2007 XC90 New Car Test Drive
The things that make a Volvo a Volvo just seem to work better in a vehicle designed for family-oriented, all-purpose transportation. The Volvo XC90 is strong on safety, comfort and functionality, and we consider it one of the most successful vehicles Volvo builds.
For 2007, Volvo's sport-utility has been freshened with a restyled grille, bumpers and lights, and improved with new hardware under the hood. The standard XC90 is powered by a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine that's smoother, more powerful and more sophisticated than the tried-and-true turbocharged five-cylinder it replaces, and it delivers comparable EPA mileage ratings.
In the growing-family scheme, the XC90 has it all. Its styling is appealing, without shouting family mobile. It seats up to seven passengers, with more cargo space than nearly all its competitors and features that allow quick, easy tailoring for cargo, gear or people. The XC90 is not the sportiest vehicle among luxury-class SUVs, but it handles well on city streets and highways. It rides very comfortably and it's easy to park. Either of the two XC90 models can tow just about anything the typical family is likely to pull along.
The standard 235-hp six-cylinder engine is up to all the demands of daily driving and delivers the best value, in our view. The upgrade 315-hp V8 adds a bit of excitement for those who put a premium on quick acceleration.
Volvo's fulltime all-wheel-drive system works smoothly in the daily grind without a huge penalty in fuel economy, and it's truly welcome when the weather gets foul or the road surface gets rough. Yet buyers who don't really need all-wheel-drive capability can choose an XC90 with front-wheel drive.
Volvo's reputation for safety engineering is deserved. Maybe more than anyone, Volvo devotes impressive resources and manpower to improve occupant protection. The XC90 offers the full array of active and passive safety features, including a Roll Stability Control system designed to keep the XC90 from rolling over, and a rollover protection system intended to shield occupants in the extremely unlikely event that a rollover actually occurs. Less obvious are features like a roof structure fashioned from high-strength steel, or a lower front crossmember engineered to inflict less damage on small vehicles if an accident occurs. It may be the safest SUV on the road; it's certainly one we'd feel reassured seeing our loved ones drive.
The XC90 also offers Volvo's optional BLIS system for the first time in 2007. BLIS uses cameras to search a large area on either side of the vehicle, and warns the driver if there might be a vehicle not visible in the XC90's mirrors.
The XC90 is not inexpensive, but comes well-equipped, with the standard engine and all-wheel drive, for well under $40,000. Luxury-class shoppers who put a premium on comfort, safety and value should find happiness here.
The 2007 Volvo XC90 is available with a six-cylinder or V8 engine. Both models feature a six-speed automatic transmission, and both are available with all-wheel drive.
The base XC90 3.2 ($36,135) is new for 2007, with a 3.2-liter normally aspirated inline-6 replacing the previous 2.5-liter turbocharged 5. The new engine generates 15 percent more horsepower (235) and torque (236 lb-ft), yet delivers the same EPA mileage ratings as its predecessor.
The XC90 3.2 comes with fabric upholstery, but standard features are otherwise premium grade, including an eight-way power driver's seat with memory, a 160-watt, eight-speaker stereo with CD and MP3 jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, trip computer, power windows, doors, locks and mirrors, and 17-inch alloy wheels. It comes standard with five-passenger seating. Electronically controlled fulltime all-wheel drive ($1,850) is optional on the XC90 3.2.
Option packages bring the XC90 3.2's features up to par with the V8 model, minus the V8 engine. The Premium Package ($2,995) includes leather seating, a power front passenger seat, the power moonroof and six-CD changer. The Versatility Package ($2,250) can be added to the premium package and includes the third-row seat, rear air conditioning, a built-in second-row child booster seat and self-leveling rear suspension.
The seven-passenger XC90 V8 ($45,840) is powered by a 4.4-liter V8 developed to Volvo specifications by Yamaha, the Japanese motorcycle builder and auto engine specialist. The V8 generates 311 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, with standard all-wheel drive. In addition to a two-place third seat with rear air conditioning, the V8 adds leather upholstery, an eight-way power front passenger seat, a six-CD changer, a power moonroof, auto-dimming interior mirror and speed-sensitive power steering.
Option groups for the XC90 V8 include a Touring Package ($1,300), with 18-inch wheels, premium sound with a 305-watt amplifier and 12 speakers and special Sapeli wood inlays on the dash, gearshift knob and steering wheel. The Sport Package ($2,875) adds chromed 19-inch wheels and heavily bolstered sport seats.
Packages available on all XC90s include a Climate group ($675), with heated seats, headlight washers and rain-sensing wipers, and a Convenience Package ($1,295) that adds rear park assist, power retractable side mirrors and a cargo security cover and net. Stand-alone options include a navigation system ($2,120), a rear-seat DVD system with two headrest-mounted seven-inch color screens ($1,995), 18-inch wheels in chrome ($1,400) or alloy ($750), Active Bi-Xenon headlights ($800) and metallic paint ($475).
Safety features make the XC90 is one of the best equipped sport-utilities on the market. Standard safety features include dual-stage front impact and side-impact airbags for front passengers, and curtain type head protection airbags for all outboard seats. The XC90 was one the first SUVs equipped with a rollover protection system, which senses an impending vehicle rollover, tightens the seatbelts and deploys the curtain airbags. The seats feature Volvo's Whiplash Protection System, which moves them back and downward if the vehicle is hit from behind, reducing neck snap.
Safety features intended to help drivers avoid collisions to begin with advanced four-channel antilock brakes, an electronic stability program to help manage skids, and Roll Stability Control, which uses a gyroscopic sensor to reduce the possibility of a rollover by applying brakes and modulating engine power.
The 2007 XC90 is offered for the first time with Volvo's blind-spot monitoring system, or BLIS ($595). BLIS uses cameras to monitor an area measuring 10 feet by 31 feet on either side of the car, which is often not covered by the side mirrors, and reports the presence of another vehicle in the blind spots with a prominent warning light in the appropriate mirror.