Added 8th November, 2019
By Jonathan Crouch
This second generation XC90, the first of the brand's modern-era SPA architecture cars, marked a return to Swedish charisma and an emphasis on all the things that the Gothenburg brand does best - cool restrained style, real-world practicality and class-leading safety. To be specific, this is a large luxury SUV with a look and feel that's refreshingly different to that on offer from obvious rivals. A car that'll seat seven adults more comfortably than any other in its segment. And a model that in terms of crash protection, takes its responsibility for your family's safety to a whole new level.
This XC90 boasts other important attributes too. The brand's chosen four cylinder 2.0-litre 'Drive-E' engine formula offers everything you need and nothing you don't in this class of car. As a result, if you're looking at a conventional variant like the D5 diesel model that most original buyers chose, you'll find no other AWD rival from this era that's more efficient. Opt instead for the top T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid version and, as we've said, you'll get yourself the world's cleanest and most powerful SUV from this period.
Of course, this Volvo's not perfect. There are still sharper-handling choices and more capable off roaders in this sector from this period. In balancing these virtues though, this XC90 set its own class standard and in doing so, established a family benchmark amongst luxury SUVs that rival of its time struggled to match. Company founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson would have liked this car. More importantly though, if you're shopping in this segment, we think you will too.