2010 Volvo XC90 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 9, 2010

The 2010 Volvo XC90 has aged gracefully and now is more feature-packed than ever; however, its poor fuel economy tarnishes an otherwise superb vehicle.

At TheCarConnection.com, the editors have test driven the 2010 Volvo XC90 to bring you their expert opinion here in the Bottom Line. TheCarConnection.com has also researched available road tests on the latest Volvo XC90 to bring you the most useful information.

The Volvo XC90 was first unveiled back in 2003 when vehicles combining SUV capabilities with carlike dynamics were just starting to gain popularity. Catering to U.S. tastes with an optional V-8 engine and packing the latest in Volvo safety gear, the XC90 quickly became popular with safety-conscious families who wanted a little bit of power.

The 2010 Volvo XC90 is styled essentially the same as when it was launched, but its lines are aging well, inside and out. The interior is dressed in conservative-looking but expensive-feeling trim and switchgear, and it's well laid out. The only quibble is the limited space in the third row, which relegates this section to smaller children only.

One of the major trump cards of the XC90 is its towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, which is impressive for an SUV with such refined handling and carlike dynamics.  The steering is responsive, and the ride is well controlled. Power in the 2010 Volvo XC90 comes from a 235-horsepower, 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine or a 311-horsepower 4.4-liter V-8. This latter is shared with the S80 sedan and is quiet and well refined, though a little uninspiring for rev heads. Both engines come mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. The V-8 has a fuel economy of 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, while the six-cylinder musters just 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.

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Capable of carrying up to seven, the 2010 Volvo XC90 is the ideal alternative to trucklike SUVs and boring minivans. Its second-row seats can be adjusted to maximize cargo space or passenger room, and along with the front row, it's spacious and comfortable. Unfortunately, the third row, which has been made standard for 2010, is cramped and should be used as a last alternative.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the XC90 is a Top Safety Pick, and it has a five-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It includes front, side, and side curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist; stability and traction control; roll-stability control; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a rollover protection system as standard.

Another change for the 2010 Volvo XC90 lineup is that the R-Design trim is no longer available with the V-8, which means only six-cylinder XC90 buyers can pick this option. R-Design XC90s are distinguished by a host of exterior and interior styling cues, including 19-inch Vulcanis diamond-cut alloy wheels, an R-Design grille, leather seating surfaces with embossed R-Design logos, a sports steering wheel, watch dial instruments, and custom floor mats. Other features available on the 2010 Volvo XC90 include rear park assist as standard, and the recently launched Convenience Package. This features Volvo's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), power retractable rearview mirrors, Interior Air Quality System (IAQS), and the enhanced Volvo Navigation System II with remote control and Real Time Traffic.

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