Volvo XC90 Review

Hello and welcome to my first and only car review. I should probably lead with the obvious. I am not a car expert and know pretty much nothing about the mechanics of motorized vehicles. Things like 19-inch alloy wheels do not matter to me. I wanted something safe, practical, and well…pretty, too. So yes, I am someone who knows nothing about the cars. But I am also someone who needed a new car.

And that car needed to comfortably hold two rear-facing child seats. And all the stuff that comes with having a baby and toddler, and grow with us as our kids got older. So I feel somewhat qualified to share why I chose the Volvo XC90. Here’s my review of the Volvo XC90 and how it fits two car seats.


Volvo XC90 Review and How it Fits A Rear-Facing Car Seat


I shared some video of the car’s features in my instagram stories

A review for the Volvo XC90

My old car lease was up almost one year ago, but we weren’t exactly going anywhere during the pandemic. We were able to save money and hold off on a second car until we really needed one. Almost one year later, with Conor going on more showings for work (he’s a realtor here in Chicago), it was time. 

A friend had the XC60 and it drove so well, and is a beautiful car. I previously owned the Q5 but it would have been too small. The Audi Q series wasn’t something I considered at all since it’s more expensive than the XC90. I did not consider the BMW X series cards because they’re just too expensive. After driving in it a few times, I loved the features and the smaller footprint of the Volvo. So my plan was to get one of those when the time was right. Another friend urged me to look at both the XC60 and 90. Even though my heart was set on the smaller car, it was clear that the larger of the two made more sense for us. 

Comparing the Volvo XC60 to the Volvo XC90

Long-term, I wanted the option to carpool or drive the girls and their friends around, and the XC60 would only allow one additional person to ride with us. This seven-seat SUV is exactly what our family needed. 

I called the dealership and asked if they could pull the XC60 and XC90 side-by-side out front for me to look at on my own. Bring your specific car seats and strollers, and play around with configurations. Here’s a terrible photo I took of the XC60 with our Bugaboo Bee in the back. This is our smaller city stroller, and it barely fit. When thinking of road trips and day-to-day use, we’ll have the third row down most of the time which gives us a huge trunk to work with. The rear seats are a bonus and would be great for older children. Note that you cannot install a car seat in a rear seat.  

Volvo XC90 Review

Volvo XC90 Review

Had I not loved the XC90 as much as I did, I would have looked at the VW Atlas, but it was just so beautiful and such a smooth ride I decided on black on blonde interior nappa leather which was harder to find but a beautiful combo. And I opted for the momentum package because the ultimate trims will cost another $5000 which seemed unnecessary. Today, I’m  going to answer some of your questions and talk about why I love this car as much as I do. 


Volvo XC90 Lease Vs. Buying

I’ve always leased cars, but because this car will be perfect for life with our two girls, I decided to purchase it and hope to drive it for 8-10 years – basically until I have to get a new one. Since I’m keeping it for such a long time, purchasing made sense this time around. I bought it fat Napleton Volvo (Conor’s uncle’s dealership) and they were wonderful to work with. Since I knew what I wanted, we told them the color combination and features, they found the car and delivered it to our house. So easy. 


Volvo XC90 Review and How it Fits a Rear-Facing Car Seat

Favorite Features

I just love this car – it’s my first Volvo, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Again, I’m not a “car person” but it really is the best car. From four wheel drive and adaptive cruise control to the head-up display and automatic emergency braking, it drives like a dream and is aesthetically quite pleasing.

My one regret is not getting one of the plug-in hybrid models. I drive an average of 3-4,000 miles a year and our old garage is on the smaller side. A charging station in the garage would have been an issue. But now that we’re in our new house and have a larger garage, I wish I had opted for the xc90 recharge. 


The only reason I didn’t was that our garage at the time was on the smaller side, and my car actually didn’t fit inside it (old house – it’s not too big for most garages) so there wouldn’t have been anywhere to charge it at home. Most of my driving is local, though, so i end up filling the tank every 3 weeks or so – not bad! 

Great design and driving experience

The interior and exterior are beautiful. The touchscreen is big, beautiful, and easy to use. There are a few trim levels to choose from, and the mid-level one is stunning. I almost can’t believe there’s a “nicer” option. The 9.0-inch touchscreen is beautiful yet functional, which seems to be a trend with the Volvo XC90. Choose between a bench cushion or second-row captain’s chairs. 

360 camera

As a mom, it feels so good knowing I can see everything around me while the girls play outside. The camera shows you an aerial view of everything around your car – it’s amazing! 

Integrated child seat

This is something we won’t use for years and years, but it’s nice to know that there’s an integrated booster seat built into the car.

Safety features

Automated emergency brakes, blind spot monitors, lane departure warning. This car is a top safety pick and does well in every crash test – it is one of the safest SUVs on the market. The large windows also make it easy to see cards around you, and the lights on the rear-view mirrors help, too. I love the active lane control and parking sensors, too. Parking has never been easier – the 360 aerial camera makes parallel parking and backing out of long driveways a breeze. 

It’s smart

I don’t know what cars offer this, but my phone alerts me if my car is parked an unlocked, and I am able to lock, unlock, or turn it on from my phone. 

