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Volvo has a reputation for making practical vehicles with impressive safety ratings and a distinctly Scandinavian design flair. The automaker pioneered many safety features we take for granted today and offers a lineup of SUVs and cars competing in just about every premium segment. But for whatever reason, the 2023 Volvo lineup is consistently in the middle of the pack, according to U.S. News rankings. 

The ratings reveal no weak areas, but nothing makes them stand out in the crowd, either.  

The 2023 Volvo lineup offers premium comfort and ride quality

Front angle view of silver 2023 Volvo XC60, cheaper 2023 BMW X3 luxury SUV alternative costing under $45,000
2023 Volvo XC60 | Volvo

Across Volvo’s lineup, U.S. News universally praises the comfortable ride, upscale cabins, and supportive seats. Read a review with the Volvo model name redacted, and you’d be hard-pressed to identify it. For example:

  • The Volvo is a well-rounded car that offers a comfortable ride, spacious seats, and an upscale interior.
  • The 2023 Volvo is a good luxury [vehicle]. It offers peppy powertrains, an upscale cabin, comfortable and roomy seats, and a long list of standard features. 
  • This luxury [vehicle] also has enough space for four adults to find a comfortable seating position inside its top-grade interior.
  • The 2023 Volvo has a spacious and upscale interior, responsive handling, and good fuel economy.

In order, the reviews are about the Volvo S60 and S90 sedans, the XC60 compact crossover, and the XC90 three-row midsize SUV. The reviews also praise each vehicle’s safety and “lively powertrain options,” including gas-powered, hybrid, and all-electric versions.   

Drawbacks include subpar cargo space and complex infotainment systems

Except for the XC60 and XC90 SUVs, one of the consistent knocks against Volvo models is the lack of cargo room. The S60 and S80 sedans lost points for their smaller-than-average trunks, with under 14 cubic feet of space. 

But the biggest issue seems to concern the infotainment system. Across the board, no matter which Volvo model U.S. News reviewed, it thought the infotainment system was “finicky,” had a learning curve, or was “somewhat complicated.” 

At the heart of these complaints is the lack of physical buttons for the most common functions, which U.S. News says makes the infotainment system tricky to use while driving. The touchscreen also takes some practice, although some functions work with voice commands.   

Every model in the 2023 Volvo lineup is comfortable, safe, and luxurious

The real reason every Volvo model seems to finish in the middle of the pack is its performance as a sports sedan or SUV. U.S. News and other auto experts believe the brand’s vehicles don’t offer the same level of performance as comparable BMW, Cadillac, and Mercedes-Benz products. Compared with those vehicles, Volvos don’t boast the same acceleration or athletic handling. 

But that’s a good thing. 

Here’s what the other reviews miss: Not everyone wants a car that can lap the Nürburgring in under eight minutes. Not everyone needs a sub-3.5-second 0-to-60-mph time or a 200-mph top speed. Indeed, most people don’t care if a car takes two more seconds to reach 60 mph or maxes out at 100 mph. 

Most consumers want to feel coddled. They want comfortable heated and cooled seats to relax on the drive home from work. Concert-quality sound from the stereo is better than a rousing exhaust note. And seamless Bluetooth connectivity is more important than feeling connected to the road. Volvo understands that. 


How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2023 Volvo XC90 Cost?