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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought this 2004 post from Mr P was very good--and it was made before the transmission problems with T6 were well known. Not to mention it a very good defense of the 2.5T XC90. Just thought some might find it interesting.

"I've looked at the V6 Cayenne prior to deciding to buy the XC90 2.5T and the Cayenne had a sticker price at $54,000. Porsche claims their VW Cayenne does the 0-60 in a remarkable 9.7 seconds (see link). Motor Trend tested the 2.5T and reports 9.9 seconds. I don't know how many of you can tell the difference in 1/5th of a second, but I can't.
The VW Porsche has 3.2 liters and a V6 configuration. The XC90 has 2.5 liters but uses an equalizer called a turbo.

The VW Porsche produces 247 hp at 6000 rpm, advantage VW, but you must get to 6000 RPM in order to realize that number., while torque is only 229 footpounds at 2500 RPM. In contrast the 2.5T 'only' produces 208 hp but it produces an outstanding 236-footpounds of torque way down at 1500 RPM. This means in normal driving, the smaller Volvo motor actually has more usable torque down low where it's needed, and it comes on at an outstanding low 1500 RPM.

The VW is rated at 5300 pounds of towing, while the Volvo at 5000 pounds.

After driving both the 2.5T and the T6, and then further driving the 2.5T we opted to buy, I find the engine to be quite adequate. Yes, everyone would prefer to have more power, but the article below recommends the 2.5T over the T6, and gives great reasons why.

As for the 'remarkable' acceleration of the VW Cayenne in 9.7 seconds to 60-mph, I'd suggest that with manual shifting the Volvo could equal that number. Quite remarkable eh?

The Cayenne is roughly 5200 pounds which is 21 pounds per horsepower.
The Volvo is roughly 4400 pounds, which is 21 pounds per hoursepower.
Add the advantage of better torque for the Volvo, I'm surprised the Volvo didn't actually beat the Cayenne performance numbers, but they are from Porsche, and the Volvo numbers are from an independent source. http://www2.us.porsche.com/eng...e.htm
For all practical purposes, the 2.5T is the equal of the VW Cayenne when it comes to power to weight and acceleration. VW, er Porsche, quotes their top speed as 133, while I see independent tests in UK showing the 2.5T at 130, with factory numbers saying 128. In any case, fast enough to do serious jail time!! I like the fact that the Volvo motor was built by Volvo, tee hee, and Porsche had to buy theirs.

Later on when we have a Japanese Yamaha Volvo to talk about, perhaps the numbers will be even more encouraging.

http://www.automotive.com/volv....html

2004 Volvo XC90 Driving Impressions
The standard Volvo XC90 and the T6 model have surprisingly different character. Our highest praise is reserved for the model with the base five-cylinder engine.

Volvo's 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine produces 208 horsepower and 236 foot-pounds of torque at 4500 rpm. We found the five-cylinder's 208 horsepower to be plenty for the real world, and the 24 mpg EPA Highway rating is excellent for that much power in a vehicle as heavy as the XC90.

But engines only produce power. Transmissions transmit the power to drive wheels, and the transmission in the five-cylinder XC90 is very sweet. It's a Geartronic five-speed automatic with a manual mode. We used manual shifting to test the engine's torque, which seems a little lacking at low rpm. However, it generates good acceleration when you floor it in automatic mode. We floored the gas at 1500 rpm in fifth gear and, in manual mode the XC90 accelerated ever so slowly. Then we tried automatic mode, and when we floored it at 1500 rpm the transmission downshifted all the way to third, the tach jumped and XC90 eagerly zoomed away. Obviously, the electronic transmission sensor didn't believe there was enough torque at 1500 rpm. Moral to the story: avoid manual mode for full acceleration, and trust the transmission to shift itself. And if you just want pulling power without full throttle, you can use the manual mode to downshift, if you need to.

The T6 model also uses a Geartronic transmission, but it's only a four-speed. The T6 transmission must handle a lot more torque, and beefing up the five-speed to that level would leave no room in the engine compartment to fit it. As it is, the heavier four-speed transmission shifts more slowly and less smoothly than the 2.5's five-speed.

Nor is the six-cylinder engine is as smooth or quiet as the five-cylinder. There was a distinct engine vibration between 45 and 50 mph in third gear, at about 2000 rpm. And although 268 horsepower and twin turbos sounds hot, we weren't impressed. With the four-speed, the engine sometimes feels like it's working hard, and the T6's lower mileage rating means about 60 fewer miles per tank.

