Volvo XC90 Exterior and Interior
Long in length at nearly five metres, the XC90 looks mean, solid and has a silver finish on the lights, tailgate, mirrors, windows and roof rack. A big exhaust and matt grey front bumper bar add even more agression to the styling. On our Black Sapphire Metallic test car, the alloys were the same colour, so made it look rather ‘pimped’.
It’s a seven-seater, although this reduces the boot capacity to 615-litres. With a split tailgate, the two rear seats folded will increase space to 914-litres. Despite the number of seats, visibility is good and the bonus is all rear seats can be folded flat for even more space at 1837-litres. This is an area owners have raved about as it makes the XC90 so practical.
Dark grey leather seats with cream piping aren’t to everybody’s liking, although they are comfortable and electronically adjustable. The interior has a premium feel to it, the addition of floor mats that look like a chunk of carpet pile from a house add to the homely feel.
The centre console though is starting to look dated, isn’t floating like Volvo have added to their range of late and there are just too many buttons. But little details like the illuminated ignition slot and the electronically hidden satellite navigation screen add a thoughtfulness to the interior.
There are parking sensors, but in a car this size the optional rear camera would be better as it wasn’t the easiest car to manoeuvre into an underground car parking space.
With CD and radio, it is also Bluetooth enabled so you can use the Volvo On Call system which allows you to listen to your own music and have hands-free conversations.
There are five trim levels available: the entry-level ES, SE, SE Lux, Executive and range topping R-Design. ES comes with dual-zone climate control, rear park assist, leather interior, while SE adds extras such as brushed aluminium roof rails, an automatic rain sensor and Bluetooth. SE Lux has satellite navigation and active bending xenon headlights, Executive comes with front and rear heated seats and 19” alloy wheels and R-Design adds sports styling throughout the car.
Volvo XC90 Engine and Driving
The XC90 comes with one engine, the 2.4-litre diesel D5. Despite it producing 200 bhp with 420 Nm of torque it is quite sluggish. The 6-speed automatic first gear is too short which makes it feel quite laborious, especially when pulling away. Although it cruises well on motorways, to get to 70mph just seems such a hard, noisy process.
Now you’d never buy the XC90 because you’re a fan of speed, this is an SUV at the end of the day. But where steering should be good for this type of car, there is not much feedback to the driver. It is All-Wheel Drive, so stability is enhanced and if you’re using it on rough terrain then grip is improved to make for a comfortable ride.
Running costs are quite high and emitting 215g/km CO2 emissions, it will cost £620 in road tax for the first year, £280 the year after. Volvo reckon it will return a combined 34.4mpg, but we struggled to get near this figure and this is an area owners aren’t so keen on.
Volvo XC90 Safety
Safety is where Volvo excels and this is one tough car. A friend of mine revealed how, despite their XC90 being hit front on by another car, they were able to drive away unscathed despite the chassis being twisted. Dynamic Stability and Traction Control are included as are Roll Stability Control, which will hopefully stop the car ending up on its roof and if that happens, the Rollover Protection System will protect passengers in the car. A Side Impact Protection System, Whiplash Protection System and Inflatable Curtain are all come as standard.
Volvo XC90 Pricing
The XC90ES starts from £37,115 with R-Design costing £43,615. Our test car cost £43,265, but with a premium sound system adding £1,000, £700 for metallic paint and heated front seats at £300, it all starts to mount up.
I really like the Volvo brand although was quite disappointed by the XC90. Good news though as the next generation should go into production late next year. If their recent models are anything to go by, then it’ll definitely be worth considering.
Motoring.co.uk likes on the Volvo XC90:
Motoring.co.uk thumbs down on the Volvo XC90:
Fussy centre console
Not a great driving experience
High running costs