- Extremely comfortable
- Luxurious cabin
- Versatile boot
- Loaded with tech
- Very well equipped
- Engines lack character
- Lots of body roll
- Not a pure off-roader
This is the crucial new Volvo XC90 – a car which has titanic boots to fill. The previous version of this car, launched way back in 2002, enjoyed huge success worldwide and became almost brand in itself.
So how does it do in such illustrious company? The answer is well - very well indeed.
Trio of engines
There’s a huge amount to like about this car, from the versatile interior to the impressive tech and even the engines. You’ve got a choice of three, all feeding power through a brilliant eight-speed automatic gearbox. A diesel, known as D5, will make up the majority of sales, but company car drivers will be far more interested in the hybrid ‘T8 twin engine’, which emits just 59g/km of CO2 and thus qualifies for seriously low Benefit-in-Kind taxation.
Each of the engine options has a slightly different characteristic, but the main thing to take away here is that the XC90 is a very easy car to drive. It’s smooth, quiet, refined and comfortable.
And it needed to be comfy – the previous version had what were widely regarded to be some of the most comfortable seats in the industry, and the latest iteration’s are equally impressive.
They’re seriously safe too; thanks to whiplash prevention and a system to mitigate spinal compression in the event of an accident, these might just be the most technologically advanced seats we’ve heard of.
Safe as houses
Safety is a core brand value for Volvo. The mantra that no-one should die or be seriously injured in one of its cars by the year 2020 has been widely publicized, but many of this car’s systems appear to be pointing in that direction. There’s even a low-speed automatic driving system for traffic jams.
So that should provide peace of mind for families, which is what this car is all about. It’s a seriously versatile machine in this respect, boasting a second row of seats which slide backwards and forwards and recline. They’re got ISOFIX lashing points and you can even have a middle seat which transforms into a child booster seat.
The boot is very adaptable as well, with a powered tailgate to take the strain out of shopping trips or holidays with the kids.
In fact, longer journeys are something the XC90 excels at. Thanks to its supple ride and brilliant seats it’s the perfect machine for motorway schleps, and there’s a lot of space in the cabin so it shouldn’t get too uncomfortable.
Loaded with tech
To keep the kids entertained and to keep you sane, you’ll be pleased to note there’s an extremely impressive touchscreen installed in the dash to govern infotainment. It looks like a tablet computer held portrait, and controls many of the car’s systems.
It’s operated in a similar manner to a smartphone, with swipes and pinches to flick through menus and the like. It’s one of the better touchscreens we’ve used in a car, and its processor seems to make easy work of speedy navigation requests.
Overall, this is a supreme effort from Volvo in a very competitive sector of the market. For an in-depth evaluation of this impressive new car, read on for the full Volvo XC90 review.