Regardless, we were impressed with how silky smooth the XC90 felt at 80 mph. Its chassis closely follows the design of the V70 wagon, but it's wider and the components are beefier. Our route included one long and remote leg of rough, narrow and twisty pavement, and, with two passengers, we fairly thrashed the five-cylinder XC90, and it eagerly ate up the road.

Here, we used the big ventilated disc brakes hard, and manual mode in the transmission a lot, upshifting and downshifting as if it were a regular five-speed. A few times we flew into gullies that might have bottomed the nose of other SUVs, but the XC90 took that too. The XC90 didn't quite handle at the near sports-car level of a BMW X5 or Infiniti FX35. Its power rack-and-pinion steering is on the heavy side, and not as quick in the really tight stuff, but it feels reasonably tight in general, with decent feedback to let you know how the front tires are gripping. There's minimal body sway under hard cornering. We activated the DSTC electronic stability control a few times, and the system applied the brakes at one wheel without cutting the throttle, although we aren't sure if it was the gyroscopic roll sensor or traction sensors that triggered its operation.

The XC90's ride is very good, maybe even unique: stiff at the wheels, but not in the cabin. It didn't exactly absorb the ridges and bumps, because you could feel the suspension working over them; but it didn't transfer any harshness to the arms or seat of the pants at all. Speed bumps in particular were interesting; it was as if the suspension challenged them and hammered back, protecting us from jouncing even when we hit them at 15 mph.

The XC90's all-wheel-drive system is effective, too. It operates seamlessly, and the driver will almost never know when it's working. In normal, good-traction conditions, 95 percent of the engine's power goes to the front wheels. If the front wheels lose traction, a multi-plate clutch begins routing power to the rear, to a maximum split of 65 percent to the back tires. This frontward bias leaves the XC90 with a default understeer condition, or a sliding at the front tires near the limits of handling. This push is much easier to handle than a skittish rear end, because a driver's natural instinct is to slow down, and that basically solves the problem.

The T6 has stiffer front springs than the five-cylinder XC90, and speed-sensitive steering. These are supposed to give it more of a true high-performance feel. To some extent they do, but mostly they detract from the XC90's overall balance and introduce some mildly annoying handling characteristics. Unless you need bragging rights about ultimate horsepower, we highly recommend the XC90 with the standard five-cylinder engine."


submitted for your reading enjoyment.


Mr. P
 

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Wow......you had to dig to find that one. It must have been posted shortly after we got our 2004 2.5.

Funny thing, I almost INSISTED that we get that car. It was the coolest SUV design I'd ever seen and being a long-time Volvo fan, having hot rodded a PV-544 Sport and having owned many prior Volvos I just wanted that one in the family as our main hauler and SAFE long distance conveyance. So my wife went along with it, and stepping out of her 850 and into this "school bus" as she referred to it, made her very uneasy and "not happy" to be mild about it. She demanded I take it back to the dealer and of course that would have been a big cash penalty for me. Well two weeks later guess what? You would have had to fight her go get that XC90 from her, she soon took to the quality, good outward vision, ability to haul her things around including 7 people on occasion when relatives came to town. I always felt good about the fact that I put here in the safest car on the roads too, every time she left the driveway.

We never regretted buying the 2.5, it served us very well and proided a very safe vehicle for us day and night, short and long, rain or snow, it always did the job. There were a few minor issues naturally, like wet floor mats but that wasn't the fault of the motor, it was the sunroof drain or the front valence drain in front of the windshield wipers, something that has since been improved.

It may not mean anything to someone who's mom drives a 3.2 or someone who has 8,000 postings here who has driven "a lot of cars", but we actually put 135,000 miles on our 2.5 one mile at a time, so we drove it long enough over an 8-year time frame to be able to discuss the merits of the motor more than someone who may have "driven one" around the parking lot at a dealership.

At the point where we suffered pretty serious hail damage we started looking around and found a really nice low milage (33,000 miles) 2008 3.2 AWD in Willow Green for basically half the cost of a new one. After driving a new one and a new XC60 I asked my wife, would you rather have that 2008 and $20,000 in your pocket, or would you rather have a new XC60 or XC90 (same price at the time). She immediately opted for the 2008 3.2. I drove it and fully checked it out, and was confident that it had been well cared for and it ran like new. It is a heck of a piece of machinery, and with six speeds it has plenty of go for me in everyday traffic, and on the interstate I have a technique of smooth driving where I toe the accelerator just a bit and let the torque converter shift down one notch and just hold it there for a bit, rather than mashing the gas.

