Our Take
What's Hot
Handsome design, inside and out
Interior package flexibility
Good fuel economy

What's Not
Steering vagueness
Just-average power (five-cylinder)
Large turning circle
Don't Miss
Slide-forward middle section in second-row seat
Bottom Line
Wagonlike versatility meets luxo-car thoughtfulness
What's New, Changed, Different
Though the basics of Volvo's one and only SUV have remained the same since its 2003 introduction, the big news for 2005 is the availability of a V-8. Designed and built by Yamaha, the all-aluminum 4.4-liter sparkles with 311 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque while achieving ultraclean ULEV II emissions status. It's backed by a six-speed Aisin-Warner automatic transmission and reinforced Haldex all-wheel drive. The normally aspirated V-8 joins the existing five- and six-cylinder turbocharged engines in the lineup. All 2005 XC90s now include tire-pressure monitoring, rain-sensing wipers, a Homelink universal garage-door opener, rearview-mirror memory, and a front-passenger weight sensor (for the airbag) as standard equipment. Front seats are of a new design. The optional Premium package adds a cargo security cover and power childproof locks in 2005. Also, 2005 six-cylinder models get a standard leather shift knob.