New Volvo XC90 vs used Range Rover Sport: which is best?

Is an ultra practical new Volvo XC90 better than an extremely posh used Range Rover Sport? Read our test to find out...

Volvo XC90

New Volvo XC90 vs used Range Rover Sport – driving

Remarkably, the Volvo XC90 feels pretty perky when pulling away; even though its 2.0-litre B5 diesel engine is down nearly 70bhp and a couple of cylinders compared to the 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine in the Range Rover Sport. The XC90 is the lighter car of the two, which also pays dividends in the bends, allowing it to resist body roll well. The Range Rover Sport HSE can struggle a little here – the fancy active anti-roll bar system that transforms its handling is only fitted to higher-end, more powerful models.

New Volvo XC90 vs used Range Rover Sport: which is best?

However, the Sport is by far the most effortless car of the two because of the additional torque that helps it waft up to the national speed limit; the XC90 requires you to push your foot a little deeper into the carpet in order to achieve the same rate of progress. The XC90 has the noisier  engine compared to the Sport, although it does settle down to a distant hum once up to speed.  

The Sport has standard fit air suspension to give it a more pliant and refined ride, while the XC90 makes do with traditional coil springs. Of the two, the XC90 has the firmest setup and tends to pick up bumps, cracks and expansion joints more at lower speeds. Suspension noise is also more pronounced in the XC90, which is a shame given its premium billing.

New Volvo XC90 vs used Range Rover Sport – costs

You may expect there to be some pretty big differences between these two cars in terms of running costs: one comes from a brand that exclusively makes SUVs, while the other sells safe and sensible family-orientated vehicles. But, in some weird way, the Range Rover Sport is actually cheaper to run than the Volvo XC90.

Let’s start with cost. A brand new B5 Momentum XC90 will set you back £53,285 and has a What Car? Target price of £48,625. A 2017 Range Rover Sport in 3.0 SDV6 HSE form with an average number of miles on it from a Land Rover approved used dealer cost significantly less than this: £43,517.

What’s more, if you buy a Sport that was registered before 1 April 2017, you’ll be charged under the old CO2 emissions based road tax system at £260 per year, rather than the £465 of the XC90, because cars registered after this date have to pay a flat fee of £145, with an additional £320 levied on cars that cost over £40,000 when new.  

New Volvo XC90 vs used Range Rover Sport: which is best?

The Volvo will have a three years manufacturer’s warranty on it, while the Sport will have two years of cover under the Land Rover approved used scheme. Reliability might be slightly better with the XC90 because it finished slightly higher than the Sport in the Luxury SUV category according to our latest reliability survey. 

In terms of regular fuel costs on paper, it’ll be the smaller engine in the XC90 that sips the least fuel with a combined figure of 47.3mpg (NEDC) compared to the 40.4mpg of the Sport. However, in our real world tests we’ve found that both return results in the 30s. 

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