It is very fortunate automotive writers get a full week to test new vehicles. It has taken me quite a few days to get used to the lurching tendencies of the Volvo XC90 V8. From a dead stop there is a bit of a shudder during acceleration. During the first two days of the test this was extremely annoying and had turned me off on this otherwise very elegant looking SUV.

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Now I?m starting to come around to how you have to massage the gas pedal to get what you want. Mashing it to the floor just doesn?t work, and I tried. Much like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and its Hemi engine, the Volvo XC90?s V8 is best at highway speeds.

The machine drives with authority. And because of the solid structure and pleasing suspension set-up, the XC90 is very commuter friendly. And now I?m starting to see how Volvo could almost justify all the hype around the V8 powerplant. I didn?t think the Hemi was necessary in the Jeep, but Volvo definitely doesn?t suffer from adding the power to compensate for its weight and size. The Volvo?s V8 makes a much more logical choice for that reason, but you?re still not going to feel like you?re driving a muscle car. The V8 option is probably just a necessary weapon in Volvo?s arsenal as more competitors come to the market.

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