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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.
Volvo's distinctive, boxy shape has been toned down with a few curves over the last decade, though it still retains the Volvo style.
From wagon to SUV, the Volvo look doesn't change much. The XC90 looks like its wagon sibling, all pumped up.
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.
An auxiliary audio input is standard in the XC90, mounted between the cup holders on the center console.
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.
Our XC90 came optioned with adaptive bi-xenon headlights, which turn a few degrees when the wheel turns, helping light up corners.
Volvo goes a little crazy with taillights, running them from the roof down to midway on the lift gate on both sides.
Cargo area is ample in the XC90, accessible through the clamshell lift gate. Third-row seats are also folded flat in the floor.
With its leather seating, the interior of the XC90 feels luxurious but not overwrought.
Access to the third-row seats is made easier because the middle row can slide forward.
The black plastic controls on the center stack are not quite as nice-looking as the silver controls on the Volvo C70.
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.
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.
We like the rotary selection scheme for audio sources.
This stereo handles MP3 CDs, although it isn't easy to navigate them. The random function allows for some fine-tuning.
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.
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.
The instrument cluster reflects the refined interior style with its simple but elegant design.
The transversely mounted 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine moves this car very well, considering its relatively small displacement.