In production since 2002, the Volvo XC90 is a mid-sized luxury crossover SUV that follows the same P2 platform that the first-generation Volvo S80 is based on. In 2005, the XC90 was the best-selling model worldwide for Volvo with nearly 86,000 units sold. Current models of the XC90 still follow first-generation designs, with the most recent facelift introduced back in 2011. It was announced in 2012 that the second-generation Volvo XC90 should start production in 2014.
The Volvo XC90 has a loyal customer base and sales are steady but other SUV models are pulling ahead. To address this, revisions to the XC90 are introduced, including greater interior options and better exterior styling that will keep customers interested until developments for the replacement model are done.
Safety is always a concern when you’re on the road but you have nothing to worry about when it comes to driving the Volvo XC90 because it has a five-star rating from the Euro NCAP. The XC90 comes with side and twin front airbags, window airbags that run the length of the cabin, active front head restraints against whiplash, and stability control. As for security, deadlocks, an immobiliser, and an alarm round up the anti-theft system installed in the XC90.
Behind the wheel, the centre console looks cluttered at first glance but it is actually very simple and intuitive to use, with all controls positioned logically for ease of use. The driver’s seat also offers ample support, complemented by a wide number of steering wheel and seat adjustments to get you into a comfortable position for a drive.
With a cabin for seven, the XC90 offers MPV-like versatility. Rearmost seats fold down into the floor to create more luggage room while the seats in the middle row are easy to fold down flat, each one sliding individually too. It also does good work of disguising its bulk and doesn’t feel heavy running along country roads. Suspension offers generally smooth rides on most roads when bigger alloy wheels are avoided.
While all XC90s come with rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, and a CD player with USB sockets and aux-in, you miss out on Bluetooth connectivity and an electrically adjustable leather driver’s seat. If you want those, you’re going to have to go for an upgrade with the SE trim.
There used to be petrol engine options but now the XC90 only comes with just one choice. Since most customers opted for the D5 turbodiesel engine even when others are available, it became the default option for the XC90. This engine option also only comes with an automatic gearbox and can get strained even at low revs.
As one of the longest-produced vehicles still in the market today, the Volvo XC90 unfortunately shows its age, with the engine sounding gruff even at low speeds and sending lots of vibrations to the steering wheel. And when you do speed up, it roars (not in a good way) and emits a low-pitched drone at steady speeds. Adding to this is excessive wind noise around the door mirrors and the windscreen base.
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