Best Family SUV: Volvo XC90

Finding the right SUV for your family can be a daunting responsibility. After all, with so many worthy choices available, it can be difficult to differentiate the best from the rest.

To assist you in this endeavor, we sought out to find the best SUV for families. To achieve this, we examined all the SUVs available then took into account the items most families prioritize when selecting a vehicle such as price, safety rating, performance, interior space and critical acclaim. With this in mind, we selected the Volvo XC90 as our best family SUV available.

There’s much to cover on the Volvo XC90, so let’s get into it.


The Volvo XC90 earned Motor Trend’s 2016 SUV of the Year Award. Motor Trend remarked it enjoyed the SUV’s excellent safety scores, beautiful design, and hybrid plug-in capability. It also earned the North American Truck/Utility of the Year, strengthening Volvo’s claim that its XC90 is the highest awarded SUV of the century.



Arguably the most influencing factor when making a decision on which SUV to buy is the cost. Although the Volvo XC90 is in the luxury segment, it represents tremendous value. The SUV’s starting cost of $45,750 is $9,550 less expensive than the average price of its immediate peers. To provide further context, the XC90 is less expensive than the Infiniti QX70 ($45,850) and the Volkswagen Touareg TDI Sport ($50,245).


Outside of price, safety will be the paramount concern for most families. The Volvo XC90 will allay any fears you might have, as the SUV earned a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ honor. Helping it receive the highest safety scores is the wealth of safety equipment Volvo installed in the XC90.

This starts with its construction. Volvo designed the XC90 with boron steel–this is the strongest steel available according to the manufacturer. The boron steel construction serves as an effective shield, protecting you and your passengers.

Construction aside, Volvo supplied this SUV with safety innovations you won’t find on other models. A great illustration of this is the Run-Off Road Mitigation. This system activates when the SUV is moving at speeds between 40 to 86 miles per hour. When activated, it will read the road conditions and if it senses your SUV is straying over the edge of the lane– as if you are about to leave the road, it will turn on the steering assist feature to help your vehicle remain on the road.

Another revolutionary feature is auto braking. How this works is the equipment scans the road ahead of you for large animals such as deer or moose. If it detects one, it will alert you audibly. In addition, it can apply the brakes if it determines you are slow to respond. These innovations show how ahead of the game Volvo is with its safety technologies.



Volvo equipped the XC90 with its 2.0L In-line four-cylinder engine. This engine delivers an impressive 316 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque. While there are plenty of performance heavyweights that offer better horsepower, the XC90 delivers better than average for its class. When you factor this in with the fact many of SUVs with better performance comes from brands such as Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, you’ll find the XC90 to deliver the perfect mix of power and value.

The Volvo XC90 also earns high marks for its performance capabilities. It possesses the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is 1,500 pounds more than its competitors average.



The Volvo XC90 received some firm competition. Here’s a look at several other models that came close to eclipsing the XC90 for our award.

Though the Honda HR-V isn’t in the luxury class, it does offer many enticing benefits for buyers. The HR-V starts from under $20,000, it scored the highest safety marks from the NHTSA and the IIHS and it delivers excellent fuel economy–29 combined mpg. Therefore, if you are looking for a non-luxury counterpart that offers many of the same benefits the Volvo XC90 possesses, then the Honda HR-V isn’t a bad choice.

Similar to the Honda HR-V, the Subaru Outback earned the top safety honors from the IIHS and the NHTSA. The Outback also begins from under $25,000, possesses a spacious interior and great fuel economy with 29 combined mpg. Subaru is also among the safest car brands available, so you can have peace of mind in knowing the Outback will be a safe choice for your family.

The last of many worthy competitors is the Honda Pilot. The Honda Pilot delivers a great mix of power (280-horsepower output) and efficiency, with 23 combined mpg. Furthering its appeal is its low price of $30,145–for the LX model and the fact it scored high marks on safety with both the IIHS and the NHTSA.

Our Take

There are many aspects of the Volvo XC90 families will love starting first with its costs. Because it is much less expensive, it gives you the option to experience luxury styling and performance at a much lower cost relative to other luxury brands.

Furthering its claim as the best SUV for families is its safety performance and equipment. The XC90 comes with some of the most innovative safety features available, meaning you’ll have tools at your disposal that could help you avoid an accident. Furthermore, with the SUV’s boron steel frame, you can feel confident your family is driving a durable SUV.

The final pieces of the puzzle concern the XC90’s power performance. What you will find is an SUV that is perfectly capable of providing the brisk acceleration and towing capacity you require.

Overall, the Volvo XC90 appeals to family thanks to its high safest marks, capable performance and affordability.


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