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2007 Volvo XC90 3.2 V6 SUV

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San Francisco:  If you think your job is boring, consider what it must be like working for the Swedish military. It wouldnít have been so dull back in the 80ís because Sweden had an unspoken enemy, that big red bear to the east.

They could practice shooting down MiGs, blowing up Red Army transporters, defending themselves from Kalashnikov bullets and covering from nuclear blasts. What fun!

But ever since the USSR imploded, what do the Swedes have to worry about? Polar bears attacking from the north? A Lego legion invading from Denmark? The Swiss Army advancing with their flappy-foldy knives?

Please. Joining the Swedish army has to be more boring than watching paint dry on Al Goreís forehead while he blathers about melting ice caps.

Their most exciting military drills probably involve napping and heating green tea over campfires. At least the Swedish generals can find comfort in knowing that, should they ever actually need an armored tank, they can simply call their local Volvo dealer and order up an XC90.

This beefed-up station wagon is built for Afghanistan, circa 1981. Itís a big, heavy, lumbering beast thatís seemingly made of pig iron, and reinforced with granite. People like to say a Mercedes-Benz feels solid as a bank vault, but this Volvo makes the Benz feel like a limp piece of spaghetti. The XC90 is the Incredible Hulk, and every other vehicle on the road is your sweet Grandma Ruthie.

In fact, in every way other than size, this Volvo is the Swedish equivalent of the Hummer H1. Itís certainly not the biggest SUV on the road. Slide it between a Chevy Suburban and a Nissan Armada, and you wonít be able to find it in the parking lot. But what it lacks in sheer size it makes up with sheer brawn. It has a four-wheel drive system that could conquer the Sierra Nevadaís.

It feels so solid, so thick, and so purposeful that youíd think the Swedes are preparing to mount guns on their XC90s and take over Poland. They wonít, though. This wagon is so supple on the inside that it would turn their hardest, battle-trained, special-forces troops into softies before they reach the border. Time to attack, soldiers! Wait a sec ... did you guys feel how soft this leather is? Why donít we just turn on the satellite radio and - yawn -take a nap, eh?

Inside, the XC90ís is a classy place to spend long trips. Despite Swedenís reputation for quirky controls, the buttons and knobs in this Volvo are refreshingly simple to learn and easy to operate. Plus there are air vents peppered throughout the cabin, so even the back-seat passengers can stay toasty warm in those polar winters. And there are three rows of seats that can hold up to seven passengers, or roughly half the Swedish army.

Of course, you canít mention Volvo without mentioning safety. This particular Volvo comes with so many acronyms that youíve got to suspect itís intended for the military - things like BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), RSC (Roll Stability Control), DSTC (Dynamic

Stability and Traction Control), SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) and plenty more.

And yes, it has air bags mounted in places you donít even want to know about. If you want this kind of tough luxury for your family, it will cost you $36,000 for a V6 and almost $46,500 for the V8. That may seem a bit steep for a station wagon, but when you think about how solid it is, how safe it is, and how it could help you defend yourself from the terrifying Finnish army and their sharpest ski poles, thatís not a bad price to pay at all.

What was tested? The 2007 Volvo XC90 3.2 V6 with a base price of $36,135. Options: Premium package ($2,995), versatility package ($2,250), convenience package ($1,295), Instant Traction AWD ($1,850), metallic paint ($475). Price as tested including a $695 destination charge: $45,695.

Why avoid it? No matter how it feels, itís still a station wagon at heart.

Why buy it? Volvoís big XC90 wagon is as tough as it is sophisticated. Itís a heavy, rock-solid vehicle with a rugged all-wheel-drive system that feels like it could drive anywhere, on or off road.  By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

Volvo Home Page

Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  Heavy & solid, the XC90 feels like itís designed for battle
Topic:  The 2007 Volvo XC90 3.2 V6 SUV
Word Count:  791
Photo Caption:  The 2007 Volvo XC90 3.2 V6 SUV
Photo Credits:  Volvo Internet Media
Series #:  2007-15

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