I posted this in another forum:
I recently (2-3 wks ago) moved from an 01 XC70 (lease) to a new XC90 (2.5 T). Other than a couple of annoying quirks (which were never resolved by the dealer), our 70 served us (wife, 2 kids - 6,9) well for 3 yrs, 40K miles. At the end of our lease, we weighed the +/- of each vehicle for our situation. My wife loved her 70, and was inclined to get another. We had an 04 XC70 loaner (while our car was in for service) so we were able to experience the upgraded transmission, engine, steering. Definite improvements over our 01.
While the 90 had more space/seating/towing capacity (all things that an active, growing family could use) than the 70, we had developed an "anti-SUV" mentality (inefficient, wallowing, and environmentally irresponsible vehicles). But before we signed up for a new 70, I "suggested" to her that we at least try the 90 before making a decision.
I contacted the owner of our dealership, and asked if we could try a 90 for the weekend before our lease was up. He didn't have a demo which was configured the way we wanted it, but his wife drove the exact car we wanted to evaluate. She graciously cleared out her (and her kid's) stuff, and I picked it up on a Friday night for the wekend. Pretty nice.
We used it all weekend. First thing I did was wash it. I find this the best way to get to know a vehicle's exterior qualities (relative scale, quality of materials, fit, finish, etc). Also wanted to get a good feel for its appearance when "buffed". Took the kids, dog, etc. to baseball, out for ice cream, put it in the garage, took it solo on my favorite local "twisties"/highway, parked it in the driveway and stared at it from all angles.
Time will tell on it's longevity, but so far, my feeling is that FOR US, the 90 obviates the 70. There is nothing the 70 does better (other than a small gas mileage differential) than the 90, and there are a few major areas where the 90 is superior.
1. The price difference is negligable (our 90 has Premium, Versatility, Climate pkgs, DSTC is standard, also has reverse warning system, towing).
2. I find the handling and ride comfort superior to the 70. The feel is more precise and pleasant on the backroads as well as the highway. The transmission is very smooth, and seems to be well "sorted".
3. The seating capacity is superior, and safer/more comfortable for "third-row" occupants. The additional air-conditioning system in the "way back" is great when people are sitting there, as well as when the seats are down and the dogs are back there. We have friends who were uncomfortable with their kids riding in the rear-facing seats of the 70, thus precluding some car-pooling opportunities. Riding "backwards" also induced car-sickness in one of our kids. I also have been toying with the concept that the increased passenger hauling is actually more environmentally responsible as it facilitates car-pooling kids to school, practices, etc. thus, in effect doubling the MPG by keeping another vehicle off the road. A slightly larger vehicle more environmentally-friendly? If used properly, maybe.
4. The increased towing capacity provides for a more useful/versatile vehicle in the event that we need/desire to pull a horse trailer (wife's), boat, camper, etc.
5. The higher "stance" of the vehicle may provide better protection in the event of collision (especially side-impact).
6. The "Go" factor for the 2.5T is fine for our around town, family-style driving. My wife does not share my "need for speed", and I have a motorcycle for that. In my mind, "real" speed/performance and family travels don't mix. The reported mileage of many other 2.5T owners is around 20 MPG (+/-) in combined city highway driving.
Again, FOR US in our circumstances/lifestyle, we felt it was a vehicle that we could "grow-into", rather than "out of", maintaining all of the intelligent, people/environmentally friendly qualities of Volvo Design/Engineering, without sacrificing anything of consequence.
Just one opinion...