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Is the 2006 Volvo XC90 Overrated?

The Volvo XC90 has been around since 2002; it’s the brand’s flagship SUV and consistently tops the charts as one of the safest SUVs ever made. While it is undoubtedly an IIHS favorite, does the 2006 Volvo XC90 excel well in other areas such as comfort and handling? Is it overrated? And are there better alternatives for a similar price?

We know you have a lot of questions in mind as to whether the 2006 Volvo XC90 is a worthy buy or not. To answer this question, we have put together some of the most common parameters to judge whether it is overrated or something you actually want to invest your hard-earned money in.

However, I want to remind you that no matter the outcome, don’t forget that you would be buying a used vehicle. Consequently, we recommend getting your hand on a Volvo XC90 repair manual at the same time. Going to a mechanic for every maintenance and repair can be expensive, and a manual can help you save some money doing them yourself — you’ll thank us later!

Handling and Comfort

SUVs are built for comfort and won’t handle as well as a sedan, and the same is true for the 2006 XC90. Still, the Swedish SUV is actually one of the most dynamic of its era; it is agile enough in sharp turns and did incredibly well in moose tests, despite having a higher center of gravity.

However, compare it to any new premium SUV, and the 2006 XC90 will quickly show its age. Notably, it exhibits quite a bit of body roll, and it isn’t particularly responsive. The steering also feels very numb and doesn’t communicate well with the driver. Basically, if you want a driver-oriented SUV, a BMW X5 from the same year is a much better option.

So is it overrated? Well, at least in terms of handling and driving experience, the 2006 Volvo XC90 isn’t competitive with its German rivals. If comfort is what you are after, though, it is one of the best SUVs of the time. The ride is very smooth over smaller and larger imperfections, and the gas engine options are very refined (though the diesel engine is quite coarse).


The 2006 Volvo XC90 comes with ample power under the hood. The 2.5T variant features a 2.5-liter inline-five turbocharged engine producing 208 hp — not crazy, but still pretty decent. And if that’s not enough for you, Volvo also offered a bigger 4.4-liter V8 on the top-of-the-line model. The larger mill produces 311 hp and sends the power to an AWD system via a six-speed automatic transmission. Both engines are also comparable to their competitors in performance and fuel efficiency, which is not a small feat.

However, the 2006 Volvo XC90 often has fuel filter issues, significantly increasing fuel consumption in the long run. Indeed, a clogged fuel filter will prevent an adequate amount of fuel from reaching the engine, thus causing it to work harder than it should. Remember that a defective fuel pump can also cause a similar issue, although not as frequent.

Luckily, that’s something you can easily prevent by regularly inspecting and replacing the fuel filter as needed using an XC90 service manual. And if the filter is not the culprit, the repair manual will also provide you with every testing and replacement procedure you’ll need to find and fix what’s wrong with your fuel pump.

Not so sure where to find a repair manual for your XC90? Take a look at eManualOnline. Their repair manuals are really easy to use and cost a lot less than having to call a tow truck because your SUV stalled.


Safety is the 2006 Volvo XC90’s yard. In 2006, only a few vehicles could stand a chance against this IIHS and NCAP star. In fact, Volvo’s whole marketing campaign for the XC90 revolved around the fact that it was the safest SUV out there.

According to the NHTSA, the 2006 model boasted a perfect 5-star in frontal and side crash tests. And although the XC90 has a higher center of gravity, it only has a rollover risk of 17.9%. For comparison purposes, even the same model year Audi Q7 only has a rollover risk of 19%.

As a result, the 2006 Volvo XC90 was undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. It had some of the most cutting-edge safety technologies of its time and a sturdy exterior to keep you and your loved ones safe.

But even the safest of cars isn’t immune to breakdowns that could potentially lead to accidents. And despite the Volvo XC90 having a really low fatality rate, you should always take precautions and regularly service your vehicle. Do not skip maintenance, thinking you’ll save on operating costs.

We also advise against cheap, shady repair shops. Instead, get your XC90 serviced from an authorized Volvo dealership, or even better, get your hands on a trusted Volvo XC90 manual and fix it on your own!

After all, if you want something done right, better do it yourself!

Last Words

All in all, the XC90 sure isn’t perfect but definitely doesn’t deserve to be called “overrated.” It blends luxury and safety, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that it was one of the best-selling luxury SUVs of its time. Even today, used 2006 Volvo XC90s are still highly in demand in the second-hand vehicle market.

Moreover, since they are quite reliable, there is still a lot of pretty decent models on the market. You might need to shop around a little since sought-after models tend to fly off the shelves, but with a little dedication, you should be able to find one for a very good price.

Lastly, once you do get your hands on one, don’t forget to stay on top of your XC90’s maintenance schedule. They are indeed reliable, but only when they are properly maintained. Nonetheless, if you follow the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals found in your 2006 Volvo XC90 owners manual, it won’t disappoint.

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