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2006 Vovlo XC90

by Martha Hindes

Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90 Interior

If there's any doubt that Volvo is powering up, a glance at the XC90 crossover's grille or tailgate should provide an answer. Both sport a clearly visible "V8" badge to authenticate that Volvo now offers a transverse-mounted eight cylinder powerplant in addition to the wealth of safety features it's long been noted for. That was Volvo's big news a few months ago. Now, with the 2006 model year in full swing, it's time for refinements.

All-wheel-drive with Volvo's trademarked "Instant Traction" that's standard with V-8 power, becomes an option for the 2.5T, five-cylinder turbo model in addition to its front-drive base version. Tire pressure monitors become standard on V-8 models for 2006. Two new hues -- Lunar Gold and Willow Green -- join the color palette. And the cargo security cover moves from Premium to the new Convenience package on the turbo version.

The XC90's sculptured body remains immediately identifiable as Volvo, with its signature hood fold lines angling forward from the windshield-bordering "A" pillars, and taillamps that echo the rear fender line. Optional 18-inch "Atlantis" alloy wheels confirm its sporty road command. Now, with 311 horses from V-8 power (new SAE rating) and a $45,840 base pricetag, the seven-seater XC90 moves into a performance arena with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. To make room for it, Volvo ditched the turbo-boosted six cylinder as of 2006. The continuing 208-HP turbo five model ($35,640) seats five as standard, or seven as an option.

Stable ride and security are long-time Volvo claims to fame. The XC90 for '06 is no exception. Among noticeable safety and security feature adds are power rear door child locks, cargo security cover and Volvo Guard Alarm with siren, battery back-up and engine immobilizer. Behind the scenes, there's roll stability control, dynamic stability and traction control, a side impact protection system, side airbags and inflatable air curtains for all three rows. Comfort-wise, the V-8 model sports separate, third-row climate and rear seat audio controls.