• Although the popular Geartronic automatic box is generally great, make sure you can live with its hesitancy when pulling away – it can be infuriating. The auto also makes a big difference to fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
• There’s little demand for petrol XC90s, but you’ll get more kit and a lower mileage for your money than if you go for an equivalent diesel. An LPG conversion can help bring running costs under control, too.
• Constant upgrades mean exact specs are difficult to pin down, but the general rule is the newer the car, the cleaner and better equipped it is.
There have been 16 recalls, so the XC90 looks like one of the most unreliable models on the road. But some of those notices affect just a handful of cars – Volvo prefers not to take chances.
The first was in October 2003 and the most recent in May 2011, and they cover an array of potential faults – from issues with the ABS and seatbelts to fuel leaks from the injectors, electrical glitches and steering failure.
Other recall issues have included loose wheels, power-steering leaks and stalling engines.
Check out the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) website for up-to-date recall information.
Our view: The XC90 didn’t impress in our Driver Power 2012 satisfaction survey, finishing 86th. Owners marked down its performance, brakes, reliability and handling. The car finished in last place for running costs, too. But drivers like its practicality and comfort.
Your view: Frank Shelton from Runcorn, Cheshire, is on his second XC90. He says: “I had an early D5; now I’ve got a 2010 car. Both have been great, with roomy cabins and excellent comfort, and the D5 engine is both torquey and economical.”