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Test drive: Volvo XC90, an excellent all-rounder large luxury SUV

By Lisa Curtiss on 16th March 2020

Few if any large SUV’s have the presence, space, safety creds, drivability and class of Volvo’s flagship 7-seater and much acclaimed XC90. Unlike some of its more expensive rivals, there’s nothing overtly flashy, unnecessary and over the top – just a confidence in its clean lines, quality of build and capability.

Substantial and attractive, the T6 AWD Inscription model on test graced our drive in an elegant Savile Grey, with Amber and Charcoal Nappa soft leather seats to match. The cabin is a calming uncluttered place, with super comfortable seats and lots of head, shoulder and leg space.

Quiet too – unless you’ve got squabbling kids in the car, with barely perceptible wind, engineand road noise. The boot’s more than capable of carrying a monster Waitrose shop, half a team’sworth of sports kit, or plenty of bags for a relaxing weekend away. All dash controls are intuitively easy to use, and again, there’s nothing superfluous – just everything you’d actually need.

Out on the road the XC90 is super spritely for its weight and size. The 310bp T6 petrol we drove, coupled to a super slick 8-speed auto box, can pull out a very respectable 6.5 second 0-62 mph sprint and is responsive throughout all the gear range.

Its Active Four-C chassis with four corner dampers and electronic air suspension makes for a ‘just-right’ ride and the steering’s nicely weighted and precise. Living in the country the car certainly got its tyres muddy and tackled slippery and rough forest tracks with ease, and also made comfortable work of a few major motorway trips to Wales and back.

This car is actually the perfect vehicle for touring – decent to drive, excellent visibility throughout, ability to achieve your optimum driving position, supportive and comfortable seats, all-cabin climate control, a great sat nav and cracking Bower and Wilkins system with smartphone integration including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Safety wise too – as you’d expect there’s features like blind spot warning, steer assist, cross traffic alert with auto braking and rear collision mitigation. The 360 degree parking camera is superb too and City Safety is fitted as standard which detects and helps you avoid cyclists, large animals and pedestrians.

We’ve included some options in our review, but a wealth of other navigation, emergency, safety and entertainment features come as standard too. It’s little wonder Volvo’s XC90 has notched up countless awards and fans world-wide. Look out for news on new model year versions with mild hybrid engines and upgradescoming soon.