These posh seats that everyone's fawning over are apparently part of our tester's R-design package, which is one of the few attempts Volvo's made at modernizing the XC90. Between the fancy seats, sporty wheels, and an auxiliary audio jack awkwardly placed right smack between the cupholders, there's little to differentiate this 2009 XC90 from an original 2002 model.
Perhaps this wouldn't feel so dated if Volvo didn't have newer all-wheel-drive crossovers in its lineup. Yet it does. And when the all-new XC60 (or even a XC70, for that matter) looks and drives so much better, you'll start wondering if the new model isn't worth the extra $200 over a base XC90.
Although you'll lose two seats and some interior space in the process, I'd argue that the XC60 is a much better vehicle. You'll still get the same all-wheel-drive grip, but in a package that's both chic and contemporary. Unless you absolutely need your next Volvo to be a seven-seater, I'd look at the other XC models.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer