Cost & verdict

Volvo XC90 review

Manufacturer price from:£50,435
What Car? Target Price:£45,662
Search new XC90 deals
Volvo XC90 front
Review continues below...
24 May 2017 14:31 | Last updated: 18 Sep 2018 18:40

In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Volvo XC90 4x4 running costs

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 its tiny 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 materialise if you drive mostly on electric power, which is maximised by short trips in town. 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 most people who do a mix of driving that includes 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.

Use our True MPG calculator and see what your car really does to the gallon

 

Volvo XC90 4x4 equipment

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.

Volvo XC90 sat-nav

Volvo XC90 4x4 reliability

In our last reliability survey, Volvo as a brand scored rather poorly, finishing 25th out of 32 manufacturers. Not hugely impressive, then. The XC90 didn't do any better, recording 129 faults per 100 cars.

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.

Volvo XC90 4x4 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.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

open the gallery11 Images

Verdict

The Volvo XC90 is one of the best large SUVs, combining a high-quality, spacious and versatile interior with plenty of kit and good driving manners

  • Classy interior
  • Practical seven-seat layout
  • Well equipped
  • Ride unsettled
  • Road and suspension noise
  • Fiddly infotainment system
There are 6 trims available for the XC90 4x4. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
Momentum
The pick of the bunch. Cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, leather seats, front and rear parking sensors, sat-nav, a 12.3in TFT screen with digital instruments, LED headlights, Bluetoo...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol, Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid
What Car? Target Price from
£45,662
Average Saving £4,773
View Trim
Momentum Pro
Momentum Pro adds niceties to Momentum trim such as a heated steering wheel, adaptive LED headlights with headlight washers, nappa leather seat trim, an electrically adjustable passenger seat, a he...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£48,370
Average Saving £5,065
View Trim
R DESIGN
Adds larger 20in alloy wheels and various sporty design touches inside and out. It may enhance the look for you, but R-Design doesn’t really make much financial sense, so we’d stick to Momentum...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol, Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid
What Car? Target Price from
£48,821
Average Saving £5,114
View Trim
Inscription
Benefits from softer nappa leather, different 20in alloy wheels to R-Design trim, an electrically adjustable passenger seat and more illumination throughout the interior. We think there’s more sens...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£49,182
Average Saving £5,153
View Trim
R DESIGN Pro
R-Design Pro adds the same additional luxuries as Momentum Pro, along with 22in wheels (which hurt ride comfort) and adaptive air suspension...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol, Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid
What Car? Target Price from
£52,657
Average Saving £5,528
View Trim
Inscription Pro
Inscription Pro follows the theme of adding extra luxuries that on this version including cooling and massaging front seats, adaptive air suspension and 21in alloy wheels...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£53,604
Average Saving £5,631
View Trim