2017 Volvo XC90 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Vehicle structure, brake and electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Maybe the 2017 Volvo XC90 isn’t one of the most popular luxury SUVs on the market, but it has made a name for itself. The newest lineup is hailed the epitome of “driving made safer,” but current owners feel that this model is a disaster waiting to happen. One look at reviews shows significant failures with the braking system, structure and electrical components.

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Problems with the Brakes

The 2017 Volvo XC90 is considered to have some semi-autonomous driving features, but one in particular is causing a lot of trouble, especially with braking.

Just look at this Edmunds review. “On 7 different occasions, my new XC90 automatically and aggressively braked the car while I was driving on a highway because the City Safety collision avoidance system sensed that I was about to get into a head-on collision but there was never a car or object in front of me. The collision avoidance system is defective and brakes the car for no reason. Every time it happened I was driving on a highway and it’s a miracle that I didn’t get rear ended. Volvo was completely unhelpful in figuring out what was wrong. My car was in the service department for 60 out of the first 100 days that I owned it. Volvo kept telling me that they couldn’t recreate the problem so there was nothing they could do. The service department at [dealer] was beyond unhelpful. They were flat out rude and dismissive of my concerns.  After several months of this problem, I went on the NHTSA website and found that several other people have reported the same problem. I then had to file the vehicle as a lemon under my state lemon laws. Volvo eventually repurchased the vehicle. This was the worst experience that I’ve ever had with a manufacturer. They never once took me seriously even though the car had a major safety problem and several other people have had the same complaint. I bought this car because I thought Volvo made the safest cars. I made a big mistake. Think twice before you buy this car.”

If an owner were to get into an accident because of this problem, there would be other concerns. First of all, NHTSA Campaign Number 17V10400 says that in more than 10,000 vehicles the bolts which secure the Inflatable Cabin air bags could break, causing a lack of deployment after a crash. Secondly, NHTSA Campaign Number 16V690000 says that more than 40,000 vehicles have an A/C water drain that dumps fluid into the passenger compartment and could prevent air bag deployment. Whichever way this situation is looked at; from the defective braking system to the faulty air bags, this mixture of problems is simply a recipe for disaster. Where is the safer driving that Volvo was discussing?

Problems with the Electrical System

These two systems aren’t the only areas of trouble with the 2017 Volvo XC90. The electrical system is also causing many malfunctions.

Here is an example from an Edmunds review. “The XC-90 8T has a serious design problem. If the car sits long enough ( usually 7 to 8 days)  the car goes into a sleep mode to protect the batteries. The result is the car is dead with no power available. The car must be entered using the manual key and the only way to start the car is to get a jump start. I am an international commercial pilot and go on long trips all the time. When I return I must get my airline’s maintenance to give me a jump to start. Needless to say I am the joke of the airline and having to to this at 4am during blizzards in Chicago is a nightmare. I have a 1995 snow plow I can start after sitting 6 months but a new 84,000 Volvo XC-90 cannot sit 2 weeks how sad.The dealer has been great but Volvo has not provided any hopes for a fix. I am pursuing the Lemon laws for my state.”

It shouldn’t come as a shocker that there is an electrical system-related recall for this model. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V800000 states that more than 17,000 models have VCM software that is causing an error when attempting to retrieve the GPS location after an accident. Basically, if someone gets into an accident because of the above complaints, emergency personnel might not be able to find them. Maybe it’s just Volvo’s way of covering up the defects.

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

Finally, a look at the structure of this model reveals some more shocking information.

Read these complaints left by one person on the Edmunds website. “Yes, this is a beautiful car. And at first glance the inside is also nice. Here are the problems I’ve had 1) leather seats separate from the foam and crease 2) rattling from base from the stereo 3) second row seat siding mechanism broke with routine use!!! 4) Infotainment system is slow and frankly it sucks not having jobs or buttons for quick functions 5) headliner was loose upon purchase and made an annoying chirping sound. How about what’s not broken? 4 cylinder is loud, annoyingly loud.”

With the structure, you can find another two recalls that are vital to evaluate. The first, NHTSA Campaign Number 17V37000, says that the Micro Gas Generator (MGG) can detach in the third row, leaving occupants at risk during a crash. In another recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 16V798000, Volvo acknowledges that nearly 75,000 vehicles might have front passenger seat belt buckle studs that can loosen and cause the belt to fail. For a company priding itself on safety, Volvo has a lot to learn.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Volvo pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Share your story

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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