostik

      I just read through a 3-page thread over at the SwedeSpeed forum about the sunroof leak, and most are reporting it fixed. And many said it didn’t happen to them, including some who have been through driving rain storms.

  • avatar

    Volvo is in a multi-year transition from their legacy models and powertrains to a new full range based on the new XC90 platform and Drive-E powertrain.

    The last year for the S80 and XC70 was 2016 and production is finished on them now. The very last 2016s built are filtering into dealerships now. The S90/V90 are replacing these cars and they will unveil a Cross Country model later this year.

    For 2016 Volvo discontinued the excellent 3.0 I-6 in these cars. The Polestar S60/V60 were the last Volvo vehicles to feature that engine.

    Volvo lots have some great deals right now for people looking for an excellent car. Some models are great and are overstocked meaning dealers should be giving some pretty good discounts on them.

    The S60 Inscription is a longer S60 sedan which was for China’s market only but Volvo decided to sell here on a trial basis. There is a very large supply of these nationwide. It’s the size the S60 always should have been for our market originally and a great car.

    The Polestar S60 and V60 cars have gotten great reviews since they were offered here last year. The original run of 2015.5s sold out quick. They made a second run for the US for 2016, they have sold hardly at all. My local dealer has three that have sat on the lot for about eight months now and they are taking 8k off. They will probably take more off once the third run of four cylinder Polestars arrives later this summer. It’s a Hell of a car with that kind of discounting or better.

    The S60 Cross Country is really unique for people that can get past the fact that it’s a lifted car. Volvo only brought a few hundred into the US for 2016 but it doesn’t look like anyone has purchased one. They are already discounting these as well.

    Volvo’s older models are still excellent cars. All of them are well-built, well-trimmed, have exceptional seats, very comfortable rides, a high level of quiet and drive very well. They are also much more affordable than the new vehicles Volvo is going to replace them with.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      This! We’ve been thinking about buying one of the loaded V70 Classic, but I just can’t get myself to buy a new car. For the love of cars, I still prefer not wasting my money. But ten years from now I might pull the trigger on one of these.

  • avatar
    Tostik

    Fair enough article. But what’s not mentioned is the XC60’s scalding sales pace from the earliest part of last year, which was vital in catapulting Volvo sales to a meteoric 80+% rise in the 4th quarter. And all Volvo did was plunk a new DriveE engine and torque vectoring on it. You couldn’t even get the DriveE XC60 with AWD because of the old architecture. Yes, the XC60, which is the second oldest Volvo, is once again starting to stagger in the first quarter, and the XC90 is pulling the Volvo wagon by itself — in the US anyway — but in 2015, Volvo was clearly a two car show.

    And if you like a cushy soft ride, get a Buick. :-) Cushy rides aren’t a European thing.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    That guy with the new XC90 who talks about his income bracket will be here soon to tell us how the leather felt on his car before he drove it, and how the panel gaps were excellent before it was built.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Low sales for Volvo mean that in my area there isn’t much CPO inventory available. I’d guess by looking at the Santa Fe Volvo website that much of their business is S60 leases, given the number of CPO S60s that they have at any given time.

  • avatar
    Chiburb

    Stopped at the local dealer on Saturday to see if residuals had been set for the S90 yet as I have every intention of leasing one when they arrive this Summer. Or, if there’s no “lease love” to be had I’ll go with the new Genesis G90.
    But I really want the S90!

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I know 3 people so far that have switched over to the new XC90, one had a full size Range Rover, one a Cayenne and one and X6 so they definitely seem to be taking a bite out of the top end SUV market. The Volvo’s interior looks nice at first glance but the more you spend time in it, you realize that the Lexus RX has a nicer, more plush interior. I don’t care how many superchargers and turbochargers you add, a 4 cylinder is a 4 cylinder and that just is not acceptable to me for this type of vehicle.

    I think once the bloom is off the rose with the XC90, the buyers will return to their Range Rovers and Cayennes or maybe migrate to something like the Jaguar F-Pace and once the Mercedes GL, sorry GLS gets a proper damn update like the sedans have, that will gobble up the market share again.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      Very interesting. What do these high end owners report back to you about the engine? From what I hear, most people are satisfied with the I4. It’s more an autojourno/datanerd thing I guess. Haven’t driven one myself though.

      • 0 avatar
        Tostik

        Many reviewers report it’s a great engine, and moves the XC90 very well indeed. And Ward’s Automotive put the T6 I4 on it’s “10 Best Engines of 2016” list. Wards also said the T6 I4 has the refinement befitting a luxury SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        I have, didn’t like the engine personally. Everyone is going to tell you they love their car when they first get it so asking that question is a waste of time. Who is going to tell you “yeah I just bought this for $60,000, I don’t really like it, the engine isn’t great but I bought it anyway”?

