Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
While not cheap, the XC90 is competitively priced; it’s certainly cheaper to buy than an equivalent Audi Q7, BMW X5 or Land Rover Discovery. This applies whether you’re paying in cash – especially when you take into account our Target Price discounts – or financing through a PCP deal.
Opting for the T8 makes a lot of sense for company car drivers because its low CO2 output places it in a seriously low benefit in kind (BIK) tax bracket for an SUV of this size. The BMW X5 45e is an even cheaper company car, though; every month, you’ll pay well under half the tax you would for the XC90. Also, be warned that the T8’s promise of extremely low fuel consumption will only be realised if you do most of your driving on electric power. Once the hybrid battery is depleted, the petrol engine becomes rather thirsty.
Thanks to its mild-hybrid technology, the B5 diesel engine is reasonably economical. It's also attractively priced so will work out the cheapest option if you're a private cash buyer.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level Momentum trim is our pick. Adaptive cruise control, automatic (LED) headlights and wipers, leather seats (heated in the front), a powered tailgate, 19in alloy wheels and dual-zone climate control are all standard.
Only go for R-Design trim if you really love its sportier looks. It adds privacy glass, 20in alloy wheels and a host of more aggressive design touches, but it also ups the price. You can upgrade to R Design Pro version, which adds, among other things, 22in wheels, adaptive air suspension and a heated steering wheel. Inscription and Inscription Pro trim are more luxury oriented, but the XC90 makes most sense at a price that undercuts more talented rivals, including the Audi Q7.
The range-topping plug-in hybrid T8 is available in R-Design trim and above, but adds four-zone climate control, with individual air-con for the third-row seats, as well as a panoramic glass sunroof and the crystal gearknob we mentioned earlier.
In the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, Volvo as a brand put in a rather average performance, finishing joint 16th out of 31 manufacturers. The XC90 was at least in the top half of the Luxury SUV class, finishing behind the Audi Q7, Lexus RX and Porsche Macan.
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 you’ll see that the XC90 scored very well across all of the test’s categories, including protecting adults, children and pedestrians.
That’s due in part to its generous safety equipment, with automatic emergency braking (with cyclist and pedestrian detection), lane-keeping assistance, a traffic sign recognition system, six airbags, traction control and Isofix mounts on the outside two middle-row seats all standard. Blind spot monitoring is available as an option.
Security experts Thatcham Research awarded the XC90 top marks for its ability to resist being stolen and good marks for guarding against being broken into.
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