As soon as I brought my kids home from school my six year old son wanted to take a better look at the Volvo XC90 V8 in the driveway. His first words were "nice truck!" Yes, it is big and has room for seven, and it is a Volvo.
That last part is clear from the design cues, it is a Volvo; well maybe a Volvo on steroids? The XC90 V8 sits high above the traffic. It is handsome with straight simple and conservative lines. The last couple of sedans that I drove left me fearing that I would bang my head on the roofline when I entered. Not so with the Volvo, the XC 90 may be tall, but entry requires no climbing or sports car entry acrobatics. It has plenty of windows and the cavernous interior suitable for your favorite football players, except for the last two seats which are jump seats that are really only suitable for those under ten years of age. Speaking of which the seats are seriously comfortable, offering great upper back, lower back and thigh support. You sink into these leather seats; they absorb you like a nice couch. The air conditioner worked flawlessly even in hot weather. Bonus points for the B-Pillar mounted air conditioning vents that blew cool air at the rear seat occupants keeping them happy.
We made it onto the highway for only a few short hops. The V8 ran like a trooper and never ran out of steam which many SUVs are prone to do when operating at California highway cruising speeds. This is a tall SUV, but making lane changes on the highway was a more stable business than that of most large American or Japanese SUVs. You could feel the weight shift as we did the left-right-left on one of my favorite back-roads, but again, the Volvo felt quite stable and showed no signs of bad behavior at reasonable speeds. The ride was also quite compliant without being sloppy, quite good 4,500 pounds of SUV. Scooting through traffic and holding your own while navigating through town was simple.
The Volvo offers safety, comfort, above average handling and a nice ride ~ but there was a surprise bonus. The XC90 had a turbo five and returned just about 17 mpg with mostly highway use. The V8 XC90 yielded about 17.5 mpg in mostly city use, in traffic, with temperatures hovering around the mid-90s. I showed the XC90 to one of the other parents we see every day when bringing our kids to school and daycare. Peter's wifew anted a BMW X5. When we talked about what he wanted I suggested he look at the XC90s. He drove one, loved it, and his wife is pleased with the purchase of the XC90. Few SUVs can match Volvo for ride, comfort, safety and handling, and with the gas mileage of the XC90 series Volvo has a real winner on their hands.