- Good crash ratings
- Comfortable front and second-row seats
- Ample V-8 power
- Standard all-wheel drive
- V-6 is a little puny
- Third-row seat is for kids only
- Feels heavy
The 2008 Volvo XC90 caters well to safety-minded families who need an all-wheel-drive SUV, though third-row room is strictly limited.
The 2008 Volvo XC90 is a sport-utility vehicle done the Swedish way: there's the concession to American tastes in its optional V-8 engine, but otherwise it's a clean design with an emphasis on all-weather driving, instead of brute strength and style.
The 2008 Volvo XC90's basic shape is aging well, inside and out. Available since 2005, the XC90 still looks fresh and well proportioned. Inside, the interior is laid out handsomely and dressed in conservative-looking but expensive-feeling trim.
A 235-horsepower, 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine mated to a standard six-speed automatic is the base drivetrain on the 2008 Volvo XC90. A 4.4-liter V-8, shared with the new S80 sedan, makes 311 horsepower and is teamed with the same six-speed automatic. Unusually, the V-8 is very quiet--too much so, even when it's floored. Given its 13/19 mpg fuel economy, it should be heard. (The six-cylinder version musters 14/20 mpg.) All-wheel drive is standard, and the XC90 tows up to 5,000 pounds--and maintains a relatively spry, carlike feel. Steering is fast enough and the ride is well controlled. The XC90 has spawned a number of new cars, from the Ford Taurus to the new Volvo S80, underscoring its carlike ambitions.
The 2008 Volvo XC90 can seat up to seven passengers via an optional hideaway third-row seat, making it a viable alternative to truck-based SUVs and seven-passenger minivans. The XC90's second-row seat can also be adjusted fore and aft to maximize either cargo space or passenger room. While the front and second-row passengers have good room and comfortable chairs, the third-row seat should be viewed as a last-ditch solution.
Front side and side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, stability and traction control, roll-stability control, and a rollover protection system are standard on all Volvo XC90s, as is a tire pressure monitoring system. The XC90 scores five-star crash ratings from the NHTSA and is a Top Safety Pick, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Optional features on the 2008 Volvo XC90 include wood trim, 18- and 19-inch wheels, soft leather seating, and a DVD entertainment system for the second row.