Volvo XC90 The Thoroughbred Warhorse on Borrowed Time
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Quick Facts
Model spec: Volvo XC90, D5 R-Design Nav Auto Price: £44,000.00 Engine: 2.4 5-Cyl Turbo Diesel
BHP / Torque: 215 / 420 Max Speed: 140mph CO2: 164g/km 0-62mph: 7.3 seconds
Economy/Range: 32mpg combined Tax: £180/year
The Volvo XC90 has been around since 2002, design wise it hasn’t changed much in all those years and for some that doesn’t hold favor. Nevertheless Volvo’s first entry into the luxury crossover SUV market still holds favor to the eye, thanks in part to a series of evolutionary updates. For 2013, the XC90 received a cosmetic refresh that included standard LED daytime running lights and taillights, the addition of body colored bumpers, rocker panels, and new silver trim to replace the black plastic that was previously used. The interior is unchanged, and though it was considered a premium luxury interior of its day time has moved on. Yes quality soft touch plastics, and scattering of metal trim abounds, but in this class standards have improved.  The XC90 is a big vehicle, to say its merely spacious “with plenty of knee and elbow room” is an understatement. And that high riding position has you looking eye to eye with Range Rover’s. Boot space is predictably large, 615 litres allows for a third row of seats, which are best described as child friendly. If the need arises to lower the second and third row seats then the vast boot space opens up into what is better described as a cave, swallowing up sound and space-time in one go. Its 1,837  litres if you must know. Prices for the XC90 start at around £37k for the entry level ES, there are five trim levels. If you like your flagship models then this R-Design is the one to have. Only one engine is available, the 2.4 litre five cylinder diesel unit. AWD comes as standard.
“this engine and transmission configuration feel’s awkward, like its awkward to see the Queen in a shell-suit. Straight-line performance is almost flat-lined by mediocrity, that power held back by a sluggish 5 speed auto which combines to conspire a fuel economy of 28 mpg”.
The permanent electronically controlled all-wheel drive system feeds 95 per cent of power to the front wheels. If slip is detected 65 per cent of torque is shared via a second diff between the rear wheels. Volvo’s Roll Stability Control activates the brakes and cuts power to reduce the risk of roll. Volvo claims the XC90 to have a sporting bias and certainly if you go for the flagship model spec, R-Design. As well as getting kaboodles of kit, you get a specially tuned sports chassis and massive 19 inch aluminium forged alloys. In part that means all-independent suspension with McPherson struts up front and a multi-link set-up at the rear. For the most part the XC90 handles well for such a big vehicle. Yes there is roll when entering corners and at the mid-corner phase but not as pronounced as I imagined it would be. Whilst the XC90 can cope with the twist and turns of everyday driving the chassis performs best when driven at a sedentary pace. The ride is uncertain, smooth roads are a preferable driving route but encounter a rough patch of tarmac and you notice the body structure shudder and the the residual effects can be felt through the steering wheel. This in turn unsettles the ride and indicates the chassis needs strengthening. Admittedly its a very slight feeling and conversely the XC90 is solidly built inside and out. Like an immovable object hewed out of rock. The 2.4 cylinder, five-cylinder turbo-diesel powerplant  is a great engine, with 200bhp and 240Nm of torque there is just about enough power to cope with 3 tonnes of ‘Volvoness’. However this engine and transmission configuration feel’s awkward. Like its awkward to see the Queen in a shell-suit. Straight-line performance is almost flat-lined by mediocrity, that power held back by a sluggish 5 speed auto which combines to conspire a fuel economy of 28 mpg. Nevertheless the XC90 is still a classy, family friendly seven seater. The XC90’s image is up there with the Range Rover but its beaten not by the likes of the Range Rover or to a lesser extent, the BMW X5. Its beaten by it little brother, the XC60, which is altogether a more complete and much more refined package.XC90--Gallery-F
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