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2011 Volvo XC90 Comfort & Quality

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The 2011 Volvo XC90 is capable of carrying seven over three rows of seating and is, in some respects, a good alternative to either more trucklike SUVs or anonymous minivans. Front seats are, as in much of the Volvo lineup, supportive, comfortable, and worthy of all-day drives. Entry and exit is quite easy, too, as the seating position is more carlike than in other utility vehicles.

Second-row seats are also good for adults; they can be adjusted to maximize cargo space or passenger room. Unfortunately, the third row, which is now standard on all models, is cramped and should be used as a last alternative; even for children it's tight, and anyone close to adult-sized will find their knees rather close to their face, if they can get in. With the third row folded, cargo space can be expanded to 85 cubic feet, and the cargo floor is flat.

Cabin materials feel impressive, and though in appearance they're quite stark there are plenty of pleasing soft-touch surfaces. Ride quality is another high point. Although V-8 models and those with the optional 18-inch alloys have a slightly harsher ride, overall ride quality is excellent, with less pitchiness and side-to-side motion than in many other crossovers.

Excellent seating for the front two rows, combined with good materials and a settled, quiet ride make the XC90 a standout.

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