The first time we test-drove a Volvo XC90, in 2008, we were unimpressed despite having owned three Volvos spanning more than 20 years. The XC90 was fairly big and felt bigger. Our old Volvo 740 wagon, with a turbocharged engine and stick shift, was almost as versatile — lacking only off-road capability — and a lot more fun to drive.
Volvo has persevered with the XC90 since 2003. The overall shape, size and look haven’t changed much, but it’s a vastly improved luxury SUV in terms of technology, drivability and comfort. It also costs a lot more money, but that’s only to be expected; the market demands more than it did 12 years ago.