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

It’s a hugely competitive market, but Volvo has managed to take home the title for Best Large SUV once again this year, with its brilliant XC90. That’s hardly surprising, as it also scooped our coveted Auto Express Car of the Year title in 2015. Plus, with its unrivalled combination of superb luxury, advanced technology and affordable prices, the slick Swede is still on top of its game.

But it’s the cool Scandinavian styling and clever design features that make Volvo’s premium seven-seater stand out, and sets the tone for the brand’s future model line-up.

Best 4x4s and SUVs on sale right now

Outside, crisp, minimalist lines are combined with distinctive features, such as the aggressive ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running lights. A classy cabin is set apart by brushed metal inserts, lots of leather and a refreshingly uncluttered dashboard, where a modern tablet-style infotainment screen controls the multimedia, climate and sat-nav systems.

Volvo has continued to build on its reputation for comfort and safety, too. Not only does the SUV get some of the best seats in the business, Volvo also includes its City Safety auto-braking technology, Queue Assist and self-parking. 

On the road, the XC90 has plenty of get-up-and-go, and despite its permanent ‘on demand’ four-wheel-drive system, the road-biased set-up means it’s incredibly comfortable, feeling more luxury saloon than off-roader.

Volvo XC90 long term - front/side

A range of decent 2.0-litre engines is on offer: one smooth, refined 231bhp diesel, a 316bhp petrol and a hi-tech 401bhp petrol hybrid. The most popular of these is the D5 diesel, which promises reasonable economy of 49.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km – although that’s well beaten by the T8 hybrid’s remarkable 49g/km figure.

The XC90’s vast interior includes seven full-size seats which can be configured in a variety of ways. Each chair in the middle row slides independently, and the extra two seats also fold flat to reveal a huge 1,102-litre boot.

With all that in mind, it’s no wonder the practical and stylish XC90 is such a firm family favourite.

Our choice

Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum (£46,850)

All XC90s get the same crisp lines, imposing proportions and neat detailing, so the entry-level Momentum looks as classy as Volvo’s flagship Inscription. The four-cylinder D5 diesel delivers a surprising mix of refinement and punch, while inside it’s a masterclass in minimalist luxury. There’s loads of kit, but air-suspension is a worthwhile extra.

Commended

Audi Q7

Audi Q7 2016 - front tracking

As the technological flagship for Audi, this luxurious Mk2 SUV is bound to impress buyers looking for more than just an off-road vehicle. Innovations include Traffic Jam Assistant, which helps steering at low speeds, and a tablet-style infotainment display. The Q7 is agile and quick, while efficient diesels deliver decent economy. 

Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento long termer front

The Sorento has also had a style makeover, with a bolder design and higher-quality materials inside, creating a more upmarket look. Combine that with the SUV’s already rugged off-road ability, plus a powerful and surprisingly punchy 2.2-litre diesel engine, and it offers buyers great value for money. Better still, you get Kia’s seven-year warranty.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2016 

For complete, in-depth coverage of the New Car Awards 2016, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...  

Recommended

Used Volvo XC90 review
Volvo XC90

Used Volvo XC90 review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Volvo XC90 covering the XC90 Mk2 (2014-date)
23 Nov 2020
Kia Sorento vs Skoda Kodiaq
Car group tests

Kia Sorento vs Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq takes on the new Kia Sorento in this family-friendly SUV twin test
14 Nov 2020
New Kia Sorento HEV 2020 review
Kia Sorento

New Kia Sorento HEV 2020 review

The new Kia Sorento HEV combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for 227bhp, but is it the pick of the range?
23 Sep 2020
New Audi SQ7 2020 review
Audi Q7

New Audi SQ7 2020 review

Has a switch to petrol power improved the blistering Audi SQ7 SUV? We find out...
15 Sep 2020

Most Popular

New Audi A6 50 TFSI e 2020 review
Audi A6

New Audi A6 50 TFSI e 2020 review

The new Audi A6 50 TFSI e brings plug-in hybrid power to the A6 range for the first time
10 Nov 2020
New 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class luxury limo unveiled
Mercedes S-Class

New 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class luxury limo unveiled

The new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class has made its official debut, with lashings of technology and even more imposing styling
19 Nov 2020
How to transfer a number plate from one car to another
MINI number plate change
Tips & advice

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another

Need to know how to transfer a number plate between vehicles? Our step-by-step guide breaks it down
22 Nov 2020