2004 Volvo XC90 from North America


Transmission went at 62,000 miles. Drove it into the dealer with a bad noise. They did a test drive and blew up the transmission within an hour, and called me and said the $6K would fix the problem. Most of my previous repairs at the dealer took a few visits to get fixed properly.

I had it towed to a place that fixes transmissions, not just puts in rebuilt ones, and had it fixed for $3K.

I loved the car, but am really not sure why the tranny went so soon. May buy another Volvo, but definitely not at that dealer.

General Comments:

Definitely love the ride, comfort, and performance of the XC-90. Very disappointed that it failed in this way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd October, 2007

2004 Volvo XC90 T6 2.9 turbo petrol from Singapore


Good body, bad gearbox/engine combination


Seven seater option: failed at one time to fold down one of the seats in the third row because some clip had come off. Very inconveniant if you depend on putting luggage in the boot, e.g, you are out and travelling with luggage and passengers.

CD player sometimes erratic (no big issue).

At 60000 km failure of auto transmission.

General Comments:

Big car with good presence which allows good visibility of the road, easy get in and out. Looks are quite clean and neat.

The first car I don't worry a container truck falls on me. I guess it is a good car to crash, the pillars of the roof are extremely trust inspiring (but do hide other traffic participants, so watch it). Great feeling of protection when driving around in places like Malaysia.

Luggage space compromised by seven seater configuration. I much rather have the luggage space.

Internal arrangements strictly plasticky. Even though well designed, not very nice. Dark dashboard looks always dusty.

Side mirrors are excellent - never had a car giving me such good information about whats going on behind. Safety features very good.

Starts reliably, drives well. Quite good road holding for a car this size. You will notice when you drive over bumpy roads - does not filter it away very well. But on good roads pretty smooth and quiet.

Fuel consumption about 14-15 ltr / 100 km, but this is moderate driving.

It is supposed to have 290 hp, but it is not a car which I enjoy driving faster than 160 km. Very fast driving seems out of character with the car, even though road holding is trust inspiring.

Long distance comfort of driver's seat not that great (my seats in old Merc 300SEL way better, and I still keep that one, it glides much better along). Volvo seats seem a bit hard in the wrong places.

Since I am tall, the space in the second row behind my seat is rather modest. Third row for kids only.

I understand they capped engine performance with a chip in the lower gears so that the gearbox does not get eaten - it has a very weird effect when accelerating hard: like the engine gets strangled. Not good. Other engine combinations probably better (4.4?), this seems the least attractive.

At 60k km the auto gearbox in for repair. Expensive. I never had a gearbox fail on my before having driven it 150k km.

Conclusion: a good, relatively comfortable car with reasonable quality, very good safety features, easy and not stessfull to drive, matched with an engine and 4 speed gear box layout which does not give credit to engine performance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th March, 2007

8th May 2007, 07:34

Additional note on reported gearbox problem: it was settled quite cheaply, and local dealer did a good job on this one, even though car is out of warranty. Just drove 800 km with it today, it is a fine car, but not for the passionate driver.

23rd Apr 2009, 21:57

My 2004 XC90 also failed on the gearbox at about 50000km, which initially they claimed that it cost almost US$10,000 to change to a new one.

How much did you pay for the fix last time?

I am wondering if there is a general gearbox problem with Volvo!!! Any comment?

Thanks, FH.

24th Apr 2009, 07:35

There is with the T6 because the trans is a GM box, go for a T5 or D5 with an Aisin-Warner box and it's far more reliable.

17th Jan 2010, 03:58

Since I wrote the original review, here my tailend of the relationship with this Volvo.

All went reasonably well, even though the petrol cost became a kind of a nuisance when oil prices went thru the roof in 2008. Then I brought in my car for exchange of front shocks, and one week later the front suspension collapsed when I navigated a car park (I guess that was lucky, since I had gone 100+ 30 minutes before, and was planning a 350km highway trip for the next day). Basically the left front wheel touched the rear of the wheel arch; if this happens at speed, the results should be interesting.

The cause for this event had been human error when fixing the shocks, but I must give the dealer very high marks for how they handled this embarrassing situation. Esp for a brand like Volvo, this type of event should be real bummer. They did very well on it, and in fact after going through some makes of cars in Singapore, their dealership ranks still very high in my esteem.

But considering the high petrol consumption, and this event, my trust was a bit shaken, so I moved on to an Audi A8 3litres. I would still consider buying a Volvo, but the level of sophistication is a bit higher in the Audi.