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Competitors outdo the 2007 Volvo XC90 when it comes to luxury and performance, but you won't find a safer, more kid-friendly premium midsize SUV.
Safe as a bank vault, plush ride, feels smaller than it is, high-quality interior materials, ample cargo room.
Hefty curb weight drags down fuel mileage, third-row seating compromises second-row space.
Available XC90 Models
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Volvo drops the 2.5T model in favor of the XC90 3.2, which offers considerably more power, thanks to a 235-horsepower, 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine. A Sport trim for the XC90 V8 debuts as well. Exterior styling is slightly revised and all 2007 Volvo XC90s have body-color side moldings and door handles. Inside, there's additional metallic trim, and V8 models get upgraded instrumentation. New standard features include a tire-pressure monitoring system, an MP3 player input jack and a satellite radio-compatible head unit. New options include Volvo's new Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and adaptive bi-xenon headlights.
For parents who consider safety the top priority when shopping for an SUV, there are few better choices than the 2007 Volvo XC90. This midsize luxury SUV pioneered rollover avoidance technology when it came to market for the 2003 model year. It was also one of the first to provide side curtain airbag coverage for all three rows of seating, and its heavy-duty third-row seat is carefully positioned over the rear axle to ensure the largest possible crumple zone in the event of a rear-end crash. Crash test scores on the XC90 are strong, plus it's the only luxury SUV the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tested to earn a "Good" rating for its head restraints' ability to prevent whiplash in rear impacts. In addition to its safety credentials, Volvo's SUV offers agreeable driving dynamics, high-quality cabin materials and the ability to seat up to seven -- all of which make it an attractive choice for buyers seeking upscale family transportation.
Volvo hasn't made many changes to the XC90 over the years, but 2007 brings a modest refresh for the company's SUV. All models now have body-color side moldings and door handles, which provide a polished look more befitting an expensive luxury sport-ute. More importantly, a new XC90 3.2 model with a 235-horsepower, naturally aspirated inline six-cylinder engine replaces the sluggish 2.5T model, providing a more viable alternative for buyers who don't want to pay the premium for the XC90 V8. Techies will want to take a look at the new safety options: The BLIS uses cameras mounted in the side mirrors to monitor traffic on either side of the XC90. When another car pulls into the SUV's blind spot, indicator lights alert the driver. Not quite as revolutionary, but still useful, are the adaptive bi-xenon headlights, which can swivel up to 15 degrees left or right to illuminate your path around turns.
As luxury SUVs go, the Volvo XC90 feels more utilitarian than most, even with the requisite leather and wood in its cabin. It's more luxurious than a workaday Ford Explorer, but alongside competitors like the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Lexus RX 350/400h and Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the Volvo is noticeably less elegant. For those willing to give up some of the glitz, the XC90 compensates with kid-friendliness and the aforementioned arsenal of safety features. Children and teenagers can sit comfortably in both the second and third rows, and for families with toddlers, there's an integrated second-row booster seat that slides forward to allow for closer contact with parents. If these qualities fit with your idea of the perfect premium-brand sport-utility vehicle, the 2007 Volvo XC90 merits serious consideration.
A midsize luxury SUV, the 2007 Volvo XC90 comes in three trims: 3.2, V8 and V8 Sport. The XC90 3.2 seats five and comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, wood interior trim, an eight-way power driver seat with memory, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker stereo with a CD player and MP3 player input jack, and a PremAir-coated radiator to minimize ozone emissions. The V8-powered XC90 adds a third-row seat for seven-passenger capacity and comes with a self-leveling rear suspension, leather upholstery, aluminum interior trim, a power front-passenger seat, an integrated child booster seat in the second row, a separate rear air-conditioner, upgraded instrumentation and a sunroof. The V8 Sport adds unique exterior trim, a firmly tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, quicker steering, heavily bolstered front seats and a sporty steering wheel.
Save for the aluminum trim, all of the standard V8's features can be added to the 3.2 model by selecting the Premium and Versatility packages. XC90 V8 buyers can opt for the Touring Package, which provides a wood steering wheel, leather-wrapped gearshift knob and 18-inch wheels with or without a chrome finish. Individual options include an upgraded Dolby Pro Logic II sound system, a navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens.
Engines correspond to the model name. The 3.2 model comes with a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine rated for 235 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. The XC90 V8 model gets a 4.4-liter V8 good for 311 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. XC90 3.2 models come standard with front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive (AWD) available as an option, while AWD is standard on the V8. An XC90 V8 takes 7.6 seconds to hit 60 mph. Towing capacity for both models is approximately 5,000 pounds. Fuel economy ratings are average for this class of vehicle, ranging from 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway for a front-drive 3.2 to 15/20 for the XC90 V8.
Standard safety features include a full menu of side airbags to protect the heads and torsos of outboard occupants in all three rows, seatbelt pre-tensioners in all seating positions and anti-whiplash front seats. Integrated into the standard stability control system is Roll Stability Control, which uses a gyro sensor to calculate the SUV's roll speed and angle; if it's determined that a rollover is imminent, the stability control system is activated. In the event the vehicle does roll over, an inflatable curtain covers all three rows. Other standard safety items include a tire-pressure monitoring system and Volvo's On-Call telematics.
Options include bi-xenon headlights that swivel up to 15 degrees left or right to help you see around turns, and the BLIS, which uses mirror-mounted cameras to monitor vehicles entering the XC90's blind spots and warns the driver via indicator lights. Additionally, the Convenience Package bundles rear parking sensors and power-activated child-safety locks for the rear doors.
In NHTSA frontal-impact crash tests, the 2007 Volvo XC90 earned a full five stars for protection of the driver and four stars for the front passenger. In side-impact tests, it earned a perfect five stars across the board. The Volvo was named a "Best Pick" in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing.
Although interior accommodations aren't as sumptuous as those of some competitors, the XC90's cabin is attractive, comfortable and ergonomically correct. Total cupholder count is 12. In models equipped with a third-row seat, the center position in the second row has an integrated child booster cushion that slides forward, allowing for close contact between parents and tykes. Legroom in the third row is better than in many competitors, although the second row is a little cramped as a result. Cargo capacity tops out at a generous 93 cubic feet; all rear seats fold flat, as does the front passenger seat. Although a pollen filter is included on all XC90s, selecting the Convenience Package will net you the Interior Air Quality System (IAQS), which uses a more sophisticated carbon filter to clean up the air coming into the cabin.
Buyers can expect adequate acceleration from the 3.2 model, while the Volvo XC90 V8 will appeal to those seeking brisk response at the expense of some fuel economy. Except for the V8 Sport version, the XC90 rides on the same underpinnings as most of Volvo's sedans. Appropriately, ride quality is soft and comfortable and though it lacks the silky quality of the Lexus RX 350 and the sport-sedan demeanor of a BMW X5, this Volvo offers an appealing blend of comfort and handling that will satisfy most drivers. Those whose preferences run more towards athletic handling should consider the aptly-named V8 Sport. This jock of the lineup turns into corners crisply and remains flat and composed even in quick transitions, like those encountered on a twisty back road.
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