Why I bought a Volvo XC90 to Replace My Minivan

Volvo Xc90

Volvo Xc90

New year, new car! Me with our new Volvo XC90. ? Susanne Kerns

They say the two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day they buy their boat and the day they sell it.

By Susanne Kerns

I think the inverse may be true for minivan owners: I begrudgingly entered my life as a minivan owner ten years ago, but grew to love the comfort, space, and flexibility it offered. It was surprisingly sad to say goodbye when I recently traded it in for a new car to enter my next stage of family chauffeur duties.

Our new car had big shoes to fill: I still wanted the flexible seating (the third row was a must) and cargo space of my minivan, but was looking for something a little more stylish to celebrate our new stage of life: having kids who are old enough to open their own car doors without the risk of causing body-damage to the car parked next to us. Our solution: the Volvo XC90. After breaking it in, I can confirm it was a perfect choice or our family.

Related: Volvo XC90 Review: The Luxury SUV That Makes the Carpool Less Painful

Volvo Xc90

It was a bittersweet moment saying goodbye to the minivan. ? Susanne Kerns

Volvo XC90: the Perfect Minivan Replacement

Here are the top five reasons we chose, and love, our Volvo XC90 – priced from $48,350 and up– for graduation from minivan life.

Volvo Xc90

You don’t need a truck to haul a half pallet of sod; the Volvo XC90 had this down. ? Susanne Kerns

1. Tons of cargo space – Or at least a half-ton. That’s literally how much this half pallet of sod that I loaded weighed. Even the guy at the turfgrass company couldn’t believe I was able to fit in ninety pieces of sod (and still be able to safely see out the rear-view mirror, in case any police officers are reading this.)

2. Plenty of human space – Our kids are 15 and 10 now so although we no longer need a car that accommodates the space and installation-contortion requirements of car seats, we still need the flexibility to carpool several sweaty friends, and their equipment, home from lacrosse camp. The XC90’s third row was a must-have for us and still leaves room for storage in the back.

Volvo Xc90

Our Volvo XC90 cleaned up car after the sod project. ? Susanne Kerns

3. So beautiful – The first time I configured my car on the Volvo website and saw the final result, I actually gasped. The design, trim and color choices are gorgeous. After much hand-wringing, I went with the blonde interior and am so glad I did. The main deciding factor was when I was cleaning up my minivan for trade-in, I bought this “Car Guys” leather cleaner and was amazed by how it erased ten years of mistreatment and neglect of the seats. I knew if it could wipe away a decade of goldfish and dirty shoe residue trapped under car seats that wiping away a little sod dirt would be no problem. Plus, Volvo’s Denim Blue metallic paint color makes my heart go pitter-patter. Do I feel a little shallow for caring so much about looks? Yes. But she’s also beautiful on the inside – where it really counts.

Volvo Xc90

Our first Volvo was overseas pick up when we bought our Volvo V50 wagon. ? Susanne Kerns

4. We loved our first Volvo – Back before our minivan, when I was five months pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I did the overseas pick up of a Volvo V50 which I drove for five years until my son was born and we went into full minivan mode. Aside from it being dependable and fun to drive, I always loved how “solid” it felt. No parts every got wobbly, nothing felt plastic or cheap. Everything felt sturdy, well-made and much more expensive than the actual price of the car. Side note: if you ever have the opportunity to do the overseas delivery for a Volvo, do it. You get a low, no-haggle price on the car, plus a free trip to Sweden. We kept waiting for there to be a catch, but it was just a wonderful opportunity to us to have a special experience with our new car.

Volvo Xc90

Mom 2.0 vendors donated extra items to Carrying Hope, a non-profit that provides necessities to kids in foster care. I had plenty of room to haul it all in the Volvo XC90. ? Susanne Kerns

My own not-necessarily-logical reasons

After a month of researching and test driving every car in the three-row SUV category, we had narrowed our options down to the Volvo XC90 and the Audi Q7. The final decision between these two cars came down to two personal-preference issues.

First was the placement of digital consoles. The Audi Q7 has a screen that pops out of the top of the dashboard, which I’m sure some people love, but I found it distracting to have in my peripheral vision. This was the same reason I ruled out the Lexus, (that, and because the front grille design made me feel like it’s angry at me. Like I said, these are the “not-logical” reasons.)

Related: The 2020 Volvo XC90 Luxury 3 Row SUV Just Got More Elegant

The main je ne sais quoi reason is impossible to nail down to one particular feature. The best explanation I’ve found was when I was doing my car-buying research and read an article comparing these same two cars, someone mentioned that they felt like the Audio Q7 is a really beautiful office and the Volvo XC90 is a really beautiful living room. It may not be quite as sleek or nimble, but it has a sink-into-it feeling that I prefer.

The Car is My Second Home

My car does essentially serve as a mobile living room for our family and dogs. It doesn’t need to be sporty or break any 0-60 records. It does need to be safe, comfortable and a place I actually enjoy being during long waits in the school pick up line. (For ultimate “waiting for your kids” comfort, I highly recommend upgrading to the Inscription model’s four-way power-lumbar seats.)  Despite all the luxury features of the car itself, I have to admit that my favorite busy-mom luxury feature is that the Volvo app on my phone pings me when I forgot to lock the car and lets me lock it remotely with the push of a button.

Related: 5 Very Real Reasons, Starting With Care By Volvo, This May Be the Right Car For You

Whether you consider luxury as having the space to haul literal tons of garden supplies, or a cul-de-sac full of kids or one important client you’re schmoozing on the way to a fancy dinner, the Volvo XC90 is a great option for those of us whose families are outgrowing our minivans.