Can You Flat Tow a Volvo XC90?

The Volvo XC90 is a mid-size SUV that comes with all the luxury you expect of the Volvo brand. If you're looking to tow the XC90, whether for service or an RV road trip, you need to know the best way to do so. We've investigated this issue, and we've got the scoop for you.

You should not flat tow the Volvo XC90. Doing so can damage the drivetrain and transmission of your vehicle. The best option for towing the XC90 is to use a flatbed trailer.

We'll look more at issues for towing different trim levels and configurations of the XC90. You'll get advice on the different towing options, the weight of the vehicle and trailer, as well as speeds for both flatbed and dolly towing. We'll also look at how the Volvo XC90 performs as a towing vehicle itself. Read on to learn all about it!

A Volvo XC90 cars on display of dealership company, Can You Flat Tow a Volvo XC90?

How much does Volvo XC90 weigh?

To tow your Volvo XC90 or any other vehicle safely, it is essential to know its weight. Manufacturers provide two weights for vehicles, an unloaded vehicle weight (also known as curb weight) and the gross vehicle weight.

The curb weight is the vehicle's weight with fuel and necessary fluids, but no other cargo, including people. For the 2022 Volvo XC90, the curb weight ranges between 4500 and 5140 lbs.

The gross vehicle weight is the maximum allowed weight of the vehicle, with passengers and other cargo included. This ranges from 6005 to 6060 lbs for the XC90. Weights for other model years are available in the owner's manual and on Volvo's website.

When towing your vehicle, it is best to use the gross vehicle weight. While the actual weight of your vehicle will likely be under this figure, using it is safer, and most state and federal towing regulations use the gross vehicle weight instead of the actual weight of the vehicle.

Volvo XC90 by Volvo Cars parked outside

Can I tow Volvo XC90 with a tow dolly?

While Volvo recommends flatbed towing for all of its vehicles, it is also possible to tow a front-wheel-drive XC90 with a tow dolly. This is because a tow dolly elevates the front wheels off the pavement, so only the rear wheels spin. Because the rear wheel is not connected to the drivetrain of the vehicle.

This applies to one configuration of the 2022 Volvo XC90, the T5 FWD Momentum. The T6 and T8 powertrains do not come in front-wheel drive.

The T5 powertrain is also available in all-wheel drive, so only knowing you have the T5 powertrain does not guarantee that you can dolly tow your vehicle. Be sure to verify that your XC90 uses front-wheel drive before dolly towing it.

When dolly towing, Volvo recommends driving no faster than 50 mph. According to the owner's manual, you should not drive more than 50 miles when dolly towing.

Does the Volvo XC90 have an all-wheel-drive?

Volvo XC90 T6 2020 test drive day

Most of the 2022 Volvo XC90s are all-wheel-drive. We've seen that the T5 powertrain is available in both front- and all-wheel drive. The T6 powertrain only comes in Volvo's standard all-wheel drive, and the T8 powertrain only comes in their eAWD.

Volvo's eAWD, short for electronically controlled all-wheel drive, responds faster and provides more traction on difficult surfaces than their standard all-wheel-drive system.

Both of these all-wheel-drive systems can be neither flat, nor dolly towed. This is because the wheels are all connected to the drivetrain. Because of that, the wheels cannot roll independently. Flat towing or dolly towing can lead to severe and expensive damage to your vehicle.

How can you tow an all-wheel-drive Volvo XC90?

For an all-wheel-drive XC90 or any other all-wheel-drive vehicle, the only option for towing them is with all four wheels off the road. The most common method to do this is to use a flatbed trailer.

Not all flatbed trailers are alike. To tow an SUV like the XC90, you'll need to make sure your trailer has a load capacity that can handle it, at least 6060 lbs for the heaviest XC90 options. You'll also need to be able to accommodate the XC90's 189.3" length, so look for trailers with at least 16' of deck length.

A tilt trailer is useful for towing a car because it makes loading and unloading much easier. Several great tilt trailers on the market can handle this weight and length. PJ Trailers makes some excellent choices, such as their T6 tilt trailer, which comes in bumper-tow and gooseneck configurations. With lengths starting at 16' and load capacities from 10,940, it can handle the XC90 well.

The video below briefly demonstrates loading a vehicle in a similar tilt trailer.


Can You tow the Volvo XC90 with a half-ton pickup?

To tow the Volvo XC90, you need a vehicle that can tow its weight and the trailer. The PJ T5 tilt trailer mentioned above weighs 3,420 lbs, which is typical of trailers for this towing. Adding the weight of your Volvo itself, that can come up to 9,480 lbs.

A common concept in towing circles is the 80% rule. In brief, this means that your load shouldn't exceed 80% of your maximum towing capacity. For a Volvo XC90 loaded on the example trailer, that means you'll want a vehicle with nearly 12,000 lbs towing capacity.

Many, though not all, half-ton trucks fit the bill when properly equipped. These include many trucks by major manufacturers, like Ford, Chevy, and Ram. You can learn more about towing with these trucks in our article, "Can You Pull a 5th Wheel with a Half-Ton Truck?"

Can you tow the Volvo XC90 with a Class A motorhome?

There are fewer options if you want to pull your XC90 behind a motorhome. Unlike half-ton pickups, most Class A motorhomes fall at or below 10,000 lbs towing capacity. However, a few on the market can handle this weight, and then some.

For example, the Berkshire XLT 45A by Forest River has an impressive 15,000 lb towing capacity. This is plenty to get you on the road with some weight to spare.

The American Eagle by American Coaches features an even more jaw-dropping 20,000 lb towing capacity. That's as much as many 3/4-ton trucks can haul!

What speed can you flat tow Volvo XC90?

Volvo XC90 parked in town centre

Although you can't flat tow the Volvo XC90, we've seen some other options for towing it. When dolly towing a front-wheel-drive XC90, you shouldn't drive any faster than 50 mph.

If you are towing using a flatbed trailer, driving no faster than 55 mph is safest. Driving faster dramatically increases the risk of safety issues, such as trailer sway. Of course, you should also drive no more quickly than the posted speed limit.

It is also essential to brake early and smoothly when towing a vehicle. Braking too suddenly or forcefully can be dangerous for you and other drivers on the road.

How much can the Volvo XC90 tow?

Volvo XC90 test drive

If you're looking to flip the script and use your XC90 as a tow vehicle, your best bet is to set it up with trailer brakes. The XC90's towing capacity without trailer brakes is only 1,950 lbs. With trailer brakes, that number jumps up to 4,000 for the T5 FWD and 5,000 for their all-wheel-drive options.

While it can't tow as much as most full-size trucks, you might be surprised by how many options there are with this towing capacity. If you're looking to enjoy the outdoors, more and more lightweight campers are being manufactured, even toy haulers. You can learn more about the best in our article, "6 Small and Lightweight Toy Hauler RVs under 5,000 lbs." 

Final Thoughts

The Volvo XC90 has enough luxury to be perfect for city driving and enough SUV to call for adventure. Just because it can't be flat towed doesn't mean you need to leave it behind or get another driver for it. With the right flatbed and tow vehicle, you'll be ready to take your XC90 anywhere from across town to across the country.

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