Volvo XC90 (2015 - present)

The Volvo XC90 is an ultra-luxurious large SUV that incorporates the very latest technology

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Extremely comfortable and quiet
Very spacious and practical
Classy, hi-tech interior

Weaknesses 

All versions are expensive
Touchscreen gets grubby very quickly
Can be hard to match hybrid economy claims

The first-generation Volvo XC90 remained on sale for a remarkable 12 years with minimal changes – testament to its popularity with those looking for a practical yet prestigious large family SUV. The second-generation version, which went on sale early in 2015, had a lot to live up to, so Volvo really pushed the boat out in terms of styling and technology.

The result is an undeniably expensive but also extremely impressive vehicle that can go toe-to-toe with the very best Germany has to offer – cars like the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLS. A key part of the Volvo’s appeal is its understated yet classy Swedish design philosophy, evident from both the outside and the inside of the car. Buyers may like the idea of standing out from the crowd somewhat with something different from the norm.

Efficient diesel and hi-tech hybrid power are the highlights of the engine range, although the thirst for petrol leaves something to be desired. Inside, there’s no shortage of the all-important boot and passenger space, with three generously sized rows of seats and lots of room for occupants’ luggage, too.

The XC90 is also one of the safest cars on the road, scoring 97% in the adult occupant protection section of Euro NCAP’s evaluation and the maximum five-star overall rating, too.

In addition to its robust nature, it also packs a whole host of clever technology designed to stop you crashing in the first place, such as cameras that can detect pedestrians and cyclists and an automatic braking system that brings the car to a stop if it detects you’re about to run into the car in front.

There’s also the ‘Volvo Pilot Assist’ system, which uses a combination of active cruise control and lane-departure warning to almost drive the car itself in heavy stop-start traffic. The upshot of all this was a perfect 100% score for safety assistance from Euro NCAP.

Last Updated 

Friday, September 16, 2016 - 14:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
314 litres
Width: 
2008mm
Length: 
4950mm
Height: 
1776mm
Tax: 
£0 to £225

Best Volvo XC90 for... 

Volvo XC90 2.0 T8 Hybrid Momentum 5dr Geartronic
On paper, the T8 hybrid has a fuel economy figure of 134.5mpg, but the real-world figure will depend on how you drive it, and if you keep it charged up.
Volvo XC90 2.0 D5 Momentum 5dr AWD Geartronic
The least expensive Volvo XC90 is also the most sensible choice. There's plenty of performance and standard equipment. It's efficient too.
Volvo XC90 2.0 T8 Hybrid R DESIGN 5dr Geartronic
Volvo calls its sportiest models ‘R-Design’ and although in this case there’s no more power on offer than elsewhere in the range, you do get sports seats, a choice of driving modes and 20in alloy wheels.
Volvo XC90 2.0 T6 Inscription 5dr AWD Geartronic
The T6 feels surplus to requirements in the XC90 range, as it’s both more expensive and less efficient than the D5 diesel, as well as nowhere near as economical as the hybrid.

Volvo XC90 History 

  • Early 2015 Volvo XC90 goes on sale T8 plug-in hybrid version confirmed
  • August 2015 Recall of 1,688 Jan-Jul ‘15 cars for potential third-row airbag problem
  • November 2015 Sportier R-Design trim is launched and Polestar performance upgrades become available

Understanding Volvo XC90 car names 

  • XC90
  • Engine
    2.0 T6
  • Trim
    Inscription
  • Driven wheels
    AWD
  • Gearbox
    Geartronic
  • Engine
    The engine's size is given in litres. The petrol version is badged T6 and the diesel D5. A hybrid version that uses an electric motor alongside a petrol engine is T8.
  • Trim
    The trim level dictates how much equipment comes as standard. The more expensive the trim, the more you get.
  • Driven wheels
    All Volvo XC90's have all-wheel drive as standard, giving better control on slippery surfaces.
  • Gearbox
    Geartronic is Volvo's name for an automatic gearbox.

Volvo XC90 Engines 

2.0 D5 (diesel), 2.0 T6 (petrol), 2.0 T8 (hybrid)

The vast majority of Volvo XC90 buyers will probably specify the D5 diesel engine in their car, for the simple reason that it’s a great all-rounder. With a generous 222bhp on tap, it gets the big SUV from 0-62mph in under eight seconds while returning high-40s mpg. It’s well able for anything a typical SUV will ask of it, whether that’s efficient everyday commuting, long-distance motorway trips or towing a caravan or horsebox.

