Here is the second generation Volvo XC90 SUV, replacing the outgoing model that was first launched in 2002. This new XC90 is one of the first models to carry the company’s new more prominent iron mark, which has the iconic arrow elegantly aligned with the diagonal slash across the grille.  Together with the T-shaped “Thor’s Hammer” DRL lights, the iron mark introduces an entirely new, distinctive and confident face for Volvo’s forthcoming generation of cars.

This all-new XC90 builds on its predecessor’s strengths but adds seven seats as standard, new more efficient petrol and diesel engines, (including a hybrid model) and a raft of new advanced safety technology,  including special energy-absorbent seats, Volvo’s City Safety auto-braking tech, Queue Assist and a self-parking system. 

Visually the new car has a sharper, more dynamic look, with a larger bonnet, striking beltline and distinctive new rear lights. To add even more visual muscle from the sides, the XC90 comes with a range of wheel sizes up to 22 inches.

On the road the XC90’s ride is generally comfortable, although some larger bumps and potholes cause the Volvo to thump and shake. The Ride (on the larger 20 inch wheels) can also sometimes feel a bit unsettled at lower speeds  on poorly surfaced roads.

The new XC90 offers a range of two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains – all of which provide good levels of performance and fuel-efficiency. Tested here is the 4-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel D5 – the XC90’s most popular engine choice. It might not sound as nice as a six-cylinder alternative, but there’s 235 HP on tap (Power Pulse model) and sufficient mid-range punch for effortless overtaking, along with respectable economy and emissions
(49.6mpg and 149g/km of CO2.)

The electric power steering has good weight and feel and the car’s handling is pretty tidy for a big SUV – you’re able to hustle the XC90 along a twisty B-road with confidence. It feels surprisingly agile, considering its undeniable bulk. Turn-in has decent bite through corners and body roll is suppressed well.

Standard equipment across the range is generous. All cars come equipped with sat-nav, LED headlights, air-filtration, keyless entry, hands-free tailgate opening, a powered driver’s seat, auto-dimming mirrors, DAB radio, cruise control, roof rails, an 8” TFT driver information display, 19ins alloy wheels and 10 speaker 330W audio system, which boasts decent sound quality. For music lovers however, there’s the optional 1,400W, 19-speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system, which serves up a far more powerful and detailed sound.

Every XC90 also comes fitted with rear parking sensors as standard, making parking easier. Available as a cost option is a rear camera, a 360-degree camera and a Park Assist Pilot (which performs parallel and 90-degree parking), as well as front sensors.

The Cabin has a really premium classy feel and incorporates supremely modern design with a high quality of build. A great deal of the infotainment (and climate) functionality is controlled via the 8.0 inch tablet-like touchscreen (12.3 inch on this higher spec Inscription). The Sensus system features smartphone-style portrait orientation, and tiled function ‘buttons’ to control everything. The display looks complicated at first but it doesn’t take long to master where everything is located.

Accommodation wise there’s plenty of head and legroom in both the front and rear of the car, along with exceptionally comfortable seats. Rear occupants benefit from individual reclining chairs, rather than a fixed bench. You do sit comparatively lower down in the car, compared to other big SUVs. Rear seating is also lower than the front – although it doesn’t feel claustrophobic. The comfortable driving position has fully electrically adjustable seat (with memory settings) and steering wheel adjustment for reach and rake.


Boasting an outstanding combination of luxury, space, versatility, efficiency and safety, the new XC90 has made a big impact on the luxury SUV class, just as the original XC90 achieved back in 2002.

Tech spec:

Volvo XC90 D5 AWD Power Pulse Inscription
Max Power: 235 HP @4,000 rpm
Max Torque: 480Nm @ 1,750-2,250 rpm
Max Speed: 137 mph
Acceleration: 0-62 in 7.8 seconds
Claimed MPG (combined): 49.6
CO2 emissions: (g/km) 149