Since the 2004 and 2005 Volvo XC90 are virtually identical, I'm re-publishing my last review. After driving it a second time around, I have a few new observations to add, and those are included below.
My first impression of the Volvo XC90 is that it's not your typical SUV. It appears very sophisticated and expensive. I'm a little weary about throwing kids in the back seat knowing that it will soon be littered with cracker crumbs.
My fist task is to install my kid's car seats. The Latch connectors are located on the two outer seats of the second row making car seat installation a cinch. I'm thrilled that I can easily fit a third car seat in the middle if I need to. My test vehicle arrived with the optional pop-up booster seat. This seat slides forward for easy access for your child. My daughter thinks this is "cool" and is extremely distraught that she does not yet meet the 33-pound minimum weight requirement. This particular version of the XC90 is a seven-seater, with room for two more small people in the third row.
Next I load up the cargo space. I am hugely impressed by the versatility of the Volvo XC90's cargo area. With the third row seats up I still have plenty of room for an umbrella stroller and all essential baby gear. The level of the cargo area is at the prefect height for changing diapers when out on the run with no proper changing table in sight.
I'm finally ready to jump in. The driver's seat adjusts in eight ways and easily accommodates my towering 5-foot-2 stature (and has memory to store my seating configuration). The steering wheel not only tilts up and down but telescopes in and out as well. I'm disappointed, though, that the foot pedals do not adjust. That is the only thing that would make the Volvo XC90 more comfortable to drive.
The storage compartments inside are plentiful. The center console has room for two coffee cups (or sippy cups), eight CDs and a pack of gum. Dual net compartments on the back of the front seats make storing coloring books effortless. I love the additional dry cleaning hooks located in the cargo area. I can use these without the dry cleaning bags hanging over my children, risking imminent suffocation.
When pulling out of the garage, the optional reverse warning system (an additional $400) comes in handy. If I get within five feet of an object, the car starts to beep and warns me when I come within one foot of the object. This is particularly useful for avoiding Fido on my way out.
There is one last fabulous family friendly feature available on the Volvo XC90 that I want to rave to you about. The rear headphone outlets (standard if you have a third-row seat) are heaven-sent for parents. You can have up to four children in back listening to Barney and the best part is you don't have to hear a single note of it! A car full of silent children is priceless for an overworked parent.
Overall, the Volvo XC90 makes a lovely mom's car! It has the flexibility to grow with you and your family from birth to college. And it will do it all in high style and comfort.
New Observations for 2005: Driving the XC90 for the second time, I notice how great the seatbelt buckle receptors are. They protrude securely from the seat making it very easy for myself and my 4-year-old to use.
On the flip-side, the XC90 is situated higher off the ground than other "crossovers". My kids have a hard time climbing in and out and require assistance most of the time.
The third row is great to have in a pinch. However, if you plan on folding it up and down frequently you may want to look elsewhere. Folding the rear seat in the XC90 is a two-step process. First, you have to slide the seat cushion back, and then fold the seat back.
*For additional information on the Volvo XC90 and its safety features visit Cars.com.