        I’ll give you a brief list of cars that friends, neighbors etc bought that everyone says are great or people think are great and then the ownership experience tells differently. The G-Wagen, multiple people bought them, all hated them, all sold them in less than a year. Another friend just got one not too long ago and I am counting the days until he gets rid of it too, he actually seems ashamed of it when he drives it and people like me always rib him for driving it like likening him to being a Russian gangster. The GT-R, 3 friends bought them, all hated them after awhile, sold them and went back to Porsches and Audi R8s. BMW X6M, one buddy got rid of his after a year and a half and went to an ML 550, another neighbor has one that is always in the shop, for weeks at a time, one time for 5 weeks. The new Z06, they still love it even though one had his old Z06 catch on fire and burn down his house, but he bought a new house and a new Z06, another guy on my street his new Z06 has been taken away by flatbed twice this month now and a guy down the road his new Z06 was in the shop for over a month last year, his Ford GT has been more reliable. They all however still love their Z06s as of now.

    • 0 avatar
      Tostik

      I remember a lot of posters saying that no one would pay $65,000+ for a Volvo. Well most of XC90 sales have been beyond that, at the Inscription level. Now people will abandon the XC90 when the bloom is off the rose? You should think much harder to find a reason for an XC90 sales decline. With SPA, this SUV will be easy to update quickly.

      And the RX interior better than the XC90? I don’t think so.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        I don’t have to say anything, people will get tired of not having the response and prestige from owning a Volvo that they got with a Porsche, Mercedes or BMW, tired of the lack of dealers and service experience and most will go back or move onto something different. I’ve driven and been in both, the RX is far plusher than the XC90, and the Lexus experience is vastly superior to well anything. Mercedes and BMW is hit and miss with their dealers, but I have yet to go to a Lexus dealership that wasn’t outstanding. Once Mercedes updates the GLS interior to the standards that the new sedans are at, Volvo will be an afterthought plus like I said the F-Pace is coming as is the Maserati Levante. Porsche will update the Cayenne and that will probably get hot again also.

        This isn’t the first time Volvo was hot, I remember my dad’s friend was all into Volvos for awhile with the R models like the 850R and so on, then he went back to Mercedes and AMG and never looked back. For the foreseeable future, in the end the marques of prestige outside of Rolls Royce and Bentley will always be Mercedes and BMW, especially Mercedes and Range Rover for SUVs. Parents tell their 10 yr old kids those are the best and those kids grow up and tell their 10 yr old kids and so on and so on. Good look finding an immigrant kid that is aspiring to own a Volvo or anything other than a Mercedes, BMW, or Range Rover. Jaguar used to be on that list, but it fell off and is still struggling to regain that prestige it once had, even though it is putting out some great cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          I just CAN”T justify spending that much money and only getting a measly 4-cyl for it. I don’t care how many super/turbo chargers are bolted to it.

          Back in 2011 I considered buying the outgoing model, but they decided to drop the V8 for the 2012 model year, so that and the split tailgate knocked it out.

          I’m not against a slight replacement for displacement, the supercharged 3.0T in my Q7 is the smoothest engine I’ve ever owned, but I’d rather not have the huffing and puffing little 4-cyl.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          In SUV land, you forgot a certain P brand that out-prestiges almost all of them, aside from RR.

          All the MB/BMW/P/RR buyers desperately _want_ to “think different” and buy something else. Since they’re “not brand snobs” etc.

          but at the same time, their entire upbringing has revolved around listening to and doing what the “experts” say….

          So when a “luxury”, “non-status-whore” brand gets “great reviews”, they’re all over it for awhile. Like everyone else who “think different.”

          In the end, to stay in the game (or at least on top of it), Volvo just needs to build good cars consistently. There’s so much capacity in the “luxury” space now, that being an occasional one hit wonder simply won’t cut it.

  • avatar
    Chris from Cali

    Just picked up a V60 Polestar (yes, in Rebel Blue) this weekend. It is a fun car to drive and my wife loves it. Plus it’s not an SUV. #result

    • 0 avatar
      pb35

      Congrats, Chris! My dream car. Did they offer any discounts if you don’t mind me asking? My local Volvo dealer is offering $3k off of the 2 that they have in stock. I would seriously be considering this if I just didn’t buy a new car in January.

      Good luck and keep us updated on how you like it.

      • 0 avatar
        Chris from Cali

        We got a couple of grand off in total. I traded in my wife’s leased Evoque early and my Mustang GT (I never drive it), so it wasn’t the best deal ever in a financial sense, but I’m ok with it. Right now I’ve got a new Golf R and the Polestar, so it’s a good combo. When my wife goes back to work, I’ll be looking for a CPO 991.1 GTS.

        I’ll let you know more about the Polestar as we put some miles on it.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Selling regular cars in the US is getting tougher and tougher even for car companies like Volvo and Jaguar who make really nice ones. As an example take the Jaguar F pace it’s now got a 9 month waiting list yet the rest of their range eeks out an existence in the US.

