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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After just a few days of XC90 use I have arrived at the following conclusion:
The running boards are a BIG $1750 MISS. Here is my rational:

1. I ordered the running boards because I really appreciated the deployable boards on my Range Rover. In the RR, they were cool in their deployment and actually worked for both ingress and egress, but most importantly allowed me to get in and out without sliding across the outer edge of the drivers seat which would otherwise cause burnishing and premature wear on the seat leather. They also afforded me the opportunity to park it at off-road height to minimize any parking related dings from nearby vehicles.

2. However in the Volvo: firstly they are very narrow. They are merely "adequate" for vehicle entry; i.e. I can place my left foot on the edge of the board, pivot in and lower myself into the seat without sliding across the edge. NOTE: your foot has to be placed parallel, pointing forward; there is not enough depth to point your foot inwards (perpendicular). It's not a natural foot position.
The bigger problem comes with the exit. There is no comfortable way to put either left or right foot on the edge of the board, it being so narrow. Reversing the ingress movement does not work. At best, you can press your left heel into the board and pivot out, and then placing your right foot on the ground, but it's a totally unnatural movement and only works when you are feeling super-flexible.

3. So upon exit, one is really better off just stepping over and outside the running board, putting ones left foot directly on the ground, just as one would without the running board. And here comes the rub: this will only result in getting ones trousers or legs in direct contact with the dirty edge of the board. I think at least one other post has referenced this already.

4. In addition to this rather inelegant exit, it's now inevitable you will have to slide across the outer edge of the seat causing premature wear, which was my number one reason for ordering the boards in the first place. I am of the opinion that I could enter and exit the car without the boards and use simple body core leverage to avoid hitting the edge of the seat.

I look forward to hearing of other owners solutions to this exit dilemma. What movements do you use and have you found a way to usefully exit without dirty trousers?

I know the seat-edge burnishing is going to be a problem because when I picked the car up with just a few delivery miles, it was already slightly grubby and dirty on the seat edge, meaning that even the dealer technicians not been using the running boards.
My next challenge, assuming I can't come up with the right exit choreography is to see if the dealer will remove the boards. This might be problematic since they were port installed and I assume the lower trim that was removed to accommodate the boards is not simply lying around at the dealership.
 

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Great detailed review. Thanks for making my decision easier and saving me some $$$!
 

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I know the seat-edge burnishing is going to be a problem because when I picked the car up with just a few delivery miles, it was already slightly grubby and dirty on the seat edge ...
Was this the napa or the regular leather?
 

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I agree 100% with all points. I've got the Napa leather in charcoal, so the dirt is less of a concern, but i can already see the wrinkles forming...

I'd add that even entering is worse with the boards (for me anyway) as it makes me actually too tall and creates a very awkward entry.

I had the deployable boards in my Escalade and they were the only useful boards I've had (and obviously that is a car that a step up is very helpful on.) My wife's GL450 boards are similar to the XC90, though a little more useful.

They do help for kids (under 5) in my experience.

I'm hopeful the dealer/Volve will replace them, because let's be honest, unlike the wheels/tires upgrade for $750 (which probably costs significantly more than that) the cost of the side scuff plate is probably trivial, and they have removed things at the port to add the running boards, and can repurpose those if they are motivated to.
 

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They do help for kids (under 5) in my experience.
This is exactly what I was going to say. I had running boards on my MDX back when my kids were toddlers. It made it much easier for them to climb in and out of the vehicle. Other than that, they didn't serve much of a purpose. I did think the car looked better with them, though. It sounds like the running boards on the XC90 are similar. They are more form than function. It probably only makes sense to get them if you think they look cool and can justify the cost.
 

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I am vain, I got it for the looks.
It does come in handy for my kids to get in, also helpful in protecting the door for dings from cars parked next to it in most situations. I find it great for mounting the roof top cargo carrier and washing the car.

Other than that, I never use the running boards to get in or out - same thing with my X5 - I think I got used to it.
 

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I am vain, I got it for the looks.
It does come in handy for my kids to get in, also helpful in protecting the door for dings from cars parked next to it in most situations. I find it great for mounting the roof top cargo carrier and washing the car.

Other than that, I never use the running boards to get in or out - same thing with my X5 - I think I got used to it.
Totally agree. Kids use them. They look great at night. May save the odd ding in the car park. Great for loading bikes on the roof. Otherwise useless. My wife's asking me to get rid of them as they cause hinderance. Another point made on an earlier post - you can't clean the area next to the rear door hinge because the board is pressed up too close and you can't get a cloth under it. And they pick up dirt quickly.

I have the regular seats and have not noticed any creases or markings on the amber leather. Maybe this is more of an issue on the softer Nappa leather ?
 

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Totally agree. Kids use them. They look great at night. May save the odd ding in the car park. Great for loading bikes on the roof. Otherwise useless. My wife's asking me to get rid of them as they cause hinderance. Another point made on an earlier post - you can't clean the area next to the rear door hinge because the board is pressed up too close and you can't get a cloth under it. And they pick up dirt quickly.

I have the regular seats and have not noticed any creases or markings on the amber leather. Maybe this is more of an issue on the softer Nappa leather ?
One of the reasons we stuck with the Momentum + was not to get the Nappa leather. Although durable enough, it is not meant for "family" use. It does require more care than regular leather. The Momentum seats are fantastic in my opinion. We sat in both Inscription and Momentum and frankly didn't notice much difference. In addition, perforated leather is great if you don't have kids. We used to have an Acura MDX way back with perforated leather and it was a pain cleaning it when kids dropped all kinds of foods on the seats. Some of it you couldn't get out of the perforated holes.
 

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One of the reasons we stuck with the Momentum + was not to get the Nappa leather. Although durable enough, it is not meant for "family" use. It does require more care than regular leather. The Momentum seats are fantastic in my opinion. We sat in both Inscription and Momentum and frankly didn't notice much difference. In addition, perforated leather is great if you don't have kids. We used to have an Acura MDX way back with perforated leather and it was a pain cleaning it when kids dropped all kinds of foods on the seats. Some of it you couldn't get out of the perforated holes.
Just to be an antagonist, I've always had a strict "No food in the cars" rule :p
 

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We will see what happens when winter rolls around. I remember the last generation MDX without running boards got their rocker panels trashed by sand and debris because of the design. I'm going without them but applying 3m to the rocker panels.
 

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Just to be an antagonist, I've always had a strict "No food in the cars" rule :p
Yeah, I've already made the kids (hmmm....and the wife) aware of the new rule. "Food is to be eaten outside of the car and open water containers only - no juices, sodas, coffee, etc." Well, we'll see if they adhere to it. :facepalm:
 
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