Will a Volvo XC90 with 3.2 tow as well as a Honda Odyssey?
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    1. #1
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      Will a Volvo XC90 with 3.2 tow as well as a Honda Odyssey?

      I've towed 3 ATV's thousands of miles behind a 2006 Honda Odyssey (with tow package) for many years. I speculate the loaded trailer is around 3000 to 3500 lbs. I've leveled out the ruts on logging roads with the under carriage of the vehicle. It's treated me well. Kids are grown up and I think it's time to find something that is AWD, has more clearance, and is safe. I'm thinking of a used XC90; the ones in the 2007 to 2013 are in my price range. The vast majority for sale in my area (Canada) are 3.2 liters. This engine puts out 235 HP (6200 RPM) and 236 ft-lb torque (3200 RPM). This is less than the Odyssey which was rated at 244 HP (5750 RPM) and 240 ft-lb (5000 RPM). Should I expect that the XC90 will not handle a trailer as well as the Odyssey? One gripe with the Odyssey is that I can't select the gear, and the transmission is constantly shifting up and down when I use cruise. That's not quite true. I can select 3rd gear, but with a 5 speed tranny, that's really only good for braking.
      Consequently, I end up driving the Ody with my foot (no cruise) the majority of the time when towing. I am towing on the Prairies, so not a lot of significant hills. I think (?) the XC90 allows you to select any gear, so I speculate it would tow better, but with less power available. Perhaps with max torque developed at lower RPM it would make it better than Ody for towing? I'm curious about any thoughts and especially experiences. There are occasional XC90's with v8's (4.4 liter) for sale in my area. They are just harder to find. Maybe I need to hold out. Thoughts?

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    3. #2
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      My brother has an Odyssey and he told me IIRC that at 360k kms the total maintenance he did over the years since it was new was to replace a tie rod end and a brake calliper. I am assuming he must have also done the rest of the brakes. You couldn't dream of that kind of reliability with the Volvo and I would guess the fuel economy will also be worse, like about 11.5 to 12 L/100km for the 3.2L vs 10? for the Honda. Be prepared to spend a lot more money on the XC90 if you do get one. The ground clearance would of course be greater on the Volvo but those AWD parts will also wear out much quicker when towing. Others may paint a rosier picture for you.
      07 XC90 3.2

    4. #3
      Can't dream of that reliability with a Volvo? 330,000 miles (not k) on my V70 D5 before passing it on to my brother, and it's still going well at nearly 400k. No breakdowns beyond bulbs, only replacements were wiper blades, brakes and tyres. Even the exhaust is the original. My XC90 is shaping up to go the same way.

      Equally, we can also cite examples of less than stellar Honda's from drivers across the globe.

      Sweeping universal statements are neither accurate nor helpful. How the car you own and drive right now behaves is what counts, and there is no real means by which anyone can predict how the next one will go, regardless of the brand.
      Last edited by Richard Richard; 08-22-2020 at 12:57 PM.
      2009 XC90 D5 185 R Design Geartronic-6
      Premium, Summer, Winter, Family and Comms packs.

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    6. #4
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      We are talking XC90 here not V70 D5 which I have no doubt is a very reliable car.

      As for continuous towing with AWD I don't think the XC90 is up to it. That tiny pinion bearing in the differential wouldn't last long, and probably not the angle gear coupling either.
      Last edited by vince1; 08-23-2020 at 03:12 PM.
      07 XC90 3.2

    7. #5
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      Thank you. My 2006 ody has had some issues. Not a lot for the mileage. I've replaced AC condensor, high pressure power steering hose, and some heater switch. I'm living with a number of sliding door quirks that might many people would have spent money on.

      If I buy an XC90, probably about 5 to 10% of the mileage on it would be towing (similar to my van).

      Van is still running decent; I think I will watch for a XC90 V8 and then I won't have to question whether it has the power to tow.

    8. #6
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      There are some showing up in the auto wrecker yards so repairs may not break the bank. I think that Volvo wanted something like $200 for a sun visor which was $4 at the junkyard and a used complete heater motor, blower and resistor assembly cost me about $20.

      If I were twenty years younger I wouldn't mind doing the big repairs but am not into it anymore.

      We're just trying to get another year or two out of it to bring us into the electric age.

      Good luck in your search for a Volvo. I hope you find a good one.
      07 XC90 3.2

    9. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by vince1 View Post
      We are talking XC90 here not V70 D5 which I have no doubt is a very reliable car.

      As for continuous towing with AWD I don't think the XC90 is up to it. That tiny pinion bearing in the differential wouldn't last long, and probably not the angle gear coupling either.
      That is definitely the weak point in XC90 AWD systems ... unfortunately. V8's only make it worse, because of the torque. But ... a XC90 AWD makes a nice tow vehicle when everything is working as it should.

      Because you are in Canada (slippery winters, wheels spinning on ice etc), I would have the angle gear and AWD system inspected very carefully. There is no fool proof way to determine if the angle gear coupling is on it's way out.
      .
      2009 XC90 V8 R-Design

    10. #8
      Even better-its a Volvo....


