Is Volvo XC-90 a problem for the BMW X5?

BMW X5 | February 19th, 2015 by 39
Bild Vergleich BMW X5 F15 Volvo XC90 SUV 05 750x500

Comparing the Volvo XC-90 with the BMW X5. The XC-90 is looking to be a dangerous (in a good way) player in the luxury SUV segment

Volvo’s previous generation XC-90 was so good that it lasted ten years. A decade of making the same car and still having positive results. That’s mighty impressive. So the expectations are high with this new one. And after taking a look at the spec sheet and the price, the X5 better be worried.

Sporting a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged, the T6 model XC-90 produces 316 hp. It will be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and come with all-wheel drive as standard (the X5 is RWD as standard). It also comes with seating for seven and an all-new, high-tech infotainment screen.

I won’t give you the full spec sheet, but the XC-90 comes very well equipped as standard. What is important to know, however, is just how safe the XC-90 is. Volvo claims that no person will die or be severely injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020, and this new XC-90 is the first of the building blocks for that promise.

Volvo XC90 2014 SUV Autosalon Paris 06 750x500

With more airbags than you can count, high-tech crumple and impact zones and more man hours studying crash tests than there are hours in my entire lifetime, it’s safe to assume the new XC-90 will be the safest car on the road. Volvo study’s real world crashes more so than just IIHS safety reports. The reason for this is that most real crashes don’t happen like they do under controlled tests. So Volvo wants to make cars that are safe in the real world, not just in a lab. The XC-90 is the ideal choice for a family SUV for this reason alone.

This leads to my point about the X5 needing to worry. See, with the previous XC-90, the X5 never had to worry because the two cars were in a different class in terms of luxury. Yes, the XC-90 was nice, but not nearly as luxurious or expensive feeling as the X5. So the two catered to different customers. But now, the XC-90 is just as luxurious as the X5.

Bild-Vergleich-BMW-X5-F15-Volvo-XC90-SUV-06

And it has the performance credentials to match. All while costing almost $8,000 less to start than the equivalent X5. The XC-90 starts at $48,900, while the X5 with xDrive costs $56,200 to start. And the Volvo is better equipped and is just as luxurious on the inside.

So if the XC-90 is the X5’s equal now, in terms of luxury and status, but is much safer and costs quite a bit less, could it pull X5 customers away? It’s very possible. And when you consider the fact that most previous XC-90 customers will buy the new one despite the price bump, because they still want that same level of safety, the X5’s problem seems to worsen.

Bild-Vergleich-BMW-X5-F15-Volvo-XC90-SUV-04 Bild-Vergleich-BMW-X5-F15-Volvo-XC90-SUV-03 Bild-Vergleich-BMW-X5-F15-Volvo-XC90-SUV-02

The X5 will probably be the better car, dynamically, but being that most people don’t buy luxury SUVs for chassis dynamics, that probably won’t be too much a factor in the sales. The XC-90 is looking to be a dangerous (in a good way) player in the luxury SUV segment. And if it can perform the way Volvo is claiming, I’m not so sure it can be stopped.

39 responses to “Is Volvo XC-90 a problem for the BMW X5?”

  1. IceDree says:

    I have to say, the XC90 is a really good looking suv, Both inside & out. That might pull away some sales from the X5, upcoming GLE & Range Rover Sport but the BMW name is more luxurious, Prestigious & hold its own against the competition… It would be hard for Volvo to beat that.
    Then, there’s the mechanical side of things … The Volvo is a hybrid equipped with a 2.0 Turbocharged, Supercharged 4-Cylinders engine coupled with an electric motor & batteries. That sounds cool on papers, but down the line might be a maintenance nightmare. The X5 (with the variety of engine choices) might be the better solution for the long term.

    That said, I think the xc90 is the best looking of the 2 … especially with R-design package & the 22″ wheels … The X5 M Sport is cool though

    • Khaled Farhad says:

      Sure the BMW name is very luxurious, but once the customer is inside the new XC90 I believe it’s going to be hard to get out…I have tried it myself.

