Review

Volvo XC90 SUV

Price  £46,850 - £64,555

Volvo XC90 SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Very comfortable and quiet inside
  • Luxurious, yet also spacious and practical
  • Advanced safety tech and clever touchscreen
Cons
  • Pretty expensive to buy
  • Petrol engine is noisy and thirsty
  • Hybrid can’t match economy claims

At a glance

Our Pick
2.0 D5 AWD Momentum 4wd Auto 5dr £46,850
The greenest
2.0 T8 AWD R-Design 4wd Auto 5dr £63,605
The cheapest
2.0 D5 AWD Momentum 4wd Auto 5dr £46,850
The fastest
2.0 T8 AWD R-Design 4wd Auto 5dr £63,605
Top of the range
2.0 T8 AWD Inscription 4wd Auto 5dr £64,555

“The latest Volvo XC90 ticks a lot of SUV boxes. It’s spacious, high-quality, comfortable, efficient and very safe.”

The first-generation Volvo XC90 was a huge success for the Swedish brand, thanks to a blend of great safety credentials, reliability and space for all the family in a luxurious cabin. After 12 years on sale, Volvo replaced the XC90 in 2015 with an all-new model that has rewritten the large premium SUV rulebook once again.

The latest XC90 goes up against the likes of the BMW X5, Audi Q7, Mercedes GLE and Land Rover Discovery. Based on looks alone, it certainly has what it takes to give them a good run for their money. From the front, the XC90 is imposing, with a large grille and redesigned Volvo badge, plus classy additions including ‘Thor's hammer’-style LED headlamps. At the rear, Volvo's signature light design is present, running down each side of the wide-opening bootlid.

The classy look is replicated inside, too. There's room for seven to sit comfortably – two adults can even fit in the two third-row seats – plus it feels very luxurious, with soft leather and a large portrait-orientated touchscreen. There are also unique touches, such as Swedish flag tags on the seats and ‘Since 1959’ badges on the seatbelts – a reference to the year Volvo introduced the three-point seatbelt. The new XC90 is great if you want the very latest in-car technology, too, as it's packed an impressive roster of standard kit, including safety systems.

Everything is very refined inside, too, thanks to smooth and powerful engines that don’t intrude into the cabin. There are three engines to choose from – all with four cylinders. There's a 2.0-litre diesel (badged D5), a 2.0-litre petrol (called T6) and a 2.0-litre petrol with a plug-in electric motor (known as the T8 Twin Engine). They’re all four-wheel drive and come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

We’d recommend the D5 diesel engine. Not only is it likely to be the most popular model in the range, but it also has plenty of power, yet can still return up to 49.6mpg and costs £145 a year to tax. If you want zero road tax, the T8 Twin Engine is the one to go for, although you’ll struggle to reach its claimed 134.5mpg, plus it's the most expensive engine to buy in the first place. The T6 petrol is faster than the D5, however its running costs will be much higher.

On the road, the XC90 makes for a comfortable car to cruise along in. It grips well in corners, but it's no sports car, so it leans quite a bit and the steering is quite light. If you want a large SUV with a sportier nature, we’d recommend the BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne.

Like the engine range, the XC90's trim levels are easy to navigate, too. The range consists of entry-level Momentum, luxurious Inscription and sporty R-Design, which adds eye-catching bumpers and alloy wheels. All XC90s come with seven seats, Volvo's Sensus sat-nav system, LED headlights, a hands-free power-operated bootlid, DAB digital radio and power-adjustable front seats.

As you’d expect from a Volvo, the XC90 comes with an extensive list of safety equipment. It was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP, as well as an impressive 97% score for adult occupant protection. There are airbags along the length of the cabin, all-round cameras and automatic emergency braking. It can also detect pedestrians and cyclists and prevent a collision with either.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.2 / 5

T8 Twin Engine hybrid is the running-costs star of the new Volvo XC90 range, but cheaper D5 diesel will be satisfactory for most buyers

Engines, drive & performance

4.1 / 5

Powerful petrol, diesel and hybrid engines ensure the big Volvo XC90 isn’t short of power

Interior & comfort

4.3 / 5

The new Volvo XC90 interior combines sleek and stylish design with advanced yet easy-to-use technology

Practicality & boot space

4.7 / 5

Like its predecessor, the new Volvo XC90 offers a huge amount of space for passengers and luggage inside

Reliability & safety

4.8 / 5

Volvo has always been a car safety pioneer and the new XC90 is well placed to continue that tradition

Last updated 
11 Feb 2016
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