Believe it or not, this year the Volvo XC90 celebrates its 10th birthday. Back in 2002, Volvo’s first SUV proved a huge success; long waiting lists formed thanks to this seven-seater’s versatility, discreet styling and keen pricing.
The XC90 was one of a new breed of road-biased 4x4s that were good to drive and provided ideal family transport. In the intervening years, there’s been no shortage of rivals, but while the XC90 is no longer a class leader, it has aged well and still makes a great used buy.
The XC90 arrived in November 2002, in 161bhp 2.4-litre D5 turbodiesel or 272bhp 2.9 T6 turbo petrol forms. The Executive (from March 2003) brought rear seat entertainment screens, while in autumn 2004 a 2.5-litre petrol turbo appeared.
The best engine, however, is the 183bhp D5, introduced in summer 2005.
A summer 2006 facelift brought revised exterior styling, plus better trim materials, along with a barking mad 4.4-litre petrol V8. At the same time, a 3.2-litre straight-six replaced the T6. The 2009 R-Design offered a sportier look and, by January 2011, there was a 197bhp D5 as well.
Rival seven-seat SUVs include the Audi Q7, Mercedes GL and Land Rover Discovery. The latter excels as a people carrier and off-roader – it’s great to drive and very spacious, although reliability can be an issue, especially with older examples. The GL is a superb all-rounder, while the Q7 is talented and beautifully built.