The recent bashing of the 3.2 has more to do with personal frustrations and acting-out than any real liability with the machine. I naturally did not share with my wife all the bashing tiffs, and asked her the other day about how she liked the car, and the resonse was overwhelmingly positive, with special note about the motor being smooth and refined. A happy wife is a happy life. When I drive it of course it does not have the response of my 2.5 XC70 or the Porsche, but the 3.2 XC90 is one fine car, and it may well be the best one I've ever owned. Not the fastest by any measure, but the best.

Some people are content, comfortable, and appreciative of a vehicle with this level of quality. I am because I drove it before I bought it and knew what I was getting, both with the 2.5 and the 3.2. We're a 3 volvo family at the moment, with several other cars too, but the Volvos are the ones we drive the most because they are comfortable, offer good performance, you can see nicely out of them, and they are the next best thing to driving a bank vault. The trade in value was very strong on our 2.5 because it was so well kept with nice interior; even with hail damage the dealership said they would put $3000 into this one and sell it as a premium used car. Because the 2.5 served us so well in our 850 turbo, and the 2004 XC90, i did not hesitate to pick up an very clean 2.7 XC70 and I absolutely love that car. It is plenty fast and of course I do like that torque :cool:

At this point in the XC90 product line, many or most of the engineering deficiencies of the earlier models have been corrected, like the poor choice of transmissions and water pocket in the V8 that lead to balance shaft bearing failure. For people who don't mind driving a design that has been around 10 years, the XC90 is still a great package, good looking, and we see them parked in front of multi million dollar homes, estates, and cottages like those at Bay Harbor, Michigan.

Thanks for the post, I recall corresponding with you over the years, always quality postings from you with good intent. When your 2.5 gets to the point where it has high milage or for any other reason, I would suggest trying a low milage 3.2 just to experience some of the same sensations I've noticed with this newer engine and transmission package. You will either like it or not, and of course that is your choice as the driver/buyer. All I can say is we love ours.

best,

P
 

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The recent bashing of the 3.2 has more to do with personal frustrations and acting-out than any real liability with the machine...
P
...and the lack of nuanced understanding about how to manage the interplay between engine, transmission, and throttle mapping when driving.

The 3.2 is certainly no engineering marvel, but it's completely adequate for the task...
...unless your wife likes to do sub 5 second 0-60 drag races between lights with the kids and groceries in the back. And if she does, you bought the wrong vehicle no matter what engine they put in it.
 

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...and the lack of nuanced understanding about how to manage the interplay between engine, transmission, and throttle mapping when driving.

The 3.2 is certainly no engineering marvel, but it's completely adequate for the task...
...unless your wife likes to do sub 5 second 0-60 drag races between lights with the kids and groceries in the back. And if she does, you bought the wrong vehicle no matter what engine they put in it.
Totally agree !

While I don't thumb my nose at anyone who wants to improve the handling or power of their own XC90, is it a heavy vehicle with a high center of gravity, more like racing motor homes than something actually fast, so all this talk about speed in a XC90, even the fastest of the fast would be slow by many standardards. Still I don't thumb my nose at anyone who wants (or has) more power in theirs. I'm happy for them.

I don't feel the need to drive the XC90 fast. However, when I get into something else then I normally do. This isn't to say I have not driven the XC90 fast, but at speed on a winding road they can be positively dangerous when a low slung road car would be just crusing. Even with a big ego and big check-book, it is hard to defy some of the laws of physics.

I agree the 3.2 is no engineering marvel (that's why I bought it). I like the fact that is is more simplistic, no timing belt, no turbocharger, no balance shafts, and it just a nice snall inline DOHC injected six cylinder with variable valve timing on one bank. Volvo would do well to follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) routine in the future, as I fear they will try to use a 4-cylinder across the boards and force it to work (but for how long and for what kind of cash and/or gymnastics). Nothing like another 4-cylinder belt driven DOHC balance-shaft wonder that has to have one or more turbochargers when a normally aspirated inline six, small V6 or small V8 would just work fine.

Personally I think Volvo jumped off the deep end with that Yamaha V8 design. As nice as it is, they shot themselves in the foot for not designing the vehicle to accept a V8 from the onset, and then having to build a 60-degree motor to fit, when there are plenty of really sweet and simple V8 concepts that would have worked so well without the balance shaft. Just remembering the 1963 260 my grandfather had in a Fairlane; darn thing was so small you had to look twice just to see it down there, lol.

