Volvo XC90 3.2 review: Can the Swedes do it with a 3.2-liter six?

2007 Volvo XC90 3.2

2007 Volvo XC90 3.2 (click to enlarge)

Like the car chassis oh which it’s based, the Volvo XC90 is front-wheel unless, like our tester and the V-8-powered models, it has all-wheel drive. Volvo’s all-wheel drive operates in front-drive mode only until slip is detected. Power is then sent to the rear wheels as well. We were not able to test the off-roadability of our 2007 XC90 3.2, but we ran a 2003 XC90 through hub-deep mud and up a steep wet grassy slope with little difficulty, the standard all-season tires being the ultimate limitation.

The Volvo XC90’s 8.9 inches of ground clearance and steel front skid plate suggest more off-road capability than most owners would ever consider. The lack of a low range, that mark of a hard-core off-roader, won’t even be noticed by most.XC90 owners

And nor, we think, will the lack of the V-8. What’s 4400 pounds among friends when your 2007 Volvo XC90 3.2 has all the power it needs to take that ten grand to the bank.

Station wagon on stilts is a rather harsh condemnation, especially considering the 2007 Volvo XC90’s capabilities, but that’s how most owners will use it. More will (foolishly) drive through flooded streets than on muddy two-tracks, and snow is likely to be the XC90’s greatest challenge, and for that the XC90 comes equipped with Dynamic Stability Traction Control—merging stability and traction control—and ABS. Tire pressure monitoring is standard, as well as full-length side curtain airbags and seat-mounted side airbags for the front seats.

Our test 2007 Volvo XC90 listed for $36,135. With options including: metallic paint $475; active bi-xenon headlamps $800; electronically controlled all-wheel drive $1,850; Premium package (power glass sunroof, power passenger seat, leather seating, 6-CD in-dash CD changer) $2,995; Versatility package (third-row seat, self-leveling rear suspension, second-row booster cushion) $2,250; plus a destination charge of $695, the total MSRP was $45,200.

It’s how to do winter Swedish style, long dark winter nights optional.