Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Uncluttered dashboard and excellent quality
  • Large touchscreen controls major functions
  • Excellent seats and comfy driving position

How is the quality and layout?

All of the materials in the cabin are of exceptionally high quality with very few squeaks or rattles expected. The doors have a reassuringly chunky thud when you shut them, the switchgear is all solid, and with some neat touches found throughout.

For example, you turn the starter switch towards you, the driving mode selection is a pleasant contoured metal roller switch, the door handles are chunky metal and there’s plenty of soft leather used throughout.

Adjusting to the layout of the cabin will take very little effort. Finding a comfortable driving position is easy thanks to a huge range of adjustment in the seats and steering wheel, with a high driving position that gives a good view around you.

The centre console is designed in such a way that you still feel cocooned and like you’re driving a normal car, rather than sitting on top of the seat driving a bus.

Those sitting in the second row of seats have their own air vents and climate control settings, with independent temperature settings available for the outer two passengers. There’s also one 12v socket available beneath it but no USB ports. You can also option integrated sun blinds neatly built into the doors as an optional extra.

Infotainment and tech

In front of the driver is a simple digital dashboard that you can configure to show a navigation map, trip information or media, as well as large speedo and other car information, while a large portrait touchscreen dominates the centre console, controlling most of the car’s functions.

Some may find this distracting to use. But once you’ve set all the features up and learned where everything is organised, it’s an intuitive system that’s easy to operate because the touchscreen is responsive.

The only thing is - at least in the context of newer models - is that the infotainment screen may appear quite small nestled into the large dashboard. It's never an issue, but the vast widescreen display of the Mercedes GLE may appeal more to the tech enthusiasts.


  • Excellent seats in the XC90
  • Ride is good, even on large wheels
  • Excellent refinement on all models

The cabin is pleasant and comfort levels are exemplary. Volvo is renowned for its supportive seats, and this car is no exception, with a huge amount of adjustability.

There’s some vibration from the steering wheel under acceleration and a faint rumble of road noise with the 20-inch wheels - we’d definitely try the optional 22-inch wheels first just in case they drum up too much noise – but this large SUV remains hushed compared to some rivals. You get the occasional wind flutter by the front windscreen pillars, but wind noise is generally kept to a minimum at motorway speeds. Either way, it shouldn’t be annoying to anyone as the rest of the car is generally so quiet.

There’s only the slightest hint of engine din from petrol and diesel models, while the hybrid is nearly silent in electric mode – even the distant whine you typically hear from the electric motors is relatively brief compared to other manufacturers. Revving the car hard brings what sounds like a distant whirr of engine noise and turbo whistle.

In terms of ride quality, again, the XC90 excels. There’s a hint of choppiness when dealing with larger bumps or pitted road surfaces – especially on cars fitted with the largest 21- or 22-inch alloy wheels - but in the main, it’s a cosseting and forgiving machine which really delivers over long journeys. If you want extra comfort, adaptive air suspension is available at extra cost, but it’s worth trying before you buy as it’s quite a pricey option.

The only minor point to note is that, as prices for high-spec models creep towards £70,000, you’d perhaps expect an electric steering column adjuster or maybe even massaging front seats, so this may not be quite as luxurious as some would perhaps hope.