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2013 Volvo XC90 Overview

The 2013 Volvo XC90 follows in step with recent iterations of the popular crossover that has now been around for a decade: It has much going for it and draws accolades for its comfortable ride and outstanding safety marks, while at the same time attracting negatives in some corners for what detractors feel is an aging look on a vehicle past its prime and struggling to keep pace with its rivals.

The XC90, Volvo declares, gets a multi-faceted facelift for 2013. In fact, the makeover is largely cosmetic and features a couple of new color choices. Word is, a true overhaul is due soon, likely in time for the 2015 model year.

In the meantime, the 2013 Volvo XC90 will continue to do its best to compete in a crowded and talented field of like-minded luxury midsize SUVs that are designed more for carting as many as 7 people (though a few of them better be children) around in high comfort and safety as opposed to getting off the highway and being adventurous.

Standard LED running lights and taillamps freshen up this XC90 and are among the changes for 2013. Others are new body-colored moldings, including side skirts and front and rear bumpers. Automatic wipers and headlight washers are now standard for all trims, and Twilight Bronze Metallic and Flamenco Red are the color additions. Volvo dressed up interior trim pieces as well.

A 240-horsepower, 3.2-liter inline 6 with 236 lb-ft of torque returns to power the 2013 Volvo XC90, and it teams with a 6-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). In the view of some experts, the powerplant lacks the oomph to adequately get the XC90 around. EPA estimated fuel mileage checks in at 16 mpg city/23 highway.

The 2013 Volvo XC90 takes at least its share of hits from experts who feel it is dated, not a whole lot of fun to drive and continuing to lag behind others in its class. Others point out that it still does the job for a family looking for a smooth and comfortable ride in a car with an impressive record for safety.

Some Volvo backers concede the XC90 lacks the flash and elegance of some of its competitors, but counter that it comes packed with plenty of features and has much to offer.

Even the base 3.2 trim gets treated well and comes equipped with a sunroof, leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with a third-row control panel, remote keyless entry, power front seats, a rear parking assist system and a sound system with 8 speakers and USB and auxiliary audio input ports.

The 3.2 R-Design rides on a sport suspension and adds upgraded leather seating, sport front seats, 19- or 20-inch wheels, and skid and scuff plates. A Premier package for either the 3.2 or 3.2 R-Design offers a universal garage door opener and auto-dimming rear-view mirror with an integrated compass. A Platinum group delivers a Dolby Surround Sound setup, navigation system and rear-view parking camera.

The 2013 Volvo XC90 holds up the manufacturer’s fine reputation for safety by again compiling impressive marks in crash tests. Stability control, whiplash protection and an inflatable curtain airbag that has been extended to protect passengers in the third row are among recent safety additions to go with a full array of airbags.

Volvo plans to bring out a round of 4-cylinder engines next year that will match or better the numbers produced by the inline 6. The XC90 stands in line to get one of the new offerings that also will include turbochargers, direct injection and even hybrid and plug-in hybrid options in some versions. In addition, the next XC90 is expected to be a few hundred pounds lighter than the current edition.

Updated by A. Lessels

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