For 2007, the Volvo CX90 undergoes an engine transplant: the 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbocharged version of 2006 is gone, replaced with a new 3.2-litre, naturally-aspirated inline six-cylinder engine. The new six joins the line-up alongside the V8 introduced for 2006.
Other exterior changes include a new grille with more chrome; redesigned taillamps; body-colour side trim mouldings and door handles; body-colour mirrors with built-in turn signals; and on the XC90 V8, standard brushed aluminum roof rails and new “Camulus” 18-inch aluminum wheels. A new lane change feature, with three flashes, is added to the turn signal switch. Inside, the centre console has been upgraded, with new display and aluminum-effect trim, and all stereos receive an auxiliary jack. New exterior colours are Electric Silver Metallic and Shadow Blue.
New options include a rearview mirror with integrated compass; the optional Premium Sound system includes an Alpine ICE Power amplifier and Dynaudio speakers; the Luxury Package includes Active Bi-Xenon headlamps that follow the curve of the road; and models can be equipped with BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), which registers vehicles in the blind spot.
The XC90 comes with the 3.2-litre I6 or 4.4-litre V8, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, and electronically-controlled all-wheel drive that is 95 per cent front-wheel bias, but is capable of transferring up to 95 per cent of torque to any one wheel when needed. Both models are available in five- or seven-passenger seating configuration.
Features on the five-passenger I6 include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors with puddle lights, headlight washers, cloth/leatherette upholstery, heated seats, power driver’s seat with memory, fold-flat passenger front seat, 40/20/40 folding rear seat, leather-wrapped wheel, cargo net, cruise control, dual-zone electronic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, rear wiper/washer, and CD player.
The seven-passenger I6 adds a power sunroof, leather upholstery and rear headset controls.
The five-passenger V8 adds speed-sensitive steering, bi-Xenon headlamps, colour-coordinated wheel arches, polished exhaust tips, privacy glass, aluminum roof rails, power passenger seat, black-faced gauges, leather-wrapped shifter knob, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, garage door opener and six-CD stereo.
The seven-passenger V8 adds an integrated second-row centre-position child booster seat.
The XC90 has a lovely interior and numerous safety features; the seating position is good, and controls fall easily to hand. The third row on the seven-passenger models is cramped for adults, but the seats fold flat, thanks to a clever system where the seat cushions are pushed back into the backrest, rather than flipped forward, to produce a flat cargo floor. There’s a lot of space for items in the rear, but small-item storage can be harder to find up front, especially when the centre console is taken up with CD cases.
The V8 is creamy-smooth, powerful and quiet; but although it’s more powerful than the five-cylinder it replaces, the V6 is still no match for the V8, and there’s a very noticeable response lag when it’s asked for a burst of power to blend into traffic at highway speeds.
The new BLIS system uses cameras integrated into the door mirrors, and detects when another vehicle has entered the driver’s blind spots, by illuminating a light in the relevant mirror to alert the driver.