    • OZ says:

      The XC90 T6 is not hybrid. That will be the T8. Granted turbocharged + supercharged could potentially be a maintenance headache. But this is how Volvo trusts their cars: all their CPOs are sold with $0 deductible and 7-year/100K mile warranty by default.

      I got an XC90 R-Design, Red. Not as luxurious as the X5, but it has turned more heads than the X5. Everyone asks be about it. Looking forward to the new XC90.

    • Stephanie311 says:

      …”The Volvo is a hybrid equipped with a 2.0 Turbocharged, Supercharged 4-Cylinders engine coupled with an electric motor & batteries.”…
      There are 2 completely different versions of the 2016 XC90. The T6 AWD 8-speed geartronic and then later in 2015 they will have the T8 plug-in Hybrid.

  2. Khaled Farhad says:

    Funny thing, the XC90 has already beaten the X5 sales record in Norway (which was sold in 529 units 2014)…Volvo has sold 531 units so far 2015 and not even one customer has driven it!! xD The goal is to sell 1000 this year

  3. Sebas says:

    I’m very impressed with the Volvo all around but I don’t think BMW has anything to worry about… While “most people don’t buy luxury SUVs for chassis dynamics”, most people in this segment sadly place brand name heavily on their decision regardless of the vehicles themselves.

  4. TheBingoBalls says:

    Hate these questions Does Car A pose a threat to Car B?

    Fact of the matter is, you only pose a threat if you have potential to outsell your competitor. No if’s and but’s. It doesn’t matter if Car A is a POS and Car B is the best thing in the world, if Car B can’t outsell Car A, then it’s no threat. There is no need to dig deeper.

  5. Leon Davis says:

    Silly article.
    Volvo is is owned by the Chinese . “Geely Automotive”. You want a Chinese SUV? Buy a Volvo.
    You want German engineering? Buy a BMW.
    Your choice.
    Probably 95% of BMW X5’s are xDrive = “Four Wheel Drive”. The 2-wheel drive is a recently-released model for the diesel Euromarket..It’s designed for MILF school runs.
    There are several X5 variants – all the way up to 450hp monster V8s.
    There is no way a Volvo can compete with BMW in the handling department. BMW is light years ahead when it comes to steering, brakes, and suspension tuning.

    • Firstly, Volvo’s are designed and built in Gothenburg, Sweden so regardless of who’s funding them, they are not Chinese. Just as Rolls Royce is British despite being owned by BMW.

      Secondly, the fact the the X5 is a more dynamic vehicle was clearly stated in the article. This was mor about sales than performance and in that regard, the XC-90 does pose a threat to the X5.

      • TheBingoBalls says:

        You said this article is more about sales so how is the XC-90 even considered a threat? I’m not disregarding or diminishing the XC-90 in anyway but in these types of articles, people are always being politically correct. Globally, I believe the XC-90 averages around 30k per year. The X5 moves around 40k+…in the United States alone. Globally it’s around 130k+. The XC-90 can be considered a lot of things. A nice alternative to the X5’s, ML’s, Q5’s, Cayenne’s or Escalades perhaps. But a threat? Definitely not.

        • Khaled Farhad says:

          In the peak years the XC90 sold 130k per year with waiting time for 2 years. Even after 12 years it was the #1 best selling SUV in the UK. The new one has been pre-ordered by 16,000 so far…this years goal is 50,000 and 2016 100,000…BMW should be worried, this will steal sales, it’s not about the dynamics like the X5 but the functionality, environmental friendly power trains, technology and the quality overall is right there on par with the Germans. Soccer moms with 4+ kids will be in heaven.

          • TheBingoBalls says:

            In it’s peak years while the X5 is a consistent 130-140k. Basically the XC90’s sales peak in its early years and trail off significantly in its later years. Over the lifecycle of the first-gen XC90, Volvo sold/manufactured 636,000 vehicles. That breaks down to 53,000 vehicles on a yearly average. Hardly anything for BMW to worry about.

