After doing a LOT of research we had narrowed down our SUV search to a BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. [Note the Kia Sorento is also a great option is you are looking for a more affordable SUV] In the end we liked that the Volvo was great looking but less "flashy" and also the fact that it was a fair bit less expensive than the BMW. We were also drawn to the fact that Volvo's make extremely safe vehicles - an important consideration when using an SUV to cart around kids! We drove the V6 (I would guess 90%+ of the XC90's out there are a V6) and the V8. I would HIGHLY recommend the move to the V8 given that its acceleration is much better while only getting 1mpg less in fuel economy. After driving the V8 the decision was a no-brainer. Neither model has very good fuel economy - so if you're upgrading from a small car to the XC90 you will feel some pain at the pump. That being said, you have to expect that given the sheer mass of the vehicle and weight of the various safety enhancements. We have only had the car for a few months - so it's too soon to comment on reliability and repair costs, although the front break pads were fairly worn at the time of purchase and need replacement. Overall I think the XC90 is a great purchase, and would highly recommend anyone looking for an SUV (notably a 7 seater) to try out the XC90. Note that the V8 has been discontinued though, so to get one you will have to buy used [i.e. Carmax!]
Our XC90 is excellent. Researched several other XC90 owners/vehicles and noted their issues for awareness. We have experienced no problems thus far. Our XC90 had one previous owner and had all maintenance, and detailing, done at their local Volvo dealership. I would recommend this vehicle to any of my friends, especially one with a similar background.
It feels heavy and strong, and safety rating is good. The handling is not that responsive compare to other cars I have, but it runs more stable on highways at higher speeds. Large cargo space make it our preferred car for longer distance family trips.