2004 Volvo XC90 Review, Pricing, and Specs.

2004, Volvo, XC90

At first glance the XC90 looks like a Volvo wagon that took steroids to bulk up. The exterior lines maintain the strong family resemblance with nice tight panel fitment and a serious but not aggressive demeanor; an attitude of a I'm big, but I'm calm and I'm not going to push you around, just don't push me around. The interior has nice big gauges, nice big buttons, but we needed to consult the Owner's Manual to find the fuel door, speaking of which we Also looked at the Manual to figure out how to change radio stations from the pre-sets ~ and gave up.

At first glance the XC90 looks like a Volvo wagon that took steroids to bulk up. The exterior lines maintain the strong family resemblance with nice tight panel fitment and a serious but not aggressive demeanor; an attitude of a I'm big, but I'm calm and I'm not going to push you around, just don't push me around. The interior has nice big gauges, nice big buttons, but we needed to consult the Owner's Manual to find the fuel door, speaking of which we Also looked at the Manual to figure out how to change radio stations from the pre-sets ~ and gave up.

Someone must have been thinking BMW iDrive when they made some the overly complex controls here. That said, the visual appeal and materials use are first class, with the tan leather sets taking first place in the SUV competition. The steering and brakes are well-weighted, communicative and tell you exactly what is going on. It is an SUV, meaning it's tall and there's bulk at the top that has to be accounted for, but again, very controllable. The five-cylinder turbo pulls strongly from a light with nice torque and no lag.

Someone must have been thinking BMW iDrive when they made some the overly complex controls here. That said, the visual appeal and materials use are first class, with the tan leather sets taking first place in the SUV competition. The steering and brakes are well-weighted, communicative and tell you exactly what is going on. It is an SUV, meaning it's tall and there's bulk at the top that has to be accounted for, but again, very controllable. The five-cylinder turbo pulls strongly from a light with nice torque and no lag.

But on the open road a full load going up a long hill takes all she's got. On the other hand we averaged 18.2 mpg for a combination of nasty holiday bumper to bumper commuting and high velocity escape the city Thanksgiving low flying. Back to back against the Honda Pilot, the Nissan Murano, the Infiniti FX35 and the Ford Explorer showed just how well-developed the XC90 is.

By comparison the Honda was the least stable of the lot on the highway, showing a disconcerting twitchiness in switching lanes. The Nissan Murano with it's power concentrated on the front wheels was nice, balanced but not as comfortable, and a bit over the top in terms of being different. The Infiniti has more grunt, rear-drive emphasis, drives a little more smoothly has a more subtle interior and slightly better seats. There is no way around the fact that the Ford is huge and performed well for it's bulk, but did not have the interior and finish that one would expect for the money. The Volvo was by far the most developed of the bunch and it showed. If Jaguar was going to build an SUV, this would be a great place to start.

The XC90 is roomy, comfortable, surprisingly fuel-efficient (nothing said we could not run it on regular and we did.) It has Volvo's reputation for safety, but not for reliability, as Consumer Reports gives it a nasty black dot for reliability. Bottom line ? Great SUV, but with such a bad reputation for service, we would surely hesitate.

By Jon Rosner
0000-00-00

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Images of the 2004, Volvo XC90

2004 Volvo XC90
2004 Volvo XC90