When we saw the XC90 in the flesh at Geneva last year we just thought – wow. Such modern looks combined with a big, beefy road presence. 12 months later and we are sitting behind the wheel.
Starting from £46,250 the XC90 is pitched lower than a Range Rover Sport but pretty much in line with the popular BMX X5.
Our car was in entry level Momentum trim, but featured some modest options including the Intellisafe Pro package – which takes care of your safety systems, and the winter pack – which specs heated seats, windscreen and washer jets. All in, it tipped the scales at a smidge over £50k.
Volvo may be known for being safe, sometimes a bit stayed and boring – even though they have proved that wrong before.
The XC90 is the first vehicle from their bold, new, design language. It has a masculine, crisp front end. A flat upright nose frames the large rectangular headlights. The DRL’s sit inside the headlights, horizontally – very smart.
The back also follows suit. Clean lines, minimalist, all very smart. The side window profile is a bit more old school when it gets to the rear quarter though. Maybe a throwback to the original XC90 it is stout and upright, the chrome finish didn’t help on our model.
But spec some tinted windows, delete the chrome and the XC90 can be transformed into a mean looking Swede.
Being fitted with a 2.0 litre diesel we had our doubts about the XC90’s performance. But it pumps out 225 HP and 470 Nm of torque, that’s good to pull it to 60 in 7.4 seconds. Not at all bad for a car weighing in at nearly two tons.
Yes, it does have four wheel drive, but it’s far more suited to ambling out of a slushy driveway than serious off-roading. The XC90 is far more of a luxury cruiser these days.
Push too hard and body roll does make an appearance, it’s not jelly like though and keeps its composure after the initial lean.
Occasionally the gear changes were a little jerky, this mostly happened when confusing the gearbox and slowing down or speeding up quickly around junctions. But on normal cruising and around town it was superbly slick, barely being felt at all.
Steering feel is very light, but this can be played about within the cars set up to add more weight. Personally a big car like this needs effortless, numb steering, it all adds to the ambiance of the drive.
Ride goes along those effortless lines, bumps, holes and broken surfaces are taken with a dull thud and barely any cabin intrusion.
In fact the interior is very serene, you are shielded by the outside world superbly. The only time it is interrupted is at higher speeds when a slight amount of wind noise creeps in around the mirrors.
One thing we have to mention is the never ending fuel supply in the XC90. It has a mammoth 71 litre tank, we managed to rack up 460 miles, at 35 MPG and still have 60 miles range left after a week’s worth of driving. Filling up would be a rather sore moment though…
Clamber up into the XC90 and the modern Swedish theme continues. This is the first vehicle of their next generation and the interior is simply gorgeous.
Completely uncluttered, you would easily be mistaken into thinking you had sat in the latest BMW. Buttons are kept to a bare minimum, whilst a huge 12.3 inch TFT screen sits portrait in the middle of the dash. The driver makes do with a slightly smaller 8 inch screen that shows the dials and all the infotainment information.
This has to be one of the best touch screen interfaces we have used, it is silky smooth. No lag, no delay, it just works. The only issue we had is that there are so many menus and settings that navigating them whilst on the move can prove rather dangerous on your own.
Maybe that’s why Volvo have the type of lane assistance that steers you back in to the correct lane if you wander…
Even though the XC90 is a 7 seater boot space remains healthy due to the fold down nature of the final row. With all seats up you get just 451 litres of stowing ability, fold the final two rear seats flat and that increases to a suitcase losing 1,102 litres.
What’s always nice to see though are the small touches in cars. Often these get neglected, but when you come across them they give a far more human element to the machine.
For example – the touch screen comes with a glasses cloth in a small pouch neatly folded inside the glove box, the driver’s seat has a Swedish flag sewn into the seam.
In the boot is the little known spider, Volvo added the circular web to provide the flap with strength and then thought…sod it, let’s put a spider next to it?! It’s the little things.
Volvo have really upped the game in terms of luxury on the new XC90. I know the money and capability falls short of a Range Rover Sport, but for motorway miles and trundling around town you would be hard pressed not to choose the XC90 over the Range. It’s really THAT good.
Volvo XC90 – Modern, luxury, more on road than off, Rangie beater?