The Volvo XC90 packs a lot of space into a good-looking, manageably sized vehicle. It's better than most competitors for hauling children around, with superior cargo and seating flexibility, and it's loaded with Volvo's trademark safety technology. It's available with the mechanical simplicity of front-wheel drive if a buyer doesn't need all-wheel-drive capability. The superior handling of the mid-range R-Design model is fun, but the base XC90 3.2 six-cylinder is better than adequate for nearly all purposes, and it represents a better value.
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Sam Moses reported from the Columbia River Gorge, with Larry Edsall in Gothenburg, Sweden, Mitch McCullough in Los Angeles, and J.P. Vettraino in Detroit.