For 2005, the Volvo XC90 receives some minor changes. Rain-sensing wipers, previously only available as optional equipment, become standard on all models. All wipers are now flat-blade. Water-repellent coating is standard on the side mirrors and optional on the side windows, and there are three new exterior colours.

The XC90 is available in two engine choices, both turbocharged: there’s a 2.5-litre inline five-cylinder mated to a five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, and a 2.9-litre six-cylinder that hooks to a four-speed Geartronic automatic. A third engine choice, a Yamaha-sourced V8, will be available in model year 2006.

The 2.5T comes with seating for five (it can be optioned with a third-row seat) and includes four-wheel disc brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels with Continental tires, cloth and “leatherette” upholstery, heated front seats, power driver’s seat with memory, fold-flat passenger seat, 40/20/40 split rear seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, CD player with eight speakers, electronic dual-zone climate control, power windows, heated mirrors with puddle lights, rear wiper/washer, rain sensor and cruise control.

The T6 comes with seven-passenger seating and adds 17-inch alloy wheels with Michelin tires, speed-sensitive steering, power sunroof, leather upholstery, power passenger seat, integrated second-row child booster seat, walnut wood inlays, six-CD player with eight speakers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and Homelink garage door opener.

The XC90 boasts a beautiful interior, numerous safety features and plenty of cargo space, although the third row on seven-passenger models is cramped for adults and best left to the small fry. The 2.5-litre inline-five is also found in the XC70, where it does a better job of pulling around that smaller vehicle; the six-cylinder is a better choice for the XC90, and the upcoming eight-cylinder will be a welcome improvement also. The XC90’s competition tends to fall price-wise right between the 2.5T and the T6: the BMW X5 3.0i is $58,800, the Acura MDX is $50,800 and the Mercedes-Benz ML350 starts at $51,800.

The XC90 is built in Göteborg, Sweden.

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