Volvo's largest crossover has seen few changes in the past several years and looks due for a major update. The quick and smooth 4.4-liter V-8 that was an option for the 2011 XC90 is gone, leaving only a 3.2-liter straight six paired with a six-speed automatic. Either front- or all-wheel drive can be specified. Although not as spacious as some large SUVs, the XC90 comes standard with seating for seven--including a second-row booster seat--and plenty of space for cargo. The 3.2 R-Design gets a sport-tuned suspension, speed-sensitive steering, and twenty-inch aluminum wheels, but there's no sign of the 3.0-liter turbo six found in the R-Design S60 and XC60. Although the XC90 is a relative bargain when compared with most of its competition, it suffers from outdated technology and poor fuel economy. The six-cylinder is rated at 16 mpg around town and 23 mpg on the highway--not really much worse than some of its competitors--but it doesn't offer a diesel or hybrid option for buyers who put a high priority on fuel efficiency. Volvo has piled on the safety features, including blind-spot monitoring and roll stability control, but due to the XC90's age, it misses out on Volvo's newest safety innovations, including City Safety. A new XC90 can't come soon enough.
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