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Volvo is a Swedish luxury automaker that’s well-known for making high-quality and desirable cars, but Volvo owners aren’t fans about every aspect of their cars. Here’s a look at the 2023 Volvo XC90 and the biggest gripe that real owners had with it.

A 2023 Volvo XC90 parked outside of a building.
2023 Volvo XC90 | Volvo

These are the results from J.D. Power’s APEAL study

One of the best ways to get real world data about a car is by simply asking owners about it. That’s exactly what J.D. Power did for its APEAL study. The study gathered data from over 80,000 verified owners of cars. Each owner had to have owned their car for at least 90 days in order to qualify for the study. 

In terms of demographics, the study found that 52% of shoppers who bought an XC90 were men, and that’s below the segment average of 63%. The median age of someone who bought an XC90 was 49 years, and that’s also less than the segment median of 56 years. The most important part about the APEAL study, however, involved asking owners to rank how their cars performed in 10 different categories. 

Volvo is well-known for safety, and it’s not surprising that the XC90’s feeling of safety was its best attribute. Owners also liked how the car’s exterior styling looked, and they liked how the car drove, including in terms of how comfortable it was. Lastly, the car’s interior design was another area that owners appreciated. 

The biggest gripe that 2023 Volvo XC90 owners had with their cars

On the other hand, owners weren’t impressed by the powertrain options that Volvo gave the car. Owners also didn’t like setting up and starting the car, as well as the process of getting in and out of the car. The aspect that owners liked the least about the XC90 was its fuel economy. The Swedish automaker has two engine options for the XC90, and they’re called the B5 and the B6.

Both engine options are mild-hybrids, and the base B5 engine is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that gets 247 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The B6, meanwhile, is also a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but it has a supercharger and that allows it to get 295 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The SUV also comes with all-wheel drive as standard, and that hurts its fuel economy somewhat.

The B5 gets 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on highways, for 25 mpg combined. The B6 gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on highways, for 23 mpg combined. Those are relatively average numbers for a midsize luxury SUV, but it’s not surprising that this was an area that drivers disliked about the car.

Midsize luxury SUVs are large and generally have powerful engines, and that will hurt their fuel economy numbers compared to a smaller car. 

2023 Volvo XC90 owners also didn’t appreciate this aspect about their SUV

The second biggest gripe that owners had about their XC90, meanwhile, had to do with the Volvo’s infotainment system. This is interesting since the Swedish automaker recently updated the car’s infotainment system, so it doesn’t seem like owners were impressed by the changes. The XC90 comes standard with a 9-inch touch screen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster display, and there aren’t any options for anything else.

The software that’s behind that screen is based on Google technology, but overall, J.D. Power thought that the SUV’s infotainment system was too complex. It can be difficult to change the settings of the vehicle’s systems, and even accessing the satellite radio can be a hassle. That said, the recent update makes the infotainment system respond quicker than before.


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