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Review: The Volvo XC90


Review: The Volvo XC90

  • World Class mid-size SUV crossover
  • Highest possible NCAP safety ratings
  • Highly efficient, high performance engines
  • High payload and towing capacity


If there is anything that the VOLVO brand is known for it is safety and reliability so when they entered the 4×4 SUV market in 2002 there was never any doubt that the Swedish masters would produce something very special indeed. Based on the same platform as the Volvo S80 it quickly became Volvo’s best selling vehicle worldwide and continues to dominate the market.

Launched at the North American Auto Show the first generation XC90 was offered with a 208BHP, 2.5 litre, 5-cylinder diesel and a 268BHP, 2.9 litre, twin-turbo, inline 6-cylinder. While the 2.5 was available in either 2-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configuration the 2.9, with its 4-speed auto was only available in AWD.

In 2005 a 311BHP, 4.4 litre V8 was sourced from Yamaha and dropped under the bonnet for the American market where Volvo sold over 40,000 XC90s in just one year.

From 2007 through to the launch of the second generation model in 2014 the XC90 benefitted from almost annual facelifts and model updates and regular power upgrades utilising engines from 2.4 up to 3.2 litres.


Second Generation XC90

Volvo announced the new model in 2014 and started taking orders almost straight away for delivery in 2015. Now based on the entirely new SPA platform the 2015 model was wider, longer and lower than the previous model with all engine options now being 4-cylinder 2.0 litre lumps in both petrol and diesel form.

The petrol engines were offered with turbo, producing 254BHP and a twin-turbo 320BHP unit. The diesels were similarly offered in single or twin-turbo configurations delivering 190BHP and 235BHP respectively.

The redesigned chassis incorporates double-wishbone front suspension and integral link rear axle with the option to add electronically controlled air suspension.

Inside the 9” touch-screen infotainment system dominates the dashboard and comes with the most versatile in-car digital offering of any SUV which can be linked up to and work seamlessly with Apple or Android phones and other cloud-based facilities as well as the more normal sat-nav and in-car comms.

Focussing on the audio you’ll be happy listening to the concert symphony level performance that the 1400W Bowers & Wilkins, 19 speaker system offers. Thankfully the rest of the interior design and trim is comfortable enough for you to really enjoy and appreciate the driving experience safe in the knowledge that the Class-leading NCAP ratings are maintained throughout the fleet.

As you might imagine the driver-aids are piled up with nothing left to chance. Run-off-road protection, lane assist, auto braking and adaptive cruise control with the amazing semi-autonomous Pilot Assist to keep you moving along in heavy traffic by matching speed and movement to the cars around you.

The Swedish company confidently predicted that by 2020 no-one would be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo


Taking the XC90 Off-Road

Like most mid-sized SUVs in this segment the Volvo XC90 is not and out-and-out off roader, it will never compete with a Land Rover Defender for its rock-climbing abilities, but it will serve you more than adequately on rough tracks, across fields and in pretty harsh weather conditions, where the sublime AWD system really comes into its own.

It has a rather impressive wading depth capability of 450mm and general ground clearance of 238mm (the same as a Defender!). Which means, if you’re not a ruffty-tuffty green laner, you can drive through water up to 17” deep and over obstacles 9” high (though probably best not attempt both at the same time!).


Technical data

Specification D4 FWD D5 AWD T5 AWD T6 AWD T8 Twin-Engine
Length 4950 mm (194.9 in)
Width 2140 mm (84.3 in)
Height 1775 mm (69.9 in)
Wheelbase 2984 mm (117.5 in)
Luggage area volume 704 l
Seats 7
Curb weight
Tank Capacity 71 L 71 L 50L
Cylinders In-line 4 (4 valves/cylinder)
Engine 2.0L Turbo Diesel 2.0L Twin-turbo Diesel 2.0L Turbo Petrol 2.0L Turbocharged & Supercharged “twincharged” petrol 2.0L Turbo Petrol with Supercharger and Electric motor (Twin Engine)
Displacement (cc) 1969
Fuel economy (combined) 5.8 7.7
Max power output 190 PS (140 kW) 225 hp (168 kW) @ 4250 rpm 245 PS (180 kW) 320 PS (235 kW) @ 5700 rpm 408 PS (300 kW)
Max torque 400 N·m (295 lb·ft) 470 N·m (347 lb·ft) @ 1750-2500 rpm 350 N·m (258 lb·ft) 400 N·m (295 lb·ft) @ 2200-4500 rpm 640 N·m (472 lb·ft)
Acceleration 0–100 km/h (sec) 7.8 6.9 5.6
Top Speed km/h 205 km/h (127 mph) 230 km/h (140 mph)
Transmission 8-speed Geartronic Aisin AW TG-81SC automatic
CO2 emissions (g/km) 152 179 49
Environmental classification (EU) Euro 6 Euro 6




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