A good car, and a better diesel engine would make it unbeatable.
In a sentence - the best car I have ever owned.
After something like 15 years of owning Volvos (I gritted my teeth with my first, a 940GLE estate, and let head rule my heart when i was tempted by a BMW). Then, when the 850-T5 came out it changed all that, and surely must have killed any credibility that anyone claiming a "Volvo is for old men" could have ever had. I went through two more V70 T-5s before a short break while working in Italy driving an Alfa Romeo. On my return I was about to order another V70, although I had thought about a less-powerful version - cameras all over the UK make the T5 a dangerous choice! - when I saw the XC90. Even without a test drive I was hooked - and I am one of those who traditionally scorns the 4x4 brigade. The XC90 is no more difficult to drive and park than a regular car. Its manoeuvrability is excellent, and the rear parking sensors are a great boon, albeit not essential. The engine is responsive - rarely am I embarrassed at the lights! I have the auto box which seems well geared. The seats are simply fantastic. A non-stop drive from London to Newcastle recently had me jumping to the ground feeling perfectly fresh and moving easily. Its value for money just cannot be beaten - it's not as fast as an X5 or a Lexus, but for the price it's a wonderful car. After two years I am thinking of buying a second one. I just hope the waiting list is shorter, now!
I like this car. It's great for the family and stops the usual fighting - with cheap portable DVDs plugged in there is blissful silence even on long runs.
I went for cream leather interior but this seems to be holding up to the onslaught of muddy boots so far. The ride is good, much better than my old Disco on the road but surprisingly awful off-road (much too hard).
The brakes are fantastically good. The hi-fi is excellent. What's not so good is looking around corners - to do so safely requires a bit of neck movement to peer around the front pillar.
The diesel is slightly noisy but only in comparison to the petrol, which is far too thirsty. The fuel tanks should be bigger. It runs down pretty quickly and I have not got better than 28.5mpg.
The front should have parking-distance alerts like the back - I'm always parking miles too far out as I can't see the front of the car. The arm rest on the door is just in the wrong place to use when driving. The door speaker grilles are already dented from getting in and out of the car and catching then with my foot.
The windscreen has too much refection from the dash, although it's gone when wearing a decent pair of specs, and there is an annoying line just above the line of sight on the windsreen for some reason.
All in all, this is a large family transport with no real claim to be an off-roader as such. If you can afford it, it's hard to beat.
I bought my first XC90 in March 2003 and was extremely impressed with the versatility of the car. Having owned seven 850/V70 T5 models and two Mercedes E Class models in the previous 6 years, I was a little worried that I would find the XC90 boring and a bit of an old man's car - but far from it! OK, the searing performance of the T5 is missing but the practicality of the car for a family of four soon won me over.
I have read reports that the Geartronic gearbox isn't ideally suited to the D5 Diesel engine. All I can say is that the car couldn't been on a long-term test. The automatic gearbox is great around towns and on German autobahns the D5 will cruise at 110mph all day if asked to.
Last June I got the opportunity to buy another with full comms pack, privacy glass, xenon etc etc so now have two.
They are excellent cars with superb residual values and are much sought after.
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