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    11. #9
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      Helpful: I have both vehicles. Actually, all three. Less helpful: Me (and the guys) tow with other vehicles. Check towing capacity closely at GVWR. I believe that the reason Ody is shifting is that it may be towing at max capacity of 3500lbs with V6. XC90 with I6 "averages" 4500 lbs in towing capacity but varies widely based upon the engine and the configuration (7 seater is a heavier car, etc.). I think the main advantage in the XC90's potential greater towing capacity is the structure of the chassis. To support some observations from others: hp and torque of the 6 cyl engines are similar. gas mileage of both volvo engines are similar (non-tow). Yes, you can likely stay in a manually chosen xc90 gear longer within software parameters, but the non-tow cruise control of the honda is significantly smoother. To make a very rough comparison, we have fully loaded the xc90 3.2 with 7 persons, squeezed stuff in openings and filled a roof rack - this could be halfway to you (alone) towing your trailer. Yes, weight distribution is different, but the Volvo would hold a manual gear on the level interstate at speed. With thousands of both models in use, expectations of reliability can be made. H generally has fewer problems than V as supported by the consumer research publications. focus on the issues that matter to you - reviewing tsb's might help. Part of this reliability achievement is that H is really only one configuration V6/fwd (Yes, I'm ignoring the occasional I4), the xc90 has several engines (in NA), fwd/awd layout, optional 3rd row and 4 different wheel sizes. There is a lot to assemble by V and how each affects towing will take some extra reading. minus: xc90 (which is a large vehicle) has much less interior volume than the Ody, changing a tire should be reviewed before you run into any splinters on the logging roads. Plus: there is a "W"inter mode on the shift tunnel that should assist you in low friction conditions (only), ground clearance much higher, angle of attack is high, real skid plate, rear tailgate split ("bench") is very nice in messy conditions. bonus: SS adds a very (!) active member to its ranks
      09 XC90 V8 R-Design 150k (son thinks it is his)
      07 XC90 3.2 Awd (hers) 100k - WRG3
      07 S80 - made in-law buy it. loves it. 200k
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    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by vince1 View Post
      We are talking XC90 here not V70 D5 which I have no doubt is a very reliable car.

      As for continuous towing with AWD I don't think the XC90 is up to it. That tiny pinion bearing in the differential wouldn't last long, and probably not the angle gear coupling either.
      Where/what/how are you making this stuff up? AWD does zero on these cars (or any Haldex based Euro-barge) until they're needed, thus there is no additional wear.

      -Ryan
      Current fleet:
      1987 Volvo 245
      1989 Volvo 245
      1991 Volvo 745 Dog Waggin' 2.0
      1995 Volvo 945 Turbo
      2011 Volvo XC90 3.2 AWD
      2013 Volvo XC60 3.2 AWD (Wife-mobile)

    13. #11
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      I am not sure I would use either for towing over 3,000lbs consistently. If I did use a 3.2, then I would want a 7-seater because it should come with the larger front brakes and with the 7-seater earlier 3.2s came with Nivomat self-leveling rears (someone double check tmy facts). I have put nearly 2,000lbs inside the XC90 and it drove well over an 11 hr road-trip which included hilly/mountains.

      If I was considering any of these two as used options, I would go with the Volvo. Working on both Honda's Odyssey & Pilot with the 3.5 engines, I would rather work on the Volvo. Hondas rust too easily, need fluid changes more often, and can be harder to work on. When doing engine mounts on the Honda, the front mount requires the radiator to be loosened and/or removed, while the rear can be a bear. On the rust, I have to always order new bolts and nuts doing almost any job with Hondas due to corrosion and rust. Also, aftermarket Honda parts are terrible so you almost always have to purchase genuine Honda parts. Then those Honda parts, some don't last long, like struts and shocks.

      For the other 95% of time when not towing, depending on your goals, I personally would take the Volvo. With over 150k miles, when replacing worn parts, my XC90 can feel like it has less than 50k miles. While with Hondas, it still feels old/worn after replacing parts.
      Last edited by ChitownV; 09-18-2020 at 11:45 AM.
      2008 XC90 3.2 AWD - 155k miles, Premium, Versatility 7 passenger, Climate, Convenience, retrofit Morimoto D2S HID bi-xenon, iPd swaybars & poly bushing inserts, Powerflex poly control arm bushings, Bilstein Touring Fr struts, Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus 255/55R18, Fr Infinity tweeters & speakers, hardwired cheap $17 Amazon Bluetooth to center console aux & pwr, CQuartz UK 3.0 ceramic coated, no oil consumption using Mobil 1 0W-40 even w/ my lead foot

      About the XC90 3.2 - The good, the bad, and the ugly
      Upgrade front end rebuild with OEM, aftermarket, and original parts
      Ultimate Transmission Fluid Guide for the 3.2 & V8
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    14. #12
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      In the Canadian back country the AWD could and probably will get a good work out. I'll concede though, fix it if it breaks and carry on. Ever thought of a Toyota Land Cruiser?
      Last edited by vince1; 09-18-2020 at 12:23 PM.
      07 XC90 3.2

    15. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by vince1 View Post
      In the Canadian back country the AWD could and probably will get a good work out. I'll concede though, fix it if it breaks and carry on. Ever thought of a Toyota Land Cruiser?
      Where we live are driving our perceptions!

      I agree that I wouldn't tow with Haldex-based AWD's when the AWD is likely to be getting used.

      -Ryan
      Current fleet:
      1987 Volvo 245
      1989 Volvo 245
      1991 Volvo 745 Dog Waggin' 2.0
      1995 Volvo 945 Turbo
      2011 Volvo XC90 3.2 AWD
      2013 Volvo XC60 3.2 AWD (Wife-mobile)

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