2015 Volvo XC90 - the cars it has to beat
If the all-new Volvo XC90 is to be considered the best of the seven-seaters, it has formidable competition. Here are the cars it has to beat...
The new Volvo XC90 has been a long time coming, and the latest version will aim to set new standards when it comes to carrying seven people and their luggage.
These are the cars that the new XC90 has to outperform if it is to be considered the best of an already impressive bunch. We've considered the best seven-seat SUVs as well as more conventional seven-seat people-carriers.
**Range Rover Sport
If you want a seven-seat car to make the neighbours jealous, this is surely it. The Sport is excellent to drive, lovely to sit in and is practical and premium in equal measure. In order to get a driving experience that lives up to the Sport name, pay the extra to get the Dynamic Pack.
The higher-output SDV6 is money well-spent in terms of refinement and performance but take a test drive to see if you feel the improvement is worth the investment. Its starting price is £10,000 more than the XC90's, so it will be competing with higher-trim versions of the Volvo.
Pick of the range: 3.0 SDV6 HSE
**Hyundai Santa Fe
The Range Rover Sport is a bit rich for many buyers' blood, but a far more achievable prospect for many is Hyundai's Santa Fe, which will be a cut-price alternative to the XC90. It lacks the badge allure of the Range Rover and the Volvo, but it gives little away in terms of practical family transport.
It is spacious, good on fuel for such a big vehicle and comes packed with kit. Factor in the five-year warranty and the Santa Fe's appeal as an ownership prospect becomes obvious. If you can do without the four-wheel-drive option, you can save around £1400 and get an extra couple of miles to the gallon.
Pick of the range: 2.2 CRDi Style 4WD 7st
**Land Rover Discovery 4
Fabulously gifted off-road, supple and comfortable on it, the Discovery is getting on a little bit now but it offers generous space, even in the third row of seats. It is nicely appointed inside, and if you can find the driveway space for it (and the £40,000 to buy it), it's a supremely good family car. If you can't stretch to the Range Rover Sport, this is a hugely capable alternative to Volvo's largest SUV.
Pick of the range: 3.0 SDV6 255 GS
Land Rover Discovery Sport
The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is a bit of an unknown at the moment, as we have yet to see full details of the new seven-seat replacement for the Freelander. It is likely to be a cheaper, smaller alternative to the XC90, with prices starting at or just under £30,000.
As it is set to be a smaller car, it's highly likely that space in the third row is not going to be quite as generous as in the XC90, but those seats are set to come as standard.
Pick of the range: TBC
If you want to carry seven in comfort the Seat Alhambra is the best all-round car for the job, although it lacks the off-roading promise that the XC90 should offer.
It is incredibly spacious, practical and even adults will be able to travel in the third row without too many problems. It is just as good to drive as its Volkswagen Sharan equivalent, but it is cheaper to buy so represents better value for money.
The only real downside for some will be its size – it is a very large car, and you are aware of this around town. On bigger roads this isn’t an issue though, and it is a well-deserved multiple winner of our MPV of the Year award.
Pick of the range: 2.0 TDI 140 SE
**Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
Not only does the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso have seven seats, the cabin is really well thought out. The seats in the middle row slide back and forward individually, and they clamshell forward to allow easy access to the two seats in the back.
The big Citroen has about the best visibility of any MPV, with a large amount of glass around the front of the car, making it easy to see out. Our main quibble with it is how you control most of the functions in the cabin – you have to do most of it through the touch-screen, and it is a bit fiddly.
Pick of the range: 1.6 e-HDi 115 Exclusive