Sometimes, only the best will do. A fashionable, attractive SUV body, room for family and friends with seating for seven, a comfortable, car-like driving experience and a luxurious interior loaded with toys… some buyers simply want it all. Happily, these days, there are cars out there to fit even these all-encompassing needs.
One of the most popular is proving to be the latest Volvo XC90. This smart luxury SUV majors on comfort and safety and, in our favourite D5 Momentum trim, combines family friendliness with decent value and a premium sheen that’s very Swedish in feel – and, consequently, a little different from the usual German suspects.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But hold on a minute, because for the same price as a new XC90 Momentum, you can buy a used version of our favourite Land Rover Discovery. That’s the 3.0 TD6 HSE, and it comes with a bigger, more powerful engine than the Volvo’s, more toys and an even more luxurious interior. Of course, the pay-off is the standard pitfalls that come with buying a used car – but should you accept those and take the plunge on an opulent, year-old Discovery instead of the safe and sensible XC90? Read on to find out.
Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum List Price: £50,985 Target price: £46,530 Official fuel economy: 47.1mpg Emissions: 158g/km CO2 Power: 232bhp 0-62mph: 7.8sec Top speed: 137mph
Land Rover Discovery 3.0 TD6 HSE Price new: £58,795 Price today: £47,000 Official fuel economy: 39.2mpg Emissions: 189g/km CO2 Power: 254bhp 0-62mph: 8.1sec Top speed: 130mph
Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and a full service history
New Volvo XC90 vs used Land Rover Discovery – interior & equipment
Both of these cars feel great inside. The Volvo XC90’s leather-swathed dashboard, massive infotainment display and lashings of satin-finish metal and (if specified) wood all feel very modern and stylish, and the switchgear moves with the slickness you’d expect from a top-notch car maker.
The Land Rover Discovery, too, feels extremely upmarket, but in a different way; it trades a touch of the XC90's quality feel for more razzle-dazzle, with shiny chrome touches here and there and some handsome bits of design.
Both cars have infotainment that falls slightly below the best systems out there, though. The XC90’s system controls all the car’s functions from the big central screen, but while it works well on first acquaintance, trying to access deeper menus can be a tricky business. The Discovery’s, meanwhile, is very appealing-looking, but it too can be fiddly to use and it’s rather sluggish in its responses to inputs.
If it sounds like level pegging so far in this section, it is – but the Discovery pulls ahead when it comes to equipment. This HSE model comes loaded to the gunwales; air suspension, a panoramic roof, heated seats in the second row and keyless entry all come as standard, in addition to the adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, powered tailgate, sat-nav and automatic emergency braking that are fitted to both cars.
New Volvo XC90 vs used Land Rover Discovery – space & practicality
Both of these cars offer seven seats, with loads of room in the front and easily adjustable driving positions, but further back the story isn’t the same.
The Discovery offers slightly less leg room in its second row, but its third-row seats are much more accommodating. However, the flipside of this is that the Discovery’s boot is rather smaller than the XC90’s with all the seats upright. In short, which works best for you will depend on how you plan to use your car or, more specifically, how often you’ll need to use those rearmost seats and who will sit in them.
Either way, folding the rearmost seats down in both cars results in a large, well-shaped load space. However, if you fold all five rear seats into the floor, you’ll find it’s the Discovery that offers by far the most room.