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Volvo XC90 Test Drive Review

Date: 05 March 2015   |   Author: John Mahoney

Category: Large 4x4
P11D price: £49,950
Key rival: BMW X5
On sale: June 2015
Equipment: 7 airbags, leather seats, cruise control, Bluetooth, 20in alloys, DAB radio, rear parking sensors, auto wipers, satnav
Engines: 320hp 2.0 petrol, 225hp 2.0 diesel, 400hp 2.5 plug-in hybrid
Trims: Momentum, Inscription, R Design
Transmission: 8-spd automatic

A series of unfortunate events led to the Volvo XC90 living on well past its sell-by date - and we're not talking about just a couple of years.

Where most vehicles live for just seven or eight years, Volvo's poor old big SUV soldiered on for 13. Somehow, buyers didn't seem to notice and kept on buying it for its comfort, seven seats, fine safety and sturdy looks, but fleets did and the XC90 hasn't been efficient enough to be relevant for years.

The all-new XC90 replacement is set to change that.

Getting off to the best possible start, it's the first car to be based on Volvo's all-new state-of-the-art platform that will underpin all future Volvos.

Three engines will be offered from launch: a 320hp 2.0-litre turbo and supercharged petrol (badged T6), a 225hp 2.0-litre diesel (badged D5) and a 59g/km 400hp plug-in petrol hybrid (called T8). All come with an eight-speed auto gearbox, and there's the choice of three trims.

Typical of the Swedish car maker, safety has been a main priority.  As well as autonomous braking both in and out of the city, there's new safety kit for the XC90, such as Pilot Assist, which steers you back into the lane when it detects wandering. New Run-off Road protection, meanwhile, pre-arms and braces the car for the impact when it detects you leaving the road.

Instead of chasing BMW or Land Rover for dynamics, Volvo focused on making its XC90 more comfort-orientated. On the motorway, this approach pays off with road, tyre and wind noise all well suppressed.
There's more good news when it comes to the care and attention lavished on the interior.

Clean, uncluttered and typically Scandinavian, the XC90's interior now has the quality to compete, while the new infotainment system, with its nine-inch screen, is a masterstroke of intuitiveness.

Families will love the XC90's packaging. It's a proper seven-seater that allows taller kids and even real adults (up to 5ft 7in) to sit comfortably for short distances in the third row.

Behind the wheel, the big Volvo is good, if not great, to drive. It's steering is accurate, making it easy to place. There's also plenty of grip and not too much body roll in bends.

Volvo UK hopes the T8 will become a cult hit with fleets with its ultra-low emissions of 59g/km of CO2 (9% BIK tax bracket) and the fact companies can write off 100% off its value against tax, but the more predictable diesel will still dominate the 30% of sales to business.

It's not the smoothest of engines, but the car combines decent performance (0-62mph in 7.8secs) with near 50mpg, (it's a shame Volvo is dragging its heels over an even more efficient front-wheel drive version). Against the competition the XC90's fine RVs and low running costs help it see off the competition, and it deserves to.

The Volvo XC90 is a well executed, comfortable, practical and likeable car. Who knows - it might once again have timeless appeal.

Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription

Model price range                £45,750-£63,705
Residual value                                       38.9%
Depreciat­ion                                        £30,550
Fuel                                                        £3539
Service, maintenance and repair            £6254
Vehicle Excise Duty                                  £540
National Insurance                                  £5583
Cost per mile                                            98.0p
Fuel consumption                                49.6mpg
CO2 (BIK band)                         152g/km (26%)
BIK 20/40% per month                      £216/£433
Warranty                                    3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max)                 314/1868 litres
Engine size/power                        1969cc/225hp


Volvo's seven-seat sequel to its original SUV is now one of the best
  • Comfortable
  • Relaxing
  • Efficient and refined with a fine interior
  • The ride
  • A sub- 130g/km model would be great, others better to drive