By KBB.com Editors
With the increasing movement to smaller, more efficient vehicles, Volvo's XC90 strikes the perfect balance between car and SUV. Riding atop the previous-generation S80 chassis, the roomy and safe XC90 comes wrapped in a manageable size and equipped with a choice of a V6 or V8 engine. Although more expensive than similarly-sized vehicles from Nissan and Honda, Volvo's SUV is far more luxurious and is considered somewhat of a status symbol. Regardless of how you view the XC90, there is no arguing with the vehicle's rugged construction, all-weather capability, exemplary safety rating and strong resale value.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're not looking to carry half your kid's football team to practice and have a desire for an SUV that places safety and comfort front and center, the XC90 makes an excellent choice for the family transport.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're all about maximum interior space, the XC90's third-row seat is not well-suited for adults. Many families will find the V8's price tag a tough pill to swallow.What's Significant About This Car?
The new 3.2 model replaces the 2.5T and receives a 3.2-liter, in-line six-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. All models receive a minor freshening both inside and out, as well as a standard tire pressure monitoring system. New audio systems feature an auxiliary input jack and CD/MP3 capability.Driving It Driving Impressions
The XC90 achieves impressive on-road performance via a combination of unique safety and stability devices. A combination of a wide stance and Volvo's Roll Stability Control (RSC) system is the primary reason the XC90 can perform emergency maneuvers almost like a low-slung sedan.
Though blessed with over eight inches of ground clearance, you'll hardly feel it as you round corners and zip through twisting turns. All-wheel-drive models benefit from a Haldex viscous-coupling system that splits the engine's power between the front and rear axles. Under ordinary driving conditions, 95 percent of the power runs through the front wheels. Should they begin to slip, the Haldex system routes power to the rear wheels until traction at the front has been regained.
Sliding Center Child Seat
The sliding center child seat allows a front-seat passenger to easily reach a child restrained in a safety seat in the second-row.
The XC90's roof pillars help protect the passenger compartment in the event of a rollover.
A lot of gray plastic and leather resides inside the XC90, although a smattering of wood trim helps warm things up a bit. Tending towards understated, the interior is tastefully appointed and very user-friendly. There is seating for five and the option of a forward-facing third-row seat. The driver and passenger relax in a comfortable pair of bucket seats featuring built-in whiplash protection. The XC90 is loaded with crash protection features such as front side-impact airbags, a head-curtain airbag running the length of the passenger compartment and a roof design intended to better resist collapsing in the event of a rollover. You'll also find subtle touches, such as the rear-seat sliding center section that allows a child in a safety seat to be moved closer to the front-seat passenger.Exterior
The XC90 looks like a bigger, taller version of the popular XC70 wagon. All the familiar Volvo styling cues are present, including the raised-V hood bulge and the elongated taillights running the length of the D-pillars. For 2007, the side mirrors receive integrated turn signals that automatically flash when slight pressure is applied to the turn signal stalk. The tall ride height does not translate into a tall step-up height, though, making entry and exit similar to getting in and out of a car. Volvo takes particular pride in the XC90's roof design, which can provide an added measure of security in the event of a rollover accident.Notable Standard Equipment
The XC90 3.2 features a six-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), stability and traction control, a tire pressure monitor, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, front and rear fog lights, illuminated remote keyless entry, dual heated power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, Volvo's Rollover Protection System, eight-way power driver's seat, front skid plate, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with touch controls, trip computer, rear wiper/washer and 17-inch Neptune alloy wheels. The V8 trim adds all-wheel drive, rear air conditioning, automatic leveling, power glass moonroof, leather seats and 17-inch Anteaus alloy wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Options for the 3.2 trim include the Premium Package, which features an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power moonroof, six-disc CD changer, power passenger seat and leather-surfaced seat trim. The Versatility Package adds rear air conditioning, automatic leveling, rear audio control, an integrated child booster seat and a leather third-row seat. The V8 offers a Touring Package that features Pro Logic II surround sound, a wood steering wheel and wood trim. Stand-alone options for the XC90 include active bi-xenon headlamps, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), navigation, upgraded audio with subwoofer and rear controls, dual-screen rear entertainment system and 18-inch wheels.Under the Hood
The new 3.2-liter in-line six gives the base model a significant advantage over last year's turbocharged in-line five-cylinder engine. More horsepower and torque help the big Volvo cruise up to speed a bit quicker, but many SUV owners just can't live without a V8. For them, the 4.4 trim level's hefty helping of torque and impressive horsepower vastly improves the performance figures. On the flip side, both engines require Premium Unleaded gasoline and the V8 engine option can push the XC90's price tag well out of many shoppers' ranges.
3.2-liter in-line 6
235 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)
311 horsepower @ 5850 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20
The front-wheel-drive 3.2 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $36,830, with all-wheel drive adding another $1,850 to the price. The V8 starts at $47,120 and, when fully loaded, tops out around $60,000. Although a popular vehicle, there is still room for negotiation on the bottom line, so be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price which shows the typical transaction price buyers are paying in your area. The XC90 retains a better-than-average expected resale value, on par with the BMW X5, Volkswagen Touareg, Land Rover LR3 and Acura MDX, and besting the Cadillac SRX, Infiniti FX35 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.