What's the used Volvo XC90 4x4 like?
If you believe Volvos are purely practical machines, meant for those who wake up to thoughts of school runs and weekly shops, then think again. This XC90 is as much a luxury SUV as it is a versatile, spacious, capable car. It'll cater to a family of seven, but won't leave you desperately craving one of its plush German rivals, such as the Mercedes GLE or Audi Q7.
Perhaps controversially, this second-generation car can only be had with four-cylinder engines, unlike the original of which even allowed for a V8. These inline-fours initially consisted of two petrols and just one diesel: the petrols were a 316bhp 2.0-litre T6 that offers impressively quick performance and reasonable economy and a plug-in hybrid version labelled T8 with 401bhp that’s even faster and yet offers, on paper, an outstanding average claimed fuel consumption figure. A less powerful 247bhp T5 joined the range in 2018.
There are three trim levels to choose from, in increasing levels of luxury: Momentum, R-Design and Inscription. Momentum trim is the pick of the bunch. Just look at what you get: adaptive cruise control, automatic (LED) headlights and wipers, 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 city braking. Pro versions of each trim level add a heated steering wheel, nappa leather and a head-up display - although that last one was deleted if a heated windscreen was chosen.
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, a 12.3in digital instrument cluster, 20in alloy wheels and a host of sporty design touches, but it doesn’t really make much financial sense.
Inscription trim gets the R-Design’s 12.3in digital instrument display and electrically adjustable passenger seat, along with softer nappa leather, 20in alloy wheels, swanky ambient illumination throughout the interior and handsome walnut trim.
On the road, all the engines are smooth and refined and surprisingly quick. Delivering decent low-rev pull, the diesel (D5 or B5) is a relaxed performer. It picks up smoothly, and getting up to motorway speeds is an effortless experience. Then there are the petrols. Both the mild-hybrid petrol B5, T5 and, to a lesser extent, the turbocharged and supercharged T6, need to be worked harder than the diesel. But when you do that, the T5 and B5 petrols are brisk enough. Indeed the T8 hybrid can sprint from 0 to 62mph in just 5.8sec, so no one can accuse that of being tardy.
Inside, it's wonderfully classy and extremely comfortable. The driving position is great, visibility is good and the seats are supportive. The infotainment is controlled through a large 9.0in tablet-style touchscreen. This looks stunning but can be fiddly in everyday use. As far as quality goes, with a mix of smart materials across the dashboard and around the centre console it looks the part. There are soft-touch fabrics across the top of the dash, plus gloss-black fascias around the infotainment screen and gear lever.
Space up front is plentiful, in the middle row it's truly excellent for three and even in the rearmost two seats there is more than adequate room for two children or even adults for shorter journeys. Flexibility is first-class with these seats, too, with all manner of options being available. Boot space is huge in five-seat mode and even rather impressive with all seven seats up.