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First Drive

First published: 19th June 2015

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First Drive

Volvo XC90 D5 AWD Momentum first drive review

The Volvo XC90 impressed us on the international launch, but how does it cope with British roads? Jon Quirk finds out

First published: 19th June 2015
Auto Trader Verdict:
The Volvo XC90 is one of our favourite family cars. The Momentum trim is entry-level in name only, for this remains a handsome, versatile, safe and hugely desirable seven-seat SUV.

Author: Jon Quirk
Location: Richmond, Yorkshire
Need to know
  • Entry-level version of Volvo’s seven-seat SUV
  • D5 diesel priced from £45,750; T6 petrol and T8 hybrid also available
  • 0-62mph in 7.8secs, 137mph, 149g/km of CO2
What is it?
The second-generation Volvo XC90, the flagship SUV from the Swedish carmaker with seven seats and loads of standard equipment, even in this entry-level Momentum trim level.

All cars receive LED daytime running headlights, DAB radio, sat-nav, climate control, leather seats and, although there’s no super-practical split tailgate, it is fully automatic. As you’d expect from the company that gave us the seatbelt, there are plenty of standard safety features including low-speed automatic braking, lane-departure warning, whiplash prevention, Isofix child seat lashing points as well as child locks for the rear doors.
What’s it like?
In a segment brimming with competition, Volvo has confidently asserted its own agenda in the family SUV category with a focus on comfort and style that pervades every aspect of the XC90.

The driving position is all-day cosseting with excellent all-round visibility. There’s space for six adults (the middle seat in the middle row is a bit of a squeeze), while the portrait-shaped, nine-inch touch-screen infotainment system is intuitive to use.

Serenity comes as standard in here, too, thanks to a fine mix of leathers and plastics available in coffees and creams that flood the cabin with light, while the optional walnut inlays (£200) help further boost that boutique vibe. It feels as high in quality as an Audi Q7, although to go down the German route of charcoals and black leathers here would be unseemly.
Drivers of the original XC90 will be surprised by just how responsive this second-generation version feels to drive. The original car was a loveable thing but it drove like a tank. By contrast, this XC90 feels alert and light on standard suspension, and there’s a surprising pointiness to the steering. The £2,545 optional air suspension isn’t essential for decent handling manners, so we’d be tempted to spend the difference on Apple CarPlay (£300) and the Xenium Pack (£2,000) which includes a panoramic roof, 360-degree camera and automatic parking to help keep those alloys curb free.

A few things we’re less keen on: the navigation, like with most Volvos, is a bit rubbish, and there’s a surging and unwanted momentum when the car is coasting, almost like the XC90 is trying to run away from you. You should also know that the XC90 is more SUV-shaped MPV than accomplished off-roader.
Should I get one?
In entry-level Momentum trim, the XC90 ticks all the boxes as a brilliant seven-seat family car, and in some style. However, if this is a private purchase, it’s worth noting that the higher-spec Inscription trim level, with its chrome grille and softer Nappa leather, will offer you slightly stronger residual values.
Key facts:
  • Model: Volvo XC90 D5 AWD Momentum
  • Price: £45,750
  • Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel, eight-speed automatic
  • Power/Torque: 221bhp / 347lb ft of torque
  • 0-62mph: 7.8sec
  • Top speed: 137mph
  • Economy: 49.6mpg
  • CO2/BIK tax liability: 149g/km/ 27%
Also consider:
Audi Q7
Super refined and technically impressive seven-seat SUV, but rather soulless

Range Rover Sport
Desirable badge and feel-good factor but reliability is patchy

BMW X5
Fine-handling SUV but rearward two chairs feel like an afterthought

Interested in buying a Volvo XC90?

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