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STYLING | 8 out of 10
The dashboard and instrument panel dome employ slanted, angular themes, as does the three-spoke steering wheel with audio and cruise controls.
was penned as Volvo was transitioning to its current sleek design aesthetic, and it has stood the test of time remarkably well
The Volvo XC90 has seen no overarching changes to its design since 2003, when the model was first introduced (it now remains one of the oldest crossover designs), yet it manages to look reasonably fresh. That comes thanks to a number of minor refreshes over the years, and for 2013, the XC90 gets another mild makeover.
This year's tweaks actually make a pretty significant difference from a few paces back. On the outside, new body-color details like front and rear bumpers, sill moldings, and wheel-arch trim give the XC90 a smooth, more color-coordinated look compared to the previous dark plastic/rubber look. There's also a bright chrome bar for the front bumper—which somehow coordinates up above with the roof rack—as well as new silk-matte exterior mirrors plus standard LED daytime running lamps and taillights.
Volvo has also introduced some new trims and materials—new white instrument panel lighting, plus silver-aluminum (or red wood) inlays—to spice up the cabin for 2013, but the fact is that the XC90 looks at its most dated from the inside, where it now stands out as having a different (older-style) design compared to anything else in the Volvo lineup. There's no 'floating' center stack—a thin panel that houses audio and climate controls, with an open area and storage just behind—and the XC90 makes do with a two-tone look for the instrument panel and a rather wide center console.
The XC90 is still a good-looking vehicle, but a few new trims and touches do little to disguise that this is an aging design—especially inside.