White Volvo XC90 parked in a moorland setting

Volvo XC90 review (2015-2023)

The Volvo XC90 is a large seven-seat SUV that's exceptionally spacious, comfortable and packed with features. It's available with a range of power options, including plug-in hybrid models.

Pros

  • Excellent interior space and comfort
  • Hybrid power options
  • Elegant design and lots of standard features

Cons

  • More expensive to buy than some premium rivals
  • Infotainment system can feel a bit complicated
  • Some versions can be costly to run

Summary

“Safe, stylish and swift, all packaged into a sophisticated piece of Swedish design.”

The Volvo XC90 strikes a great balance between everyday practicality, high-tech features and elegant Swedish design.

It’s a hugely spacious seven-seater with a high-quality interior that makes it a very relaxing way to travel. All versions are quiet, powerful and well-equipped and, as you'd expect of a Volvo, it scores very highly for safety.

It's not cheap but neither are other large premium SUVs and the XC90 is available with some fuel-efficient engines and there's a plug-in hybrid version that could keep running costs down.

What's the interior like?

“It’s seriously stylish and comfortable.”

Understatedly elegant, there's a minimalist feel to the dashboard with only eight buttons in the centre console. Almost everything has been included in the touchscreen infotainment system. This is where you can alter settings, stream your favourite music or even check the weather. There are a lot of menus and sub-menus, which can seem complicated at first, but once you realise where things are it works really well.

The seven-seat interior is very roomy, with vast headroom and legroom for those in the front two rows of seats. There's not quite as much in the third-row seats but two adults can sit back there comfortably.

The seats are exceptionally comfortable with lots of adjustment. Depending on the model or the different options available, they can be heated or cooled and even provide you with a back massage. The rear seats slide or recline to give the best level of comfort to passengers and it’s relatively easy to get people into the third row of seats.

What's it like to drive?

“It's comfortable, economical and reasonably quick, all in a stylish package.”

There are four-cylinder petrol and diesel options, as well as a T8 model which is a plug-in hybrid. All deliver excellent response, and the most powerful versions are pretty quick. Every version has an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.

Although not as nimble as a BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne, the XC90 is extremely composed on the road even ,when driven quickly. It handles bumps well, although if you go for R-Design models with bigger wheels, you may find it a little less comfortable.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Prices are still high but you get a lot of SUV for your money.”

Prices for the XC90 are fairly similar to those of its competitors, which include the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Land Rover Discovery. While it's not cheap to buy, the XC90 has been around for a while now so you'll find older used models may cost less than you think.

As with any large SUV, running costs can be on the high side, but the range of petrol and diesel engines are fuel-efficient for this type of car. The plug-in hybrid models will cost more to buy in the first place but if you're able to keep the battery topped up they may save you money on running costs thanks to a pure-electric range of 25 miles or so with a fully charged battery.

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Which one is best for you?

The D5 diesel is the top seller and for good reason. It delivers excellent fuel consumption but isn’t short on performance. You barely even notice it’s a diesel thanks to excellent sound insulation in the cabin. Although, you need to be driving more than 12,000 miles a year in order to make the diesel work for you.

If you live in or commute into a city then it might be worth considering a petrol T5 or T6 or the Twin Engine Hybrid T8 for its electric-only range, good overall economy and range-topping performance.

There’s a long list of standard equipment, including electric driver’s seat adjustment, heated mirrors and parking sensors, even in the entry-level Momentum model. The R-Design models are fun to drive but the ride will be a bit firmer due to their larger alloy wheels.

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