My transmission for my 2004 T6 with 31K miles just failed last week. The dealer put a new one and so far so good. I have heard of a few failures, but not that many. The service manager said that that GM (who makes the transmission) made some minor changes to improve reliability. So time will tell!
I have both an 2004 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD, and an Acura MDX, 2003. I have found these cars to both be 100% reliable: neither has been out of service for any warranty repair. In fact the Acura has never been in except for scheduled maintenance. The Volvo has been in twice for warranty items, but each time it only took 15 minutes: once for a corner cover of the roof rack, that came off in a car wash; and once for the gas filler door, whose hinge broke while I was filling with a 5 gal gas can during a power outage.
Both of these vehicles now have about 35,000 miles since I bought them new. The Acura has maybe 2,000 more highway miles than the Volvo. The Acura gets about 19.5 mpg computed in mixed driving; in comparison, the XC90 gets almost 18 mpg.
The Acura can hold any load; its volume capacity seems huge. Tall items like 60" Hi Def. TVs screens fit just fine. The Volvo has a lower ceiling, so there have been a few times when the XC90 could not carry home a purchase. However, technically I believe the XC90 has more cubic feet of cargo space. And I really like the XC90's fold-down 1/3 rear cargo door. It allows for extra long things to be carried hanging out the back, with the top 2/3 of the lift door closed.
The XC90 is, by far, the more enjoyable car to drive. It is peppier and has more responsive handling than the Acura. It also sticks to the road better, even though both SUVs have AWD. The steering on the XC90 is quick and adept. The MDX is mushier. Either SUV is fully capable of making a fast manuever in an emergency.
The thing I hate about the Volvo is the #@*&$! seats. Not the comfort... the front seats are fine, and all the seats are satisfactory, comfort-wise. But folding the XC90 seats up and down is a real pain. You have to use one hand to pull the lever, the other hand to release the latch and the other hand to pull the seat-back... what?? that's three hands! Yes, my point exactly. Operating the seats to turn the 2nd and 3rd rows down for cargo, and back again for passengers, is a frustrating effort. Too many latches have to be sprung at once. It CANNOT be done in a hurry, and frequently the kids will just climb over the headrests to avoid dealing with the Volvo's seats.
The MDX handling is very tame, almost lame. It has softer response, and a cushy-er feeling ride than the XC90. Either car will carry you 1,000 miles in a day without making you feel road-weary or beat up. However, the 2nd and third rows of seats are softer in the MDX, stiffer and more cramped in the Volvo. My kids have never expressed a preference for either SUV when we are preparing for a trip. Since I never use the back seats, the kids are my only source of judgement.
The electronics have been flawless. The engines and transmissions seem no different than when they left the showroom. I have heard reports of reliability problems with the XC90, but I have not experienced a single problem. I drive my vehicles hard, and demand a lot from them. Both of this SUVs meet the challenge. My wife and I do swap cars from time to time, but she prefers the MDX because she can see out of it better. She is only 5'0", and the Volvo has a blind spot for her on the right rear quarter.
These vehicles really seem to be holding their value, but I guess its impossible to know until you actually sell out. I would fully recommend either one. My preference is the young Swede, because it does better at whipping around through traffic. On the other hand, the MDX suits my wife better because it has a very tight turning radius and is very easy to see out of.
I have tried very hard to find some kind of new car because I always trade once the warranty is almost up. I could find nothing I preferred to buy, so I extended the warranties on, but vehicles to 100,000/7years.
I wish I was so lucky. I purchased my 2005 FWD XC90-brand new. The transmission failed on Wed, and is currently at the shop, waiting for a new one. A car this young with low mileage-it shouldn't happen!
I don't owe this model SUV, but a very good friend of mine does. She told me their transmission went out on her 03' with less than 35k miles, but that the dealer replaced it, only for it to go out again a short time later. She told me the dealership was very good to her and her husband; they took the car back minus .20 a mile personnally, I think they should have not charged her one bloody cent for the mileage factor!
The dealership gave them a brand new 07 model and told them the transmission is different than the 03's. I asked her why they didn't run for the hills the first time the transmission went out, and she replied that they love the car... hopefully this brand new 07 XC90 will not be a another lemon!!
2003 xc-90 67k trans failed, at dealer now 4500.00 to replace.
Serviced by volvo dealer only since new.
Our 2003 Volvo XC90 has 69,000 miles on it.
The Transmission light went on and we took it in to the mechanic. He now says we need a new transmission (approx $4500) It is slipping a bit out of first gear.
I cannot believe we have to replace this!
It is not under warranty now.
I have an 04 Volvo with 37k miles and my transmission just went. My transmission light went on last week and they told me today it needs to be replaced. I am one month out of warranty and Volvo is refusing to contribute to the replacement. I have been quoted $4000 for the transmission. It seems like there are problems with the transmissions of the xc90's and with such low mileage. I am going to continue to fight for contribution from Volvo.
I wouldn't say XC90 are any worse than other cars, but it's not any better either. And at that premium price you expect a lot. All I can say that $60K cars are not any more reliable than $15K cars; it's rather the other way. On $60K cars there's simply too much that can go wrong. And service bills are not for those with a thin wallet.
It's the last XC90 for us. Not really bad. Just heavily overpriced considering what it delivers.