The XC90 midsize luxury crossover has seating for up to seven people in three rows and offers a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. The V-8 model is no longer offered. Competitors include the Acura MDX and Volkswagen Touareg.
New for 2012
In a sign of the times, the 4.4-liter V-8 engine is no longer offered, so all models come with a 3.2-liter six-cylinder. The number of offerings has expanded with the addition of Premier Plus and Platinum trims. For the regular 3.2 version, the Premier Plus includes a compass integrated into the rearview mirror, a garage door opener and adaptive xenon headlights. The Platinum adds a premium stereo, navigation system with a backup camera and a blind spot monitoring system.
The XC90 carries Volvo's familiar face — not the previous boxy angles, but the smoother, more modern look that's been present since the early 2000s. The door handles and side mirrors are body-colored, and the mirrors incorporate turn-signal lights. The roof rails are silver-colored. The R-Design trim changes the look of the grille. Exterior features include:
- Available 18- or 20-inch alloy wheels
- Standard front fog lights
- Standard power-operated heated mirrors
- Standard power moonroof
- Optional headlight washers
- Available bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights with swiveling lenses
- Optional rain-sensing windshield wipers
The dashboard and instrument panel dome employ slanted, angular themes, as does the three-spoke steering wheel with stereo and cruise controls. Various console knobs have chrome coverings, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror is standard.
A standard third-row seat allows for a maximum seating capacity of seven, but it's a tight squeeze in back. (Volvo recommends the third row for occupants 5 feet 3 inches or shorter.) A built-in booster seat in the second row adjusts forward up to 12 inches to keep children closer to adults in the front row. The rear seats fold down, as does the front passenger seat. Interior features include:
- Standard leather seats
- Available aluminum trim
- Standard automatic dual-zone climate control
- Optional heated front seats
- Optional dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system
- Available navigation system with real-time traffic
Under the Hood
The 2012 XC90 has one engine and transmission offering but is available with front- or all-wheel drive. The R-Design model gets a sport-tuned suspension with thicker front and rear stabilizer bars and firmer springs and struts. Mechanical features include:
- 240-hp, 3.2-liter six-cylinder with 236 pounds-feet of torque
- Six-speed automatic with clutchless-manual mode
The XC90 comes loaded with safety features. One notable feature is standard Roll Stability Control, which attempts to stop a rollover once it has started by cutting torque and applying individual brakes. There's also a lower front cross member that makes for safer SUV-to-car impacts. Other safety features include:
- Standard front-seat side-impact and side curtain airbags
- Standard antilock brakes with brake assist
- Standard electronic stability system and traction control
- Available blind spot warning system
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