Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
While not cheap, the XC90 is competitively priced; it’s certainly cheaper to buy than the equivalent Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 or Land Rover Discovery. This applies whether you’re paying in cash or prefer financing through a PCP deal.
Opting for the T8 makes the most sense for company car drivers, thanks to a low CO2 emissions figure that places it in a low company car tax bracket. However, be warned that the promise of extremely low fuel consumption will only be realised if you drive mostly on electric power, which is pretty much the preserve of urban motoring.
Motorway driving depletes the battery quickly and, once it’s gone, the petrol engine kicks in and the MPG figure takes a tumble. At this point, it’s no more frugal than the juicy petrol T6 model. The T5 is not much better, by the way; it can manage 30mpg on the motorway but will average a figure nearer to the low to middle twenties with a bit of town driving mixed in.
The diesel, meanwhile, is the best bet for anybody who expects to spend a fair amount of time on faster roads. It’s sensibly priced and will work out the cheapest to run for private buyers. In fact, it's claimed to be cleaner and use less fuel than most rivals’ diesel units.
Resale values for the XC90 are among the best in the class, only just lagging behind the slow-depreciating Discovery’s. Other long-term costs, such as servicing and insurance, are also very competitive for the class.
Equipment, options and extras
Momentum trim is the pick of the bunch. Just look at what you get for what’s a relatively inexpensive price in this class: adaptive cruise control, automatic (LED) headlights and wipers, 12.3in configurable instruments (instead of analogue dials), leather seats, front and rear parking sensors, a powered tailgate with ‘gesture’ opening and closing, sat-nav, Bluetooth, 19in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a DAB radio and automatic emergency braking. That’s quite a list.
It is worth considering the Momentum Pro upgrade, adding to those niceties a heated steering wheel, adaptive LED headlights with headlight washers, nappa leather seat trim, an electrically adjustable passenger seat, a heated steering wheel and a head-up windscreen display.
Only go for R-Design trim if you really love its sporty looks. It adds sports seats with electric adjustment for the passenger, privacy glass, 20in alloy wheels and a host of sporty design touches, but it doesn’t really make much financial sense.
As with Momentum trim, you can upgrade to R-Design Pro. This includes the same additional luxuries as Momentum Pro, along with 22in wheels (which hurt ride comfort) and adaptive air suspension.
Inscription trim gets an electrically adjustable passenger seat, along with softer nappa leather, 20in alloy wheels, swanky ambient illumination throughout the interior and handsome walnut trim. It’s certainly plush, but we still rate Momentum as offering the best value for money.
Again, there’s an Inscription Pro that follows the theme of adding extra luxuries that on this version include cooling and massaging front seats, adaptive air suspension and 21in alloy wheels.
It’s not strictly a trim – you can order the T8 hybrid in any of the regular trims – but whichever one you choose with the T8 powertrain installed your car will feature four-zone climate control and individual air-con for the third-row seats, as well as a panoramic glass sunroof and the crystal glass gearknob.
In our last reliability survey, Volvo as a brand scored rather poorly, finishing 21st out of 31 manufacturers. Not hugely impressive, then. The XC90 didn't do any better, only finishing above the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in the Luxury SUV class.
All XC90s come with a three-year, 60,000-mile manufacturer’s warranty. The T8 models have their battery packs covered by a separate eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Safety and security
A full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating is what you’d expect from a Volvo. Drill into the details and the XC90 scored very well across all of the test’s categories.
That’s due in part to its generous safety equipment, with automatic emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, a road sign recognition system, six airbags, traction control and Isofix mounts on the outside two middle-row seats all standard. Blindspot monitoring is available as an option.
Security experts Thatcham Research has run the XC90 through its security tests and awarded it top marks for resisting being stolen and good marks for resisting being broken into.
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