NEW FOR 2009:

– lower price
– New R-Design option package
– Standard Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), retractable side-view mirrors with puddle lights, and garage door opener on all models
– 18-inch wheels standard on V8 models
– Optional navigation system receives software updates
– Dual screen rear seat entertainment system enhanced
– Sport models discontinued

For 2009, the Volvo XC90 drops in price, but adds several new standard features, including a Blind Spot Information System, new mirrors and a Homelink garage door opener.

The Sport models of 2008 have been discontinued, but the new available R-Design option package adds sport-tuned suspension and steering, sport chassis, sunroof, unique skid plate, exhaust tips, R-Design grille, mirror caps, sport instrument dials and steering wheel, R-Design logo leather seats, unique floor mats, and 19-inch alloy wheels on 3.2 models and 20-inch alloy wheels on V8 models.

The optional navigation system with Real Time Traffic, Remote Control and Map Care has been enhanced with better scrolling, search and menu features, and in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and in Vancouver in late 2008, will be better able to avoid traffic by customizing the drive route around known obstructions that have been digitally transmitted to the system’s receiver. The optional dual screen rear entertainment system receives a larger screen, better visibility and folding wireless headphones.

The XC90 is available as the 3.2, with 3.2-litre inline six-cylinder engine, and as the V8, with 4.4-litre V8 engine. Both use a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, and both feature an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system with Instant Traction. Both models can also be ordered with five- or seven-passenger seating.

Features on the five-passenger 3.2 include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Blind Spot Information System, front and rear fog lights, headlight washers, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lights, roof rails, roof spoiler, fold-flat front passenger seat, 40/20/40 split-folding second-row seat, cloth and "leatherette" heated seats, power driver’s seat with memory, cargo net, cruise control, garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers, outside temperature gauge, auto up/down on all windows, rear washer/wiper, tilt and telescopic wheel with audio controls, trip computer, and CD stereo.

The seven-passenger 3.2 adds leather upholstery, power sunroof, rear headset outlets, forward-facing third-row seats, and integrated second-row child booster seats.

The five-passenger V8 builds on the 3.2 and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, speed-sensitive steering, aluminum roof rails, dual Xenon headlamps, colour-coordinated wheel arches, polished exhaust tips, power sunroof, privacy glass, interior aluminum inlays, power passenger seat, sport gauges, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, and six-CD stereo.

The seven-passenger V8 adds forward-facing third-row rear seats, integrated second-row child booster seats, and rear headset outlets.

Option packages include Luxury, Convenience and DynAudio, available for all models; depending on the package, they add such items as wood steering wheel, dual Xenon Active Bending Headlights, park assist, mass movement and level sensors, and Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound stereo.

Beautifully finished inside and packed with safety features, the XC90 has a good seating position and controls that are easy to use. The third row on the seven-passenger models is cramped for adults, but children should be fine with it, and the seats fold flat thanks to a clever system that tucks the seat cushions under the backrests to form a flat floor. The integrated child booster seats look and feel like regular seat cushions, but can be lifted up to one of two heights to allow children to look out the window while still remaining in a safe position for the seatbelt. The six-cylinder can have a noticeable response lag when asked for a burst of power at highway speeds; the V8 is costlier, but is creamy-smooth, powerful, quiet, and more satisfying to drive.

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