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In-depth reviews

Volvo XC90 SUV - Interior & comfort

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

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.2 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Interior & comfort Rating

4.0 out of 5

We reckon the XC90 is only just behind the Audi Q7 in the large SUV class when it comes to smoothness and tranquility – there’s a vague hint of wind noise around the mirrors (which sit back on the front doors to improve forward visibility), but it’s only really noticeable due to the general quiet and calm that prevails inside the car. Overall, Volvo still isn’t quite up to Audi’s standard when it comes to interior quality, but it's not far off and the sense of style and airiness is still very impressive.

Volvo XC90 dashboard

One of the stand-out features of the new XC90’s dashboard is its portrait-style infotainment screen. We love it, although it does take a little bit of exploring before it becomes truly intuitive and it's prone to fingerprints. Volvo says you'll get at least a 45-minute handover in the dealership to explain everything and we’d say this is well worth doing.

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There are only eight buttons on the XC90's dashboard and they’re all sensibly arranged, with one big volume/on/off button for the stereo. The display screen is controlled by buttons on the steering wheel, which are easy to get the hang of.

The T8 model also gets a crystal glass gearlever to mark it out from lesser models – very bling.

Equipment

The Volvo XC90 model line-up underwent a big change in 2022, with the trim levels Momentum, R-Design and Inscription being replaced with Core, Plus and Ultimate. Four-wheel drive and seven seats are standard on every model, along with Volvo's latest Android-based infotainment system, LED headlights, an advanced air-filtration system, hands-free boot opening, keyless entry, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, auto-dimming mirrors and DAB digital radio.

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Plus isn't quite as overtly sporty as the old R-Design trim, but adds some desirable features such as a Harman Kardon stereo system with 13 speakers, a 360-degree camera system and adaptive headlights. Ultimate is the range-topper, fitted with adaptive air suspension, a head-up display, Nappa leather upholstery and Bowers and Wilkins surround sound.

Buyers of Plus and Ultimate can also pick between a Dark or Bright theme, giving the exterior trim and the front grille either a black or chrome finish. 

Options

The options lists was reduced with the introduction of the new trim levels in 2022, but it's still possible to customise an XC90 to an extent. There's a range of metallic and premium metallic paint colours, along with a choice of alloy wheels. 

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Buyers can also pick some practical features, such as a retractable tow bar, privacy glass and integrated child seats.

Technology

The Volvo XC90 is Volvo's most advanced car yet when it comes to technology – both in terms of the infotainment system and also the driving assistance and safety systems. 

Starting with the infotainment system, the XC90 features a smart tablet-style touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard. It looks modern and is easy to operate once you've used it a couple of times. It can be quite daunting on the first attempt, but it's very responsive and crisp, so once you're accustomed to it, it's very easy to swipe through menus and access all of the car's functions. Android-based software means it comes equipped with features like Google Maps and voice recognition that already feels familiar to smartphone users.

In place of traditional dials, the XC90 features a TFT screen that can be configured how you want it: for example showing the sat-nav instructions and map in between the dials. This is very clear and makes following directions very easy. The sat-nav system itself is impressive, too. The interface is easy to use, plus the large screen displays the directions very clearly. In combination with the instrument display and optional head-up display, the sat-nav system is very good. You can even pinch to zoom on the map, which is very user-friendly.

As you'd expect from a luxurious car like the XC90, there's a sound system to go with it. Ultimate trim comes with a high-end system by British brand Bowers and Wilkins, which we've found to be very impressive. There are different options to optimise the experience based on how many people are in the car, and you can even make it sound like you're in the Gothenburg concert hall. It's very effective and solidifies the XC90's technology credentials.

Where Volvo has really pushed the boat out is with safety and driving-assistance technology. The XC90 is one of the safest new cars you can buy, featuring systems that alert you to cars and objects in your blind spot, a cross-traffic alert system and 360-degree cameras to help you park – that's if you don't ask the car to do it itself, which it's more than capable of doing. It also has the ability to sit in queueing traffic and speed up and slow down itself, thanks to an adaptive cruise-control system.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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