            Again, I’m not diminishing the XC90, I’m sure it’s a fine car but articles like this are pointless because it’s all about sales. Volvo can’t complete with BMW for that just on sheer volume alone.

          • Khaled Farhad says:

            It has done it before, and will probably do it again…I remember when the first XC90 came out, they said “oh, it’s to late” or “it will never sell”…but during the first year in the US they managed to sell 40k …And giving this new one is 100% new and Volvo and on par with the premium brands, this could go a looooong way.

          • TheBingoBalls says:

            I’m pretty sure, like all new models, it will sell well in the first couple of years but after that, based the previous generation sales trend, sales will decline each year where by mid-cycle, it will sell half of what it sold in year one. BMW doesn’t have this problem, X5’s sold in year 6 or 7 are more or less the same as X5’s sold in year 1.

            There’s no argument to the question of this article. Maybe change the question to whether or not the new XC90 will be successful. That could be an argument but definitely nothing to discuss if the only argument is with regards to sales.

    • Firstly, Volvo’s are designed and built in Gothenburg, Sweden so regardless of who’s funding them, they are not Chinese. Just as Rolls Royce is British despite being owned by BMW.

      Secondly, the fact the the X5 is a more dynamic vehicle was clearly stated in the article. This was mor about sales than performance and in that regard, the XC-90 does pose a threat to the X5.

  6. BatmanBMX says:

    I just sold my 2008 XC90 and updated to a 2015 xDrive35i X5. Can not speak to the new XC90, but can add a couple comments. First, BMW dealerships are awesome compared to the Volvo experience. BMW is making dealers step up their game, while local Volvo dealers wondered if they would go out of business the last couple years. It will be a very long time for the dealerships to step up and provide a BMW like experience. When comparing price, BMW includes 4 years of service. Volvo has not to date provided this in their pricing. Lastly, my new X5 is smooth as butter! Acceleration is so smooth, cabin is dead quiet, everything is finely crafted. Never had a problem with my 2008 XC90 except a door rattle Volvo could never solve. The entire BMW experience is tailored to make you feel good about your luxury vehicle. Not sure Volvo will deliver the entire experience regardless of the vehicle.

    • OZ says:

      With under 5,000 cars sold per month, it is a bit difficult for Volvo to up their game at the dealership. They need more money, and thus, they need to sell more cars. But agree. However, I can attest that my Volvo dealer has been very helpful on solving all my warranty issues, even after it has expired.

      Now, the maintenance. Volvo tends to throw in free maintenance, and it will depend on the promotion running for the model year. For example, my 2010 XC90 R-Design came with 5-year/60K mile warranty, including 5 years of maintenance, and wear & tear (that would be, brakes, wiper blades, etc., except tires). It was an awesome deal.

      They are currently offering 3 years/36 K miles of maintenance and wear & tear. For the money, it’s still a good bet.

      BTW, I own both BMW and Volvo.

      • BatmanBMX says:

        Since 2000, I’ve had (all new) 2000 Classic V70, 2008 XC90, 2011 528i, 2014 328i and now 2015 X5. Everyone of them has been a great experience. I just started getting a bit nervous on Volvo with the change of ownership. Another item I noticed is the new XC90 is about 10″ wider than the previous model or the new X5. Seems really wide.

        • OZ says:

          Bad products and good products are built/assembled in China. I am sure that the swedes have taken it well into consideration. The new XC90 will continue to be built in Gothenburg anyways, so no drama there.

          Regarding it being wider, think about stability. I’m not planning to change my XC90 yet, so it can be an X5 in the future. Who knows.

          BTW, how much did you get for the XC90?

          • BatmanBMX says:

            It was a typical build (AWD, 3rd Row, Sun roof, white with tan leather) with new Michelins and the 60k just done. It turned over to 65k on the test drive and I got $15k (in Oregon so no salt on the roads). Volvo couldn’t give these away in December 2008. So it came with unbelievable discounts.

