In-depth reviews

Volvo XC90 review

The XC90 spearheads Volvo's latest technological, efficiency and style innovations

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£52,325 to £73,175
  • Quality interior
  • Safety and luxury kit
  • Comfortable ride
  • Busy touchscreen
  • Noisy petrol engines
  • Hybrid efficiency

The Volvo XC90 is a luxury SUV that rivals models such as the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport. Volvo has created a refreshing SUV by using Scandinavian design influences, and it feels like a premium product that delivers design-led looks and a raft of advanced safety kit.

The XC90 boasts a distinctive exterior and plenty of equipment, and delivers a far more upmarket package than its practical but ageing predecessor. Add the advanced fuel efficiency and safety technologies, and you have a class-leading SUV on your hands. The XC90 is a great performer on the road, and with seven proper seats as standard plus a big boot, it's a strong candidate for family car buyers. 

Not us though. We love the Volvo XC90’s unique blend of technology, efficiency, style and safety – that’s why we named it Auto Express Car of the Year in 2015, and we'd still recommend putting it on your shortlist if you're looking to buy a large SUV.

If you're looking to buy a large SUV, then the Volvo XC90 is one of the best cars for sale in the class. Its big, seven-seat interior means it can be used as effective family transport, but the quality on offer means it's more like a luxury car than a family holdall.

The current XC90 is a clear evolution of the long-lived XC90 Mk1, but it gets a big dose of Swedish style to help it stand out from its rivals. The most direct opponents are the Land Rover Discovery and Audi Q7, which both have seven useable seats inside. Elsewhere, there are seven-seat versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes GLE, Lexus RX and Range Rover Sport available, although these cars don't have as much space in the rearmost row. If you're on a budget, then seven-seat cars such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento offer better value for money, if you can cope without having a prestige badge on the nose.

The XC90 arrived in 2014, while an update in 2019 has seen a subtle change to the looks and a revised engine range join the line-up. All engines are 2.0-litres in size, but they have plenty of power to get this big SUV moving. The most recent update saw the D5 PowerPulse diesel replaced by a newly badged B5, the name signifying the addition of a mild hybrid system to the diesel engine. The ‘B’ badge will be standard across both petrol and diesel variants. The T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid remains as the flagship of the range, both in terms of efficiency as well as price.

Every version of the XC90 features permanent four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with manual mode. Hill descent and hill start control are both fitted, although the Volvo is more suited to tarmac use than hard off-roading.

Like the rest of the Volvo range, the XC90 comes in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription specs, and that means all models are well equipped, even if you choose the least expensive variant. Standard kit includes adaptive cruise control, keyless starting, auto LED headlights and wipers, a reversing camera, park assist, a hands-free power tailgate, two-zone climate control, electrically adjustable heated leather seats and Volvo's excellent portrait-mounted touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, nav and connected services.

You pay the price for all this kit, though, as the XC90 starts from just over £54,000 and is just shy of £74,000 for the most expensive version. R-Design models include a sportier look, sports seats and bigger wheels, while Inscription cars get soft Nappa leather and a number of added luxuries. All trims can be upgraded to Pro spec, which adds additional kit such as a head-up display, active headlights and bigger wheels for around an extra £5,000, depending on trim.

For an alternative review of the latest Volvo XC90 SUV visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 B5P [250] Momentum 5dr AWD Gtron
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £52,325

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 T8 [390] Hybrid R DESIGN 5dr AWD Gtron
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £65,975

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 T8 [390] Hybrid R DESIGN 5dr AWD Gtron
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £65,975

More on XC90

Show me:
Best SUVs to buy 2020
SUVs
15 Jul 2020

Best SUVs to buy 2020

We name the top 10 best SUVs and 4x4s you can buy on the new car market today
Best 7-seater cars on sale 2020
Best 7-seater cars - header
7-seater cars
12 Mar 2020

Best 7-seater cars on sale 2020

We pick the best 7-seat cars that provide the best practicality across a wide range of price points
All-new electric Volvo XC90 to arrive in 2022
Volvo XC90 - front (watermarked)
Volvo XC90
24 Jan 2020

All-new electric Volvo XC90 to arrive in 2022

Large Volvo XC90 SUV will adopt electric power and feature new advanced autonomous driving system
Lexus RX vs Volvo XC90
Lexus RX vs Volvo XC90 - header
Lexus RX
30 Dec 2019

Lexus RX vs Volvo XC90

Revamped versions of the Lexus RX and Volvo XC90 fight for honours in our seven-seat hybrid SUV test
New 2019 Volvo XC90 facelift: UK prices and specs revealed
Volvo XC90 facelift - front road
Volvo XC90
2 Sep 2019

New 2019 Volvo XC90 facelift: UK prices and specs revealed

Mild hybrid versions of Volvo's XC90 arrive with subtle makeover for 2019, on sale now
Mercedes GLE vs Volvo XC90
Mercedes GLE vs Volvo XC90 - head-to-head
Mercedes GLE
29 Aug 2019

