Why mess with success? The XC90 crossover is one of Volvo's most popular vehicles, so when it came time to update the XC90 for 2012, Volvo mostly stuck with what works. The 2012 XC90 still offers an enticing blend of elegant styling, upscale amenities and good performance. But the new model also offers a more refined interior and mildly tweaked exterior to up the appeal.

Volvo made evolutionary changes to the exterior of the XC90, designed to help the already curvaceous crossover stand out in the valet line. New daytime running lights add character to the front. Out back, new taillights feature bright LED bulbs and a silver turn indicator (it glows orange when blinking). Where the lower portion of the car previously featured contrasting black molding, everything on the 2012 model is matched to the paint color. The bumper bars and roof rails are now highlighted in silver, which is complemented by 18-inch wheels with a silver matte finish.

Inside there's a new three-spoke steering wheel and standard aluminum trim throughout the cabin. The revised instruments were inspired by watch dials, and are bathed in cool white light after dark. Those with a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone can now use it to stream music to the stereo.

Two new special edition models up the ante even more. The XC90 Executive version includes features designed to coddle the occupants in luxury, such as soft leather seats with heating, cooling and massaging functions.

For drivers who want a little extra performance, a new XC90 R-Design offers more driver feedback through a sport-tuned chassis and 19-inch wheels. The R-Design's sporty nature is reinforced with unique upholstery, door panels and trim.

Volvo is also launching a mobile application for iPhone and Android users that lets owners keep track of their vehicle. The free Volvo On Call app includes a car locator feature, which uses GPS coordinates to help owners find their car, which could come in handy in a crowded mall or airport parking lot. Drivers in colder climates will appreciate the app's remote heater start, allowing them to get into a vehicle that's all warmed up and ready to go. The app also lets owners check how much gas the XC90 has left, how far it can go before needing to refuel, and the engine fluid levels.

The 2012 Volvo XC90 is now on sale at dealerships nationwide, with a starting price of $38,400.

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Cliff Turner has been an automotive enthusiast ever since high school, where he developed a passion for cars while working for the local Saturn/Hummer dealership. When he isn't writing, he is busy earning his Juris Doctorate at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.

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