          • BatmanBMX says:

            I didn’t add fancy outside trim to the X5. But ordered it and added almost every electronic option. Love the HUD. the 8 speed transmission and acceleration are so smooth.

          • OZ says:

            That’s not bad at all. Value seems to be holding pretty good.

          • OZ says:

            That’s not bad at all. Value seems to be holding pretty good.

          • BatmanBMX says:

            It was a typical build (AWD, 3rd Row, Sun roof, white with tan leather) with new Michelins and the 60k just done. It turned over to 65k on the test drive and I got $15k (in Oregon so no salt on the roads). Volvo couldn’t give these away in December 2008. So it came with unbelievable discounts.

        • JOHN T SHEA says:

          This new XC90 is 2 inches wider than its predecessor and 1 inch wider than the current X5. Are you perhaps comparing the new model with its door mirrors folded out to the old one and the X5 with door mirrors folded in?

          • BatmanBMX says:

            You may be correct. The prior XC90 specs (I was able to find) were only a list and didn’t mention with mirrors or not. 76.2″ verse 84.3 (old to new) is what I found. Seemed odd to go that much wider.

  7. viper says:

    problem indeed. the XC90 is jaw dropping both inside and out , beautiful big SUV.

  8. Krishan says:

    Yes I believe so.

  9. sfomike49r says:

    Hold the phone here kids. I may be an old goat but I’ve owned a few cars, most of them European. My X5 is by far the best vehicle of all. When buying a new car, several things should be researched. When I spend over $70,000. that car better be safe, comfortable, reliable and have a dealer network second to none. I can’t speak to the new XC90’s comfort and reliability yet, but the dealerships are horrible. I rarely read “new car reviews” from publications like Car & Driver, Road & Track, etc. Their opinions don’t carry much weight. The cars are usually provided to them free of charge for “testing”. Consumer Reports buys all the vehicles they test. I also talk to current owners of the cars I am interested in buying. I’m amazed how much people will recklessly spend on vehicles like Range Rover/Land Rover, Jaguar and the like because they think they have snob appeal. Turns out that snob appeal is usually at the dealer for repairs related to electronic issues.

  10. JOHN T SHEA says:

    10 years? 13 actually, and the MK 1 version continues in production in China.

  11. Martin says:

    Dear all I would like to say only – big respect to you all here in relation to discussion quality if I compare it with some discussions on the same topic here in Europe ! This is like a fairytale (y) ;)

  12. wallab06 says:

    I read a bunch of comments with a fair share pulling for Bmw and the same for Volvo. All talk was about interiors, designs, etc.. Both vehicles are similar in looks, both inside and out. Both have had and still do, service deals. Bmw has a couple more engines available, but the main one for Volvo has been around for many years with very good results. Seeing how most of the buyers for both companies never take their vehicles off road, it really isn’t a big deal about having a big engine with tons of power because these cars are for show around town or family trips to see people, not for towing and such. VMware is a fine car, but very overrated and highly overpriced. Volvo is a fine car too, but priced much lower. Bow is a safe car, but has along way to go to compare to Volvo. Volvo has been dealing with since their beginning! All of that said it still comes down to the old saying; 33% of people will always stay with Bmw, 33% will always stay with Volvo and 33% are not sure! The “not sure” group is what the car companies are pushing for. So, what’s more important????, safety or looks!!! With looks being very similar, inside and out, plus the added features are just about identical, the big issue becomes safety. With Volvo being safer and many of the buyers being young family types, I would think Bmw might be a bit concerned! Just a thought..

  13. S R says:

    I actually owned both: XC90 V8 Ocean Runner 2006 ($56k buy), BMW X5 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 (hybrid) all leases for my wife. The volvo looked great but was behind in all features. Then all the transmission and engine problems with a car that was supposed to be a tank, but performed like a truck and was completely unreliable. BMW X5 just feels like a sports car. On the happiness scale the XC90 made us sad, X5 always a pleasure.

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