Mercedes GLE vs Volvo XC90

Who needs an MPV when large premium SUVs can carry seven? We pit the refreshed Mercedes GLE against the updated Volvo XC90
New Volvo XC90 B5 2019 review
Volvo XC90 - front
Volvo XC90 SUV
1 Aug 2019

New Volvo XC90 B5 2019 review

The new Volvo XC90 B5 replaces the outgoing D5 diesel, but is the new mild-hybrid powertrain any good? We took it for a drive to find out...
New Volvo XC90 Armoured arrives for £450k
Volvo XC90 Armoured - front
Volvo XC90
26 Jun 2019

New Volvo XC90 Armoured arrives for £450k

The new 4.49-tonne Volvo XC90 Armoured will be joined by light-armoured versions of the XC60 and XC90 in 2020
Volvo unveils driverless-ready production car
Volvo XC90 self driving car
Volvo XC90 SUV
12 Jun 2019

Volvo unveils driverless-ready production car

Volvo will build and sell the XC90-based vehicle, which is equipped with a number of autonomous driving systems, to Uber
Lexus RX L vs Volvo XC90
Lexus RX L vs Volvo XC90 - header
Lexus RX
4 Oct 2018

Lexus RX L vs Volvo XC90

Hybrid Lexus and Volvo SUVs fit in with the latest trends. But is new seven-seat RX L a match for plug-in XC90?
Volvo S90, V90 and XC90 lineups gain T5 petrol engine
Volvo V90 - front
Volvo XC90
7 Aug 2018

Volvo S90, V90 and XC90 lineups gain T5 petrol engine

The Swedish brand's family of '90' models get a new 247bhp 2.0-litre petrol with familiar T5 branding
No fatalities ever recorded in a Volvo XC90 in the UK
Best 4x4s and SUVs - Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90 SUV
16 Apr 2018

No fatalities ever recorded in a Volvo XC90 in the UK

Analysis of official figures finds no driver or passenger fatalities have been recorded in Volvo's XC90 since records began in 2004
Audi Q7 e-tron vs Volvo XC90 T8
Audi Q7 e-tron vs Volvo XC90 T8 - header
Audi Q7
7 Feb 2018

Audi Q7 e-tron vs Volvo XC90 T8

The Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 slug it out to be our luxury plug-in hybrid SUV champ
Volvo's ‘Drive Me’ self-driving car programme delayed
Volvo XC90 SUV
15 Dec 2017

Volvo's ‘Drive Me’ self-driving car programme delayed

A handful of families are trialling level 2 autonomous Volvo XC90s but the planned roll-out of level 4 cars is now set for 2021
Used Volvo XC90 review
Used Volvo XC90 - front
Volvo XC90 SUV
5 Dec 2017

Used Volvo XC90 review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Volvo XC90 covering the XC90 Mk1 (2002-2014)
Land Rover Discovery vs Audi Q7 vs Volvo XC90
Land Rover Discovery vs Audi Q7 vs Volvo XC90 - header
Land Rover Discovery
16 Apr 2017

Land Rover Discovery vs Audi Q7 vs Volvo XC90

The new Land Rover Discovery takes on the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 for luxury SUV honours
Uber resumes self-driving car tests after Arizona crash
Volvo Uber autonomous car - front side
Volvo XC90
28 Mar 2017

Uber resumes self-driving car tests after Arizona crash

Temporary setback for Uber's self-driving testing programme after headline-grabbing Volvo XC90 roll
Long-term test review: Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90 long-term test - final report header
Volvo XC90 SUV
24 Jan 2017

Long-term test review: Volvo XC90

Final report: if you or your employer has the cash, the Volvo XC90 SUV is truly brilliant
Volvo launches concierge app for on-demand refuelling, car washing and more
Volvo concierge app
Volvo
18 Nov 2016

Volvo launches concierge app for on-demand refuelling, car washing and more

Trials of new concierge smartphone app for on-demand servicing will begin in the United States later this month
Best 4x4 tow cars by weight
Tow car of the year 2018 - Skoda Kodiaq grey front
Skoda Kodiaq
22 Sep 2016

Best 4x4 tow cars by weight

The best tow cars weighing over 1,800kg and under 1,800kg
Best tow car over £50,000: Volvo XC90
Tow car of the year 2018 - Volvo XC90 front
Volvo XC90 SUV
22 Sep 2016

Best tow car over £50,000: Volvo XC90

The best tow car over £50,000 for 2018 is theVolvo XC90 T8 Momentum
Volvo XC90 - Best diesels
Volvo XC90 long term - front/side
Volvo XC90
28 Aug 2016

Volvo XC90 - Best diesels

Large SUV of the Year 2016: Volvo XC90
New Car Awards 2016: Large SUV of the Year - Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90
5 Jul 2016

Large SUV of the Year 2016: Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 is the 2016 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Audi Q7 and Kia Sorento commended