Need Quick Advice- Air suspension vs standard suspension?

#1
Looking to buy a 2018 XC90. We take long driving trips and are looking for max comfort (trading in a cushy Cadillac). What are your thoughts on the air suspension vs standard?

How much difference does the air suspension make when hitting bumps, riding a long time, etc.

Also, we understand the air suspension allows us to lower the car when in Park. As we have my elderly father with us often, it would make it easier for him to get in and out if we could lower it. But does the air suspension raise the height of the car such that lowering it just takes it to the same level of the standard suspension car?

Thanks for any advice on this. We are looking to make a decision quickly and understand there is a price difference between the two suspension options. Thank you!
 
#2
I have a 2017 Inscription XC90 without the Air Suspension. I too was going back and forth deciding. The dealer had one on the lot but was unable to test drive it because they had to take parts off of it for a customer that was had there XC90 in for repairs on their Air Suspension unit. I talked with service twice about concerns on the Air Suspension. I was told that if there is a breakdown of the system the vehicle can NOT be driven. He told me that yes it is a nicer ride but with everything else in time the Air Suspension system would need service. My understanding with lowering the vehicle for easier entrance and exiting the XC90 only lowers 1 1/2 inches. Both of my parents are in their 80's and are able to get into the front and back seats without much of a problem. $1800 is a lot to spend extra but I was told that people who have the Air Suspension system loves the ride. Im more than pleased with the ride without the Air but again I was unable to test drive one. Maybe I too would have ordered one with. Either way the Xc90 is an amazing vehicle.
 
#3
If I were to order again I would add the air suspension. The std suspension is great but I would liked a plusher ride and I believe the road noise is also less.

I've previously has BMWs with a high volume of air suspension issues, so I wouldn't be doing this lightly.

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#4
I bought it, but it was one of the things I knew I wanted. We have adult children that visit, and when a full load of adults are in the car, the air suspension shines. I use the auto lowering at shut off. It is nice to climb back in at a lower height. The ride is pretty darn good in standard. It gets firm in dynamic, which has its place too.

$1800 is not much in the grand scheme of things.

Rob
 

satrya

New member
#5
I plan to own mine for 10+ years. I wasn't sure about the long term durability of the air bellows in general (i.e. not Volvo specific). Mechanical springs, which the air bellows functionally replace, is quite a lot simpler and will less likely result in long term issues. If the air dryer fails and wasn't noticed in time, moisture could build up and cause further damage on the air bag or strut. The air line could leak over time, as well as fittings wearing out. Rubber-type materials turn brittle over time; while this is generally not an issue with tires, as their tread will likely wear out first, this may not be the case for air suspensions.

That is not to say that the air suspension choice is a bad one.

I chose conventional springs.
 
#6
I bought it, but it was one of the things I knew I wanted. We have adult children that visit, and when a full load of adults are in the car, the air suspension shines. I use the auto lowering at shut off. It is nice to climb back in at a lower height. The ride is pretty darn good in standard. It gets firm in dynamic, which has its place too.

$1800 is not much in the grand scheme of things.

Rob
Would you mind sharing how much the car lowers when doing the auto lowering, especially the front seats? Also, the sales guy said that basically only the back end lowers (more for loading and towing) so the front seats never get much lower, if any. They currently don't have the color we want with the air suspension option so I don't know if he is blowing smoke to get me to buy the in-stock model with standard suspension right now rather than wait for one with air suspension. We are out of town right now and back mid-week so will try for a test drive then (including air suspension in a different color) but just wanted to get some advice before. Thanks!
 
#7
The whole car settles out, not just the rear end. I'm not sure how the sales guy can claim that unless he really isn't educated about his product or he is trying to pull a fast one as you suspect.

With the access height engaged, or the car in its lowest position, the rear will still lower a bit more if you use the buttons in the cargo area to further aid in loading.

There is a YouTube video showing the air suspension cycling through the different heights . (the one wit the Darth Vader potato head) It shows the front lowering. I've never gotten a tape measure out to check real world numbers. I don't really care that much, but you can sure tell when you have the suspension in different heights and climb in or out of the car.

Rob
 
#8
You need to remember while watching the video on Youtube is that the air suspension raises the XC90 higher then the XC90 without the air system. Like I said earlier the XC90 lowers 1 1/2" compared to a Volvo XC90 without Air system.
 
#9
We specifically changed our purchase to get the $1800 air springs after we negotiated on a XC90 without air springs. We just paid the difference for the air springs on the car we purchased.
I have owned American cars in the past with rear Air springs only. Never had a problem in 100k miles and love the ride with them on the car.
I would definitely advise for it. These cars costs $50k and up. What's another 1,800 dollars? You only live once.
Plus, the costs of the bellows, air pump, etc. will cost at replacement but one still has to maintain, replace standard suspension pieces over time as well.
 
#10
Drive both, then buy the one with air suspension.
 
#11
You will not regret Air Suspension.
Last week I left my car with dealer to do the seatbelt recall and Polestar upgrade (yes!), I got a T5 XC90 loaner for 2 days and I could not believe how harsh the ride is, I started literally getting uncomfortable and believe me I am not picky. Even with T5 you have to pay about 50k and this is not how car in this price range should behave.

BTW, I noticed they changed to start/stop knob, looks like now you only can turn the knob right for both start and stop, mine goes right for start and left to stop :)
 

satrya

New member
#12
BTW, I noticed they changed to start/stop knob, looks like now you only can turn the knob right for both start and stop, mine goes right for start and left to stop :)
I didn't know that they used to have left for the "ignition off". (I got mine in October last year, but there was still a mix of MY2017 and MY2018 units on the lot)
 
#13
I didn't know that they used to have left for the "ignition off". (I got mine in October last year, but there was still a mix of MY2017 and MY2018 units on the lot)




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#15
Personally, I don't care for the single direction ignition switch. Sooo happy with my 17!
 

satrya

New member
#16
Personally, I don't care for the single direction ignition switch. Sooo happy with my 17!
I checked the MY2017 user guide; it seems that the key returns to the 12 o'clock position after either starting (at either ignition positions I or II) or stopping the engine. I think had the key stays on the "start" or "stop" position like a traditional key would, I would really prefer the MY2017 configuration over the MY2018's. Although yes, start and stop by both turning the key in the same direction can be a bit confusing.
 


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