Indeed, the D5 is so capable that it makes the T6 petrol seem almost irrelevant. Its one calling card is that it’s over a second quicker from 0-62mph, but you pay the price for this in the shape of notably reduced fuel economy and higher annual road tax. And to really rub salt in the wound, the petrol XC90 is more expensive to buy than the diesel in the first place.

The T8 ‘Twin Engine’ petrol-electric hybrid setup incorporates some very impressive, hi-tech engineering and the results are eye-opening: up to 134.5mpg fuel economy paired with the ability to race from 0-62mph in a hot-hatch-beating 5.6 seconds. Of course, such numbers come at a price: around £20,000 more expensive than the equivalent D5 diesel version. 

Fuel

Mpg

Bhp

0 - 62mph

top speed

2.0 D5

Diesel

48.7mpg

222

7.8s

137mph

2.0 T6

Petrol

36.7mpg

316

6.5s

143mph

2.0 T8

Hybrid

134.5mpg

401

5.6s

143mph

Volvo XC90 Trims 

Momentum, R-Design, Inscription

Bare-bones entry-level versions don’t really exist at this upper end of the car market, and the least expensive Volvo XC90 Momentum is a perfect illustration of this fact. As standard, it comes with seven seats, a nine-inch touchscreen, DAB digital radio, LED lights, satellite navigation, smartphone connectivity, rain-sensing wipers, four-way power-adjustable front seats, 19-inch aluminium wheels, leather seats, brushed aluminium interior trim, rear parking assistance and a hands-free power-operated tailgate.

In the middle of the range sits the XC90 R-Design, which Volvo designates as the sporty member of the XC90 family. It’s not any quicker than the other trims, but it does have eye-catching visual additions such as body-hugging seats, metal pedals, a choice of driving modes, silver mirrors, tinted windows and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Inscription is the range-topping and most expensive XC90, offering buyers the ultimate in luxury. Key features here are even plusher leather upholstery, enhanced interior lighting, integrated sun curtain and a different design of 20-inch alloy wheels.

All three trim levels can be paired with any one of the three engine options on offer, while Volvo’s tuning arm Polestar also offers optional power upgrades for the D5 diesel and T6 petrol, taking them to 233 and 334bhp respectively for a cost of £835.

Volvo XC90 Reliability and warranty 

As this second-generation XC90 has only been on sale in the UK for around 12 months and shares virtually no components with its predecessor, there isn’t a great deal to go on when judging its long-term reliability. However, there have certainly been no horror stories as yet.

The model has had one minor recall (affecting around 1,700 examples) for a potential issue with the third-row airbags, but the major mechanical and electronic systems should be fairly bulletproof.

In common with other premium brands, Volvo isn’t a market leader when it comes to warranty cover, guaranteeing its cars for three years and 60,000 miles only. As far as large seven-seater SUVs go, the much cheaper Kia Sorento is covered for seven years or 100,000 miles.

Used Volvo XC90 

This Volvo XC90 hasn’t been on sale long enough to have entered proper used-car bargain territory yet, and it could be a while before it does so. The first-generation XC90 was a highly rated and extremely sought-after model, which kept its secondhand values very healthy.

At the time of writing, year-old XC90s were only worth around 5% less than new examples, so that trend looks to be continuing. What’s more, dealers on BuyaCar were offering almost as much money off brand-new cars, so there’s little advantage to be gained in buying secondhand just yet – unless you can find a particularly well specced ex-demonstration car at a very good price in a colour you like.

Not many T6 petrol-engined XC90s will be sold in the first place, but those that are definitely won’t hold their value as well as the D5 diesels. If you don’t do much annual mileage and therefore aren’t too sensitive to running costs, one of these could make a canny used buy in a year or two – if you can find one for sale, that is. 

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance

Price

£63,355

£61,031

£60,115

N/a

N/a

Volvo XC90 2.0 T8 Hybrid R DESIGN 5dr Geartronic estate

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4%

5%

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Best for families

Price

£46,250

£44,702

£44,070

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Volvo XC90 2.0 D5 Momentum 5dr AWD Geartronic diesel estate

Save

3%

5%

N/a

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Best for economy

Price

£60,455

£58,262

£57,290

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Volvo XC90 2.0 T8 Hybrid Momentum 5dr Geartronic estate

Save

4%

5%

N/a

N/a