The Volvo XC90 is so masterfully designed, you could make the argument that it's a classic in its own time. This distinctive, full-size SUV from Volvo has been continually tweaked and fussed over to stay fresh. For 2013, the XC90 has been significantly updated, with a more monochromatic look, painted bumpers and exterior trim that bring an aura of modern sophistication to the XC90.
There are two XC90 models to choose from – XC90 3.2 and 3.2 R-Design – with your choice of front-wheel or available all-wheel drive. The XC90 3.2 (MSRP $39,500) comes in 3.2, 3.2 Premier Plus and 3.2 Platinum trims. The 3.2 is equipped with standard leather upholstery and is powered by a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. Its 240 hp and 236 lb/ft of torque is efficiently used, returning up to 23 mpg highway. Standard features include Rear Park Assist, a high-performance audio system with HD Radio™ and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth® hands-free phone with audio streaming, and space for seven passengers. Fast-acting all-wheel drive is optional across all XC90 trims.
The XC90 Premier Plus trim (MSRP $42,000) steps it up with standard Active dual-Xenon headlights, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, Sovereign Hide soft leather upholstery, handsome red wood inlays and gearshift knob, and integrated HomeLink remote for garage doors, electric gates, etc. The XC90 3.2 Platinum (MSRP $44,700) rolls in the Volvo Navigation System with real-time traffic, premium sound system, and Rear Park Assist camera.
The sporty XC90 3.2 R-Design (MSRP $42,300) stands out with an enhanced exterior appearance that includes silver roof rails and mirror housings, color-coordinated fender flares, a front bumper bar and side and rear skid plates, plus R-Design front grille and exhaust tips. R-Design models ride on 19 x eight-inch Ixion alloy wheels, which hint at the sport-tuned chassis and clearly show off the 17-inch front brake discs.
Several packages and options are available to further enhance the XC90. The Climate Package adds heated front seats and the Interior Air Quality System, and the available Blind-Spot Information System (BLIS), one of the first of its type, provides an indication to drivers if there is a vehicle in the blind spot that may not be otherwise seen. A dual-screen rear entertainment system is also available to keep passengers entertained during long slogs.
Volvo's long history of safety innovation is brought to bear within the XC90. The active safety arsenal includes Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, and anti-lock brakes with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA). Passenger safety is at the core of the XC90, with a passenger compartment reinforced with high-strength boron steel, Volvo's trademark Side Impact Protection System (SIPS), Inflatable Curtain airbags, dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags for driver and passenger, seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters, and an energy-absorbing interior. All seats in the XC90 have head restraints to help prevent whiplash, and even pedestrians are looked after. The Pedestrian Protection designed into the front end of the XC90 features gentle lines and a low engine position to minimize danger to pedestrians or other road users should an event occur. The front cross-member of the XC90 has been designed for greater compatibility with automobiles in the event of an SUV to car impact, so that crash energy goes into the crumple zones of both the XC90 and the other vehicle involved.
The XC90 is one of those few vehicles that pampers its passengers, satisfies its drivers, and even looks after pedestrians and other motorists with its safety design. With a skills list like that, it's no wonder the XC90 is a legend in its own time.