    Consequently brands like Jaguar are adding more and more SUVs at the expense of estate cars. Which is a shame if you want an estate…

  • avatar

    I did look very hard at the new XC90 and agree with a prior comment, Drive-E is not enough engine for the vehicle, even with just two people up front. That is the biggest flaw by far and the hybrid with it’s high combined HP rating doesn’t feel any less strained to move. Drive-E also doesn’t feel too great in Volvo’s smaller vehicles like the S60.

    I ended up getting a 2015.5 XC70 AWD with the discontinued inline six and the available Polestar tune for 25 more horsepower. It idles like glass, is strong at every speed and throughout the rev range and literally flies. It makes a nice refined burr when revved high too.

    It’s really unfortunate the new XC90 doesn’t have the big six or a sufficient replacement for it.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    I’m surprised at how many of the B&B report here that they own new Volvos. Have you guys been influenced by what you were reading here and elsewhere, or did you get to a test drive with a certain idea of what you were getting based on glancing at specs etc?

    • 0 avatar
      Chris from Cali

      Read all the reviews and test drove it. It is like an S4 Avant that Audi doesn’t sell here. Honestly, I would have probably waited for the new S4 if I knew the Avant was coming… I’ve begged and pleaded with AoA for years to bring an RS Avant here (RS4 or RS6). I know plenty of folks that would actually buy one.

      That said, I’m looking forward to experiencing Volvo as a brand. It’s a first for me.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      For quite a while, I have had at least one (and sometimes as many as three) “bought-new” Volvos that I drive on a day-to-day basis. On this site I have read what sounds to me to be very familiar stories about Volvos (because Volvos are certainly not perfect; not now and not during the past few decades). Some of what I read here does influence me to some extent. For example, I currently own a 2015.5 V60 which has about 48k miles on it. It still runs adequately; however the engine is “loud” (it has always made ticking/knocking/diesel-like sounds; which is apparently normal). It has the 4 cylinder E-drive engine. I plan to continue driving this vehicle until I discover exactly how far it will go until a major repair is required. I will not, however, based in part on what I’ve read here; purchase a Volvo that has the “more highly stressed” versions of this engine (due to a lack of confidence in the longevity the higher HP versions of this engine).

      In regard to test drives; I have not recently test driven the new Volvos that I have purchased. For example, I purchased a 2015.5, a 2014, and a 2012 without test driving. If my choice was based on test driving, frankly, I would not have purchased any of these Volvos (because all of them drive like Volvos and none of them are what I would call a “driver’s car”).

      • 0 avatar
        BrunoT

        Like most Volvo owners, sadly you’re driving the wrong version of their cars. Because that’s what dealers stock and push. The R design V60 and S60 are right up there as drivers cars. The non-sport package fwd versions might as well be Hondas. 0-60 in 5.1 sec, .88 skidpad grip, good handling characteristics, and even a little steering feel. Brake pedal has too much play, but they stop well once you get used to that.

  • avatar
    Tostik

    Another perspective on this story. The new XC90 is the just the first in a total revamp of all Volvo models. The S90 replacing the S80, and the V90 & V90CC replacing the XC70 this year. The all new 60 series will be coming in the next 2 years, followed by the 40 series. If the raging sales for the XC90 is any guide, all these new models will send Volvo well beyond it’s immediate goal of 100,000 sales in the US.

  • avatar
    Funky

    Customers who spend $50k to $80k on a new large SUV are likely to be nit picky. It would be interesting to be a “fly on the wall” at the local Volvo service department to hear some of the nit picking in regard to these new XC90s. Being a long-time Volvo customer; I can only imagine some of the conversations in regard to engine noises, squeaks and rattles coming from the suspension, seat belts that don’t properly retract, paint quality questions, navigation systems that boot-up slowly, etc. Too bad we will never be able to obtain this type of detailed information.

  • avatar
    JDM_CU4

    Who said Chinese can’t make beautiful cars?

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Just sold an old 850GLT I owned for 9-months, low mileage, meticulously maintained, all records – what a piece of garbage, hopefully Volvo has its act together under its new overlords.

  • avatar

    The car industry fluctuates as well just as much as the finance sector does. There are times where sales are at record high, while other instances just see a negative pattern. Automakers have to be smart when such unwanted circumstances arise and execute their backup plans.

  • avatar
    Tostik

    Volvo just reported 1st quarter 2016 profits of $392 million , which is more than half of the full year 2015 profit of $775 million. And the $775 million 2015 profit was triple the 2014 profit. Volvo is indeed soaring.

    And this is just based on the all-new XC90? One wonders what the profits will be when the other 8 all-new models come out in the next few years.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    For months and months, there were only 2-3 XC90’s on my dealer’s lot, one of the biggest in the nation. (which is still not that big, being Volvo). Today, there are 46 XC90’s listed in their inventory. More than any other type they sell, including the popular XC60. Meanwhile, XC60’s are about $10,000 off MSRP at TrueCar. Obviously they canibalized some of its sales. But these inventory numbers are telling me Volvo needs to let go of the dream and admit that, like most brands, sales are slowing, the new has worn off, and it’s time to start the incentives.


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