Volvo XC90

The all new Volvo XC90 - photos by Kyran O'Brien

The all new Volvo XC90 – photos by Kyran O’Brien

There aren’t many needs the New Volvo XC90 can’t meet writes Geraldine Herbert

What is it?  The launch of Volvo’s XC90 in 2002 was a game-changer for the Swedish brand and transformed them from sensible and safe to an innovative premium brand. Now thirteen years on Volvo has finally launched the eagerly awaited second generation XC90

Who is it aimed at? The Volvo XC90 is ideal for rural or urban families alike, well-suited to country roads it is still just as civilised around the city.

Styling? The exterior is unmistakeably Volvo with clean and purposeful styling and oversized grille. The larger bonnet and distinctive new rear lights are all design signatures that will be mirrored across the range. With an imposing road presence, the XC90 stretches almost five metres long.

Under the Bonnet? There is only one diesel engine available the D5, a 2-litre with 225bhp and 470 Nm of torque. Rivals may have better engine options but the D5 is impressive and with emissions of just 149 g/km and a fuel economy figure of 5.7 l/100km (49.5 mpg), the XC90 is also a very frugal SUV.

What about inside? Slipping into the driver’s seat  you are surrounded by soft leather and Scandinavian wood and will feel completely pampered. We particularly liked the   portrait-style touch-screen which works just like a tablet computer and makes the entire dash virtually button free and simple to use. The cabin is modern, spacious and uncluttered. Unlike many rivals, it is also a genuine seven-seater. The third row of seats can comfortably accommodate adults and will more than adequately separate squabbling siblings.

The XC90’s interior is the most luxurious to have been designed for a Volvo.

The XC90’s interior is the most luxurious to have been designed for a Volvo.

On the Road? On-road ride comfort remains as good as in the previous version and it is beautifully hushed and refined, capable of soaking up bumps like mere air bubbles on the road. Although it feels smaller than its actual size it is still a big car and you will notice some roll on corners and bends. The steering is a little light and the automatic gearbox is not the fastest to respond, but overall it is supremely smooth.

And Safety?  One of the reasons we love the XC90 is that it is crammed with safety features including two world firsts; a run-off road protection package so if your car goes off the road the seat belts are tightened to keep the driver and passengers in position and also an auto brake system that will automatically stop the car if for some reason you turn in front of an oncoming car  –  its almost as good as a personal bodyguard.

Options?. The XC90 is sold with three trim levels , Momentum, a sporty R-Design, and the range-topping Inscription. All are well equipped and the entry level Momentum trim gets you 19-inch alloy wheels, Cruise Control, hill start assist, leather seats, Bluetooth, DAB, Roof Rails and rear-parking sensors . There are also a number of optional packs, our test car included an additional safety pack, the Intellisafe Pro Pack, an Xenium Pack, with a range of parking aids, and a Heads-up Display Winter Pack. The list price of the AWD Inscription Geartronic test car was €76,950. The optional equipment and packs added almost €10,000 to the overall price, bringing the total to price of our test car to €86,780.

Will it break the bank?  Being the swish and sophisticated  creature it is, the Volvo XC90  isn’t for those on a tight budget. Starting prices are €70,950 but good fuel consumption and emissions mean running it shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive.

Verdict? The Volvo XC90 is one of the most impressive cars we have driven this year. It is comfortable, classy, yet extremely practical, and the seven-seat cabin is MPV-like in its versatility. Space in the front two rows is plentiful and unlike rivals, space in the third row is just as good. As with the original version, Volvo has set new standards for safety, versatility and interior space. With a starting price of €70,950, the XC90 is expensive but if you are one of the lucky ones to have a generous budget it would be hard to recommend a better family car.


Why you’ll buy one? Space; Safety; Practicality

Why you won’t? Engine choice



Audi Q7 – prices starting from €72,125

VW Touareg – prices starting from €69,675


Watch our video review below (Video Filming by Kyran O’Brien)



Volvo XC90 D5 (225hp) AWD Inscription Geartronic  

Engine: 1969cc,  225bhp @4250, 470Nm @1750
Max speed:  220km/h
0-100 kph:  
7.8 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) :
  149g/km ( €390)
Model price range: €70,950 – (Test Car –€86,780)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : Not yet tested
Fuel type:  Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 5.7 l/100km (49.5 mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down): 314 litres (1868)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Length: 4950mm
Width: 2008mm
Height: 1776mm
Wheelbase: 2984 mm


For more information check out the Volvo Ireland website or their Facebook page 


Geraldine Herbert

26th August, 2015


Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring Editor and Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK), EuroNews and to RTÉ, Newstalk, TodayFM, BBC Radio and Vigin Media. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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