The all-new Volvo XC90


    The all new XC90 is, say Volvo, a place to relax, think and connect with the world on your own terms; it is a place without clutter. It is the result of them asking: How can we make life easier for you?

    I’m not entirely sure how I’d answer that. But I can tell you that there certainly is evidence of a vast amount of thought having been put into Volvo’s all-new flagship SUV.

    All new? Yes. The new XC90 is the first car to be built entirely by Volvo in a very long time. It sits on the new SPA - that’s Scalable Product Architecture, - platform that will go on to underpin all of the forthcoming planned Volvo products. Power comes solely from their Drive E engines which, despite having a maximum capacity of 2.0 litres and 4 cylinders, thanks to a mixture of turbo-charging, super-charging and in the case of the T8 hybrid due out later this year, electrification, offer no obvious shortfalls in power or performance. The new Euro 6 compliant Drive E D5 musters 215 bhp whilst emitting just 149g/km CO2.

     Climb aboard and not only will you discover some superb (award winning even), attention to detail, some very premium feeling materials, and seven thinner but nonetheless superbly comfortable seats, - all of which are individually adjustable and capable of accommodating an adult up to the height of 5’ 7” – but also, as promised, little in the way of clutter. There a few buttons, just 8 in fact. The dials, speedo, revs, etc are all electronic, as is the head-up display.

    All of the major control functions are taken car of by the Senus touchscreen. You name it: heater, Bang & Olufsen DAB radio (its concert setting is superb), navigation, phone, apps… are all controlled via this very I-Pad-esque interface that sits centre-stage within the dashboard. With a little practice its operation becomes pretty intuitive and there’s no need to swipe between the 4 individual pages to adjust temperature, radio station, or compass heading.  Volvo say you can even use the system to book your XC90 in for a service, with your gloves on! – Handy (if you’ll pardon the pun) in a Swedish winter.

   What you won’t find are any additional levers to engage four-wheel drive (it’s automatically engaged). The XC90 is strictly an SUV; a life in leafy suburbia with the odd excursion to a gymkhana or a snowy Waitrose car-park, one imagines, will be its natural habitat. The names of the two optional packs available, Rugged Luxury and Urban Luxury, somehow rather nicely sum this up.

    On the road the XC90 feels refined, quiet and confident. The ride is cosseting even on well weathered surfaces - ever more so if your budget stretches to the optional air-suspension - and the handling safe and secure. Performance is easily brisk enough to deal with the daily grind, and four individually selectable driving modes allow tailoring to suit everyone from the earth mother to those with more pressing engagements.

      Then there are the safety systems; too many in fact, to talk about here. The XC90 is the safest Volvo ever made so far goes another step towards Volvo’s goal that by 2020 no-one will be killed or seriously injured in one of their new vehicles.

   And yet at no point does it feel like a tank, an inert automotive safety cell, or a just another aspirational SUV destined to life on the school-run. 

  “Simplicity is in the ultimate form of sophistication” said Leonardo da Vinci (and the XC90 press –blurb). Simplicity and sophistication are what make the XC90 Volvo’s finest work to date too.   


Volvo XC90 2.0 D5 AWD Momentum 4wd Auto

Engine: 1,969cc 4Cyl 16V diesel

Transmission: 8 speed Auto, Four wheel drive.

Power:  225 bhp @ 3900 rpm

Torque: 310 lbft @ 1750 rpm

0-62MPH: 7.8 Sec

Max Speed: 137 mph

CO2: 149g/km

MPG: 48.7 combined

Price: from £45,750.


Many thanks to Volvo’s UK press office for the loan of their XC90



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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