Regards,

P
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Always thought that was a great post on why you picked the XC90 over the Cayenne, and why you picked the 2.5T over the T6. You obviously dodged a bullet not buying the T6, since the GM 4-speed problems were not well understood then. Ominously, the article you posted seems to say a 5-speed would have been a better transmission for the T6 than a 4-speed, but that there was not enough room for a 5-speed! The article from automotive.com also reflects my experience with 2.5T--even the part about how it "pushes back" at speed bumps. (When I see a speed bump, I tend to want to go faster, because it fascinates me how the XC90 absorbs them.)

Before we got our XC90, my wife's car was a 2.4NA 1994 850 wagon. You really had to rev the motor to get some decent acceleration (sounds familiar). If I ever lost my momentum going up the steep part of I-70 west of Denver (usually because of a slow driver in the left lane), you had to put the pedal on the floor and rev the engine close to redline to get your speed back.The engine would sound like it was going to explode, but we never had any significant problems with it, and we drove it to 235,000 miles. Looking for a replacement, we found a beautiful 2006 2.5T AWD XC90, with all the bells and whistles--entertainment package, climate package, AWD, third row seats, etc. It had 42,000 miles on it, and the independent dealer, who had bought it at auction, was asking $23,000. It had been a dealership lease before, and brand new it would have cost about $46,000--half-price for 42,000 miles! We bought it the next day, and it's been a great car. Soon after, it was time to replace my 1997 5.4L Ford Expedition, and we returned to the same dealer, where we found a 1998 V70XC with 103,000 miles on it that was in pristine condition. The back seats looked like they had never been ridden in, and the dealer had all the maintenance records, showing the prior owner took the car in for it's prescribed 5,000 mile checkups religiously. I thought this was going to be my car, but my wife loved it so much she took it from me, and made me take the XC90! Like brer rabbit said to brer fox, "Please don't throw me in that briar patch". Unlike your wife, she couldn't reconcile herself to the larger car. So we are both very happy, and not to long ago she told me her 1998 V70XC was her most favorite car of all. And I LOVE my XC90 too.
 

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Well its always good to be lucky! My theory is to never buy an engineered or manufactured product on the initial run, as there are ALWAYS things that become obvious that need to be changed. I guess that falls somewhere between the Guinea Pig and the Lemming theory.

best,

P
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well its always good to be lucky! My theory is to never buy an engineered or manufactured product on the initial run, as there are ALWAYS things that become obvious that need to be changed. I guess that falls somewhere between the Guinea Pig and the Lemming theory.

best,

P
I'd rather be lucky than good any day. Good can only cover so much, but lucky can cover everything.
 

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I'd rather be lucky than good any day. Good can only cover so much, but lucky can cover everything.
Must be lucky.
Our 2004 T6 we love. 115K miles very few problems, runs great with original transmission:eek:
Besides normal maintenance, rear bearings went out at 105K miles.
Been great SUV so far;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Must be lucky.
Our 2004 T6 we love. 115K miles very few problems, runs great with original transmission:eek:
Besides normal maintenance, rear bearings went out at 105K miles.
Been great SUV so far;)
Great to hear that. A few months ago I read a post (somewhere) by someone who said they had 167,000 miles of trouble free driving, with original transmission, on their T6 XC90. And another poster said that , according to his research, about half of the T6 transmissions go well over 100,000 miles. So maybe you dodged a bullet too. Hope your tranny goes to 167,000 miles and beyond.

PS; My Volvo mechanic says he has 2 friends who have fairly high mileage T6 XC90s who've never had any transmission problems---and he said they drive their '90s hard.

And Superstition and Magic will overcome Reason and Science every time.
 

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Few months ago was talking with owner of very busy Volvo indy repair shop in San Francisco Bay Area.
Told me he has only seen two XC90 T6's come in with transmission failures:confused: Also said he has number of high mileage XC90 T6's come in for services.
Maybe with Volvo being sold to more upscale buyer, power of internet blows problems up bigger than normal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Few months ago was talking with owner of very busy Volvo indy repair shop in San Francisco Bay Area.
Told me he has only seen two XC90 T6's come in with transmission failures:confused: Also said he has number of high mileage XC90 T6's come in for services.
Maybe with Volvo being sold to more upscale buyer, power of internet blows problems up bigger than normal?
No doubt the internet exaggerates car problems. Based on the posts I'd read, I was surprised by the guy who said his research indicated about half of T6 trannies go well past 100,000 miles without problems. People who are happy with their cars don't make many posts.
 
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