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Photos: 2007 Volvo XC90

Volvo's SUV is a practical car with lots of surprises. Its base stereo system sounds extremely good and allows fine-tuning, while its smallish engine delivers strong acceleration. It's nothing fancy, but it works well.

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CNET Reviews staff
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Volvo's SUV comes with two engine choices: a six-cylinder or a V-8. Our test car came with the six-cylinder engine and optional all-wheel-drive. All-wheel-drive is standard with the V-8.
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Volvo's distinctive, boxy shape has been toned down with a few curves over the last decade, though it still retains the Volvo style.
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From wagon to SUV, the Volvo look doesn't change much. The XC90 looks like its wagon sibling, all pumped up.
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The dashboard in the XC90 is well designed, but not flashy. Our test car came equipped with an in-dash six-disc changer, but no navigation.
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An auxiliary audio input is standard in the XC90, mounted between the cup holders on the center console.
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Two five-band equalizers--one for the front and one for the rear--are one of the surprises on this stereo. Few other cars allow this degree of audio fine-tuning.
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Our XC90 came optioned with adaptive bi-xenon headlights, which turn a few degrees when the wheel turns, helping light up corners.
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Volvo goes a little crazy with taillights, running them from the roof down to midway on the lift gate on both sides.
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Cargo area is ample in the XC90, accessible through the clamshell lift gate. Third-row seats are also folded flat in the floor.
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With its leather seating, the interior of the XC90 feels luxurious but not overwrought.
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Access to the third-row seats is made easier because the middle row can slide forward.
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The black plastic controls on the center stack are not quite as nice-looking as the silver controls on the Volvo C70.
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The center fill speaker occupies the center of the dash. If navigation were present, the screen would pop up from the middle of the speaker.
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The in-dash, six-disc changer works very well and sounds excellent. The controls are relatively simple, but the keypad is a little unnecessary, as it controls only radio presets.
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We like the rotary selection scheme for audio sources.
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This stereo handles MP3 CDs, although it isn't easy to navigate them. The random function allows for some fine-tuning.
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We found the steering a little light on the XC90; not surprising, as this car is meant to be maneuvered around parking lots instead of pushed through fast corners.
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The six-speed automatic transmission works well in this car. It also has a Winter mode, which changes the transmission logic to deal with snowy weather.
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The instrument cluster reflects the refined interior style with its simple but elegant design.
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The transversely mounted 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine moves this car very well, considering its relatively small displacement.

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