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The XC90 has been a hugely successful car for Volvo, sitting proudly as a flagship to its model line-up since it was launched in 2002.
The second generation XC90, launched in 2015, was the first of the current-generation Volvos we’ve grown to love: sleek, stylish and appealing to a younger demographic for the first time, well, ever. And with good reason, too: a fresh new family of smaller-capacity, four-cylinder engines and some innovative safety technology.
The model you see here is an R Design, which means a sporty body kit, 20-inch alloy wheels and gloss black detailing. Finished in optional Bursting Blue metallic my test car stood out for all the right reasons.
The engine here is a 2.0-litre, four cylinder mild-hybrid diesel. It has 235PS, 480Nm and a 48-Volt battery to provide assistance and save fuel. Power goes to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. 0-62mph takes 7.6 seconds, which is a little way behind the Mercedes GLE with its more powerful, six-cylinder engine.
My test car had the standard suspension setup, and behaved surprisingly well on the road: comfortable on the motorway and yet reasonably composed on a twisty, undulating A-road. It makes you wonder whether the optional four corner adaptive suspension is worth the £2,150 it costs.
The Volvo XC90 has simple elegance
The interior design may be five years old, but it remains one of the nicest, most well-appointed cabins of any car currently on sale. It may not have the glitz and glamour of the GLE when it comes to colour-changing ambient lighting, but the XC90 has simple elegance.
There’s high-quality leather throughout – from the dashboard to the door cards – and metal inlays/finishers provide contrast in both colour and texture. The portrait oriented touchscreen is simple and easy to use, even if not the most sophisticated system out there. And the digital instrument cluster is a traditional design, with limited customisation options.
The XC90 is a vastly practical car. I may only be 5ft 7in tall, but I could sit in the third row seats, with sufficient head and leg room as to not be squashed. There’s plenty of boot space even with all seven seats in use. And it’s always comforting to know that a Volvo is a car that will keep your family safe.
The XC90 R-Design with the B5 diesel engine costs from £56,935. With a few options selected my test car was £64,585. It may not have a big engine like the GLE, but the XC90 remains one of the strongest all-rounders in this segment.