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 the equivalent Audi Q7, BMW X5 or Land Rover Discovery. This applies whether you’re paying in cash or financing through a PCP deal.
Opting for the T8 makes a lot of sense for company car drivers; its low CO2 output places it in a low benefit in kind (BIK) tax bracket for an SUV of this size and expense. The BMW X5 45e is even better here, though; every month, you’ll pay well under half the tax you would for the XC90, thanks to its far greater electric-only range and, therefore, much lower CO2 emissions. However, 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, its petrol engine becomes rather thirsty. It also costs considerably more than the B5 diesel.
Thanks to its mild-hybrid technology, that engine is a great alternative to a regular diesel, offering improved running costs for a competitive price. It’s claimed to be cleaner and use less fuel than most rivals’ equivalent diesels, and will work out the cheapest XC90 to run for private buyers.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level Momentum trim is our pick of the bunch. 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. It is worth considering the Momentum Pro upgrade, though; it adds a heated steering wheel, Nappa leather seat trim and a head-up windscreen display.
Only go for R-Design trim if you really love its sporty looks. It adds 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 a Pro version that adds the same extra luxuries as Momentum Pro, along with 22in wheels (which hurt ride comfort) and adaptive air suspension. Inscription and Inscription Pro trim are luxury oriented, but we feel Momentum trim is well enough equipped.
Whichever trim level you choose, XC90s with the T8 hybrid engine also give you four-zone climate control with individual air-con for the third-row seats, as well as a panoramic glass sunroof and the crystal glass gearknob we mentioned earlier. This engine is available from R-Design trim and above.
In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, Volvo as a brand scored rather well, finishing 11th out of 31 manufacturers. The XC90 was also in the top half of the Luxury SUV class, finishing 4th behind the Mercedes GLE, Audi Q7 and Range Rover Sport.
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 in 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 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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