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This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Volvo XC90 review.

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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
Volvo XC90 (02-14) - rated 4 out of 5
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PROS

Comfortable and refined, seven seats as standard, excellent D5 diesel engine, reliable and well-built

CONS

Doesn't handle as well as alternatives like the X5, sluggish Geartronic automatic, thirsty petrols

PROS

Comfortable and refined, seven seats as standard, excellent D5 diesel engine, reliable and well-built

CONS

Doesn't handle as well as alternatives like the X5, sluggish Geartronic automatic, thirsty petrols

Verdict

The Volvo XC90 was the firm’s first real off-roader and has proved extremely popular from its launch in 2002. It's not hard to see why - it's well equipped, comes with seven seats as standard and has an extremely comfortable cabin. It may not be as agile to drive as alternatives like the BMW X5, but the XC90 is strong in other areas - most notable its refined ride which makes it ideal for long motorway journeys. There's a wide choice of engines available, but the best is the D5 diesel which offers a great blend of economy and punchy performance. Add in legendary Volvo safety and robust build quality and it's easy to see what makes this such a good family car. It was revised in 2007 with minor exterior tweaks, a more luxurious interior and new engines.

Seven seat practicality

All Volvo XC90s come with seven seats, arranged in a 2-3-2 format that means most owners tend to run it as a five seater with a simply huge boot. When you do need those extra seats, or fancy using it as a six seater where everyone gets a bit more elbow room, it’s a doddle to flip up the rear seats from their flat stowed position in the boot floor. With the third row of seats in use, access is reasonable from the rear doors, though not as good as in a Land Rover Discovery 4. Still, the Volvo has cemented its place in the hearts of buyers, with many coming back for repeat orders. This is helped by Volvo’s good customer service and the XC90’s superb driving position and excellent dash layout.

Dull drive

Even when the Volvo XC90 was launched back in 2002, it was not the sharpest drive and gave best to the then current BMW X5. However, the years have been kind to the XC90 and its soft-set suspension has proved popular with buyers who value comfort over outright handling ability. With steering that has little feel and a fair degree of wallow in the suspension when going round corners, it’s as well the XC is decently refined, though there is some grumble from the diesel engines that make up the majority of sales.

Read on for our full and comprehensive Volvo XC90 review.

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