The XC90 is the largest of Volvo’s three SUVs. There are four grades: Momentum,
Inscription, R-Design and the Recharge plugin hybrid.

The current model dates back to 2015, while Volvo has been upgrading the tech and
gradually replacing the original powertrains with hybrid or plug-in hybrid setups.

One of the car’s defining features is the large, vertically mounted tablet-style infotainment
touchscreen from which the driver is able to control most of the functions of the vehicle.

Being a Volvo, safety and more recently reduced engine emissions are a given and
receive a high priority as you work your way through the list of equipment.

Distinctive styling sets the XC apart from competitors. The lines are clean and sharp, with
lights that are unlike anything else on the road.

Prices start from $86,990 plus on-roads for the B5 Momentum, $96,990 for B5 Inscription,
$98,990 for the B6 R-Design, and $116,990 for the Recharge Plug-in Hybrid.

Our R-Design test vehicle was also fitted with a number of accessories including the
Advanced Air Cleaner ($500), Climate Pack ($700), Metallic paint ($2000),
Perforated/Ventilated Nappa Leather Accented Seats ($3100), Air Suspension with Four-C
Active Chassis ($3600) and Lifestyle Pack ($6650).

Add ’em up and it brings the total price of the car to $117,040 plus on-roads.

The Climate Pack adds headlight cleaners, heated rear seat and a heated steering wheel,
while the Lifestyle Pack comprises tinted rear windows, panoramic sunroof and the
Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System.

Standard kit includes Nappa leather, metal mesh inlays, four-zone climate air, and power
adjust heated driver and front passenger seats.

It has 22-inch double-spoke alloys, with automatic lights and wipers, auto-dimming rear
view mirror, reverse parking with front and rear sensors, active cruise control, LED lights
with automatic high/low beam, head-up display, road sign recognition, power tailgate,
satellite navigation, wireless phone charging and road sign speed limit recognition.

The piece-de-resistance is the Bowers & Wilkins system, with 1400 watts and 15
speakers, including a really cool dash-mounted centre tweeter.

Four room modes including ‘Concert hall’ and ‘Jazz club’ allow you to recreate the
acoustics of a specific room inside the car.

Rounding out the infotainment is a 9.0-inch vertical touch screen, smart phone integration
with wi-fi hotspot, DAB+ digital radio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, in-car web apps,
audio controls in steering wheel and navigation with voice control.

The mild hybrid has a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, with support from an electric motor. It
produces 220kW of power and a useful 420Nm of torque, the latter between 2100 and
4800 rpm.

The all-wheel drive system is a part-timer, with drive available to all four wheels on
demand via an eight-speed automatic.

Stop-start save fuel when the vehicle comes to a stop.

Volvo XC90 scores a five-star safety rating, with seven airbags, autonomous emergency
braking, lane support systems and speed assist systems.

There’s a rear-view camera, excellent overhead camera, front and rear park sensors, built-
in rear child booster seats, along with blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, lane
departure warning and lane keep assist.

So, here’s the problem. XC90 comes with the same powertrain options as the smaller
XC60. The XC90 weighs in at 2090kg, another 204kg more than the smaller SUV.

Throw in more passengers, remembering that XC90 is a seven-seater — and all that extra
weight could put a serious dent in the larger SUV’s performance.

Be that as it may, XC90 still seems to get along just fine — at least ours did.

With a 71-litre tank, claimed fuel consumption is 8.2L/100km and it produces 186g of
carbon per kilometre, and it takes 95 or 98 RON unleaded. We finished with 10.1L/100km
after 460km of mixed driving.

The electric motor provides boost for the petrol engine off the mark, but does not power
the wheels directly.
Volvo calls it the E-charger and it is designed to compensate for the lag normally
associated with turbocharged engines (the time it takes for the turbo to spool up).

Having said that, the required shift action, requiring two tugs on the lever before it
engages, can be a pain when you’re in a hurry.

There are settings to firm up the steering and air suspension, as well as an off-road mode,
but once again they’re fairly superfluous because nobody is likely to take this car off road.

The air suspension can alter ground clearance from 212 to 252 mm and for the most part
works automatically.

As a place to spend time the cabin is quiet and comfy, with leather, climate air, metal mesh
aluminium decor and an impressive sound system (worth the extra outlay).

There’s plenty of leg, head and shoulder room, with a high-tech, configurable instrument
cluster and large, easy to use touchscreen that controls pretty much everything.

The three second row seats adjust individually as well as sliding forward and aft as
required, with an integrated child centre booster seat. The two seats in the third row cater
for passengers up to 170cm in height.

On a down note, this model misses out on the latest Google operating system that can be
found in XC40 and XC60.

Servicing is every 15,000km or 12 months and two pre-paid service plans are available:
three years/45,000km for $1500 or five years/75,000km for $2500.

The Volvo XC90 is a likeable car, with plenty of features and prestige. The safety story is a
strong one and Volvo is taking climate change very seriously.

It’s reflected in its engine choices, with a target to fully electrify its fleet by 2030, with EVs
earmarked to account for 50 per cent of sales by 2025.

Looks: 8
Performance: 7
Safety: 8
Thirst: 6
Practicality: 7
Comfort: 8
Tech: 8
Value: 7.5
Overall: 7.4


XC90 B5 Momentum, 2.0L turbo 183kW mild hybrid, $86,990
XC90 B6 Inscription, 2.0L turbo 183kW mild hybrid, $96,990
XC90 B6 R-Design, 2.0L turbo with E-Charger 220kW mild hybrid, $98,990
XC90 Recharge PHEV, 2.0L turbo+supercharged 233kW plug-in hybrid, $116,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Volvo dealer for drive-away prices.

Volvo XC90 B6 R-Design, Mild hybrid, 2.0L four-cylinder turbocharged engine with E-
Charger, 8sp auto, AWD

Capacity: 2.0 litres
Configuration: 4-cylinders in-line, turbocharged, 48-volt mild hybrid
Maximum Power: 220kW at 5400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 420Nm from 2100-4800 rpm
Fuel Type: 95-98 RON petrol
Battery size: 0.4kWh
Range: 866km
Electric range: 81km
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 8.2L/100 km
CO2 Emissions: 186g/km

8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 4953 mm
Wheelbase: 2984 mm
Width: 2140 mm
Height: 1773 / 1771 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 71 litres
Kerb Mass: 2090 kg

Front: 345 x 30 mm ventilated discs
Rear: 320 x 20 mm ventilated discs

5 years/unlimited kilometres (8 years battery)


About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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