It’s comfortable

The second row has plenty of room. When I sit with the girls, I’m always behind the driver’s seat and at 5’5″ feel very comfortable. There’s climate control, so I can have the air on in the back to keep the girls cool. And the heated seats and heated steering wheel are clutch in freezing Chicago.

Apple Carplay

Sure, this is standard equipment and available in most cars, but it’s a feature I use every time I get in the car.

Volvo XC90 Interior

Just look at at the front seats – they’re beautiful, aren’t they? I chose the blond leather, and got the momentum package (the more affordable option) and like I mentioned above, it’s just beautiful. All the available trims are beautiful. The XC90 is a luxury SUV that feels comfortable and sleek. It’s nice but approachable. 

Volvo XC90 Bench vs. Captain’s Chairs

When trying to figure out what I needed in a car, I turned to The Car Seat Lady and came across this article on second-row captain’s chairs vs a bench cushion and went with a bench cushion. Long-term, seven-passenger seating seemed to make the most sense for us. The bench offers three seats that operate separately and each can hold a car seat, and each of the 2nd row seats have top tether anchors and lower anchors for use when forward facing. Ultimately, I felt that the bench was a better, safer, and more practical option with rear-facing car seats.

Knowing that most of the time and that the 3rd row would be down for us, having a third seat in the second row seemed ideal. My younger daughter was in an infant seat (the Nuna Pipa) for the first year. Once she was old enough, I added a second Foonf to our car. 

And here’s the third row. It’s small, but still comfortable. I wouldn’t plan on using this every single day, but since we have 2 kids, it will be down most of the time for optimal cargo space but there if and when we need it. With the back seats up, there’s enough space for a few grocery bags, but not enough storage for a stroller. 

Nuna vs. Clek Foonf in the Volvo XC90

We had been using the Nuna RAVA since Margot turned one and it’s a great car seat. Knowing that I’d need two more seats since the plan was to leave a seat in Conor’s car, I decided to go back to researching the two to make sure I chose the best ones for our XC90. In the end, I decided on the Clek Foonf because it’s more narrow than the RAVA, and we can put them side-by-side in the XC90. If the girls get along well while driving and this option works, I put the car seats behind the middle and front passenger seat. This leaves more room for behind the driver’s seat and gives us access to the third row of seats. 

I used a seat belt for our rear facing Foonf. The car has isofix mounts (latch system) in the second row, but I prefer how tight the install is with a seat belt. The Foonf offers more legroom and since I plan on having the girls ride rear-facing seat until they max out on weight or height, this seemed like the best option. Bonus: if you have three kids or are planning on a third, you can fit three Clek Foonf across in the XC90. 

Here’s the car with the third row down (above) and with the third row up (below).

It’s still big enough for groceries or our Bugaboo Bee, so when I’m driving the girls and their friends in the years to come, it will be fine. With the third row down, I’m able to fit both the Bugaboo Bee and Valco Snap Duo Trend double stroller in the trunk. There’s good space in the trunk with the 3rd row down and decent enough space with the 3rd row up. 

There’s 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and 41.8 cubic feet with the third row down.

Volvo XC90 Trunk Space

The trunk is pretty small when the third row is up. Since we only have two kids, the third row will be down day-to-day. It’s so easy to put up or down when needed. And once we’re out of the stroller phase, it’s large enough for backpacks and groceries. The only time we’d really need a huge trunk would be a road trip, running errands for larger items, or long day out with the girls. 


Volvo XC90 Review: Your Questions, Answered


Would you want it if you didn’t have kids? 

It’s a beautiful car, drives so well, and I love the features so yes. But, I probably would have chosen the XC60 if I didn’t have kids. If I did get the XC90 and wasn’t a parent, I’d probably opt for second-row captain’s chairs vs a bench. Seven-seat versions just make more sense to me with kids, but maybe it’s just me. Ultimately, different cars work for different people, and I’m someone who prefers a smaller car, so this felt better than one of those enormous SUVs. It’s a nice in-between. 


Would you want it if you had three kids? Why/why not? 

If my oldest was out of a car seat, yes. It’s great for two small children, but you can’t put a car seat in the third row  so you’d have to have all three across the second which wouldn’t be ideal. I can’t imagine driving a larger car than this one, so I’m still going to say yes. 


How many car seats will fit? 

The second row bench is made up of three separate seats and it can fit three Clek Foonf car seats. That sounds kind of annoying (how is someone getting buckled into the middle seat?). We have two kids so it feels great for us. Older kids can sit in the third row, but a child in a booster or car seat cannot. 


How does the interior feel with two kids? 

It feels great to me. We started with one Clek Foonf behind the driver’s seat and a Nuna PIPA Lite behind the passenger seat. But I’ve tried a few arrangements. Once my younger daughter upgraded to the Clek, I put both girls side-by-side opening up one of the side seats. 


Are the seats comfortable? Does it drive smoothly? 

Yes and yes. The seats are so comfortable and I think the interior is beautiful. I had the Audi Q5 and thought that was smooth, but love this so much more. 


What’s your least favorite thing about this car? 

I guess how small the trunk would be with the third row up, but that doesn’t bother me.


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