Volvo XC90. Yey or nay?

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  • Volvo XC90. Yey or nay?
  • big_n_daft

    Better off road than an X5 and far less offensive too.



    I would say yay, had a few 7 seaters, X5, Discovery and XC90, all have merits X5 great to drive and quick but rear boot with 7 seats up very poor, Disco has the same boot issue but obviously good off road, new one has improved engine and dash which is welcome, xc90 good boot space, drives surprisingly well, second only to bmw IMHO and I have extensively driven a Q 7 and it beats that, it would be nice if fuel economy was better but that’s the only flaw, engine gets smoother with age

    Premier Icon CHB

    I bought a 2005 model XC90 in April ( D5 Auto with DVD, towbar and winter pack). Fab car for a family. REALLY looking forward to the snow and ice so I can get to use the 4×4!
    I run a small economical car midweek and save the XC90 for times when I need to fit multiple bottoms in the car.


    I’ve had one from new. It coped with heavy snow in Wales with ease last year and got there when many conventional cars didn’t. In fact, and it’s no exagerration, there are a few people out there who owe their lives to the fact that my XC90 “got there” through the snow. That said, it’s not as competent as a LR and the standard conti tyres aren’t that good in snow (or mud). What IS good is the electronic “Winter” button wizardry on the auto gearbox that allows numpties like me to press on and keep up momentum to get up snowy, slippery inclines. Unless you’re Ranulph Fiennes, you’re unlikely to complain about it.
    Ours was utterly reliable and I agree with using specialists to service it – cheaper and (in my region) do a better job. The seats are the comfiest ever. We travelled from Cardiff to Edinburgh on one occasion, 6 up, and I couldn’t believe how good I felt at the other end – no aches or pains. In our geartronic we got high 20s mpg (never more) and it was driven very gently. Even with gentle driving, they get through the front contis at quite a rate – usually last around 8000 miles and £200 plus a tyre. The outside edge of the front nearside tyre know to wear excessively too. Nothing to do with tracking according to Volvo and other experts I’ve consulted and more to do with 2 tons scrubbing that side when going clockwise round roundabouts (XC90s on the continent scrub the outside edge of the other side I’m told, because they go around roundabouts the other way!)
    I’ve carried 7 bikes on mine. The Volve removable towbar is great and highly recommended. You can get (light) bikes on the roof by standing on the rear tyre and rear door sill, but I used to carry a small step ladder from B&Q (made it much easier).
    The premium sound system is outstanding.
    Good points: Comfort, drives more like a car than many MPVs and 4x4s, superb detail in the design (v ergonomic – switches designed to be used wearing gloves), reliable, independant dealers, tough as old boots, outstanding xenon lights (turn with steering) – not sure why but much brighter than the xenons on other cars I’ve driven. Also astonishing brakes. I once had a dozy individual pull out of a side road right in front of me. You’ve never seen 2 tonnes come to a standstill in quite such an impressive manner. Ever. Seemed to just STOP.
    Downsides: Very few. Expensive main dealer (but no more so than premium brands in fairness), MPG never in 30s (I didn’t expect that anyway), front tyre wear, slight delay when putting foot down to pull out of junction. That’s about it.
    Sorry if this sounds overly positive. We absolutely loved ours. I’ve owned a number of £40k+ cars (only mention that for the purpose of comparison) and the XC90 is by a mile better than all of them for day to day family use. I only bought it because I need to carry 6 and there are occasions when I genuinely need 4×4 ability (and ground clearance). Wasn’t expecting too much when we bought it, but it was fantastic. It’s one of those cars that don’t particularly shine in road reports but has a depth of talent to ownership and day to day ability that is often missed in the magazines. All of the people I know who have them (4) love them too and would buy another without hesitation. Ask any owner. You’ll struggle to find criticism.
    Only problem in Cardiff is that we no longer have a main dealer and that can make it a right PITA if any warranty work is required on a new car (which is why I’ve reluctantly looked at new Disco and Q7)
    Oh, and if I was getting one, I’d definitely get an automatic.
    Once saw a Scandia emblazoned one waiting to get on the ferry to IOW before Cowes week with 4 bikes on top, a massive inflatable dingy thing attached to the rear tailgate and towing a massive boat that looked about 3x the length of the XC90 towing it! Wish I’d taken a photo.
    Brilliant cars.


    Tinners: the standard conti tyres are well known for having poor life expectancy. Nokian WR G2 or General Grabbers (Q7 owners fave) grip as well/better (in winter), are half the price and last 18-20k ……. Unless you live in Milton Keynes it seems!
    Not had any abnormal tyre wear but I dont live on a roundabout 🙂
    Whats the highest you’ve turned the sound system up? I got to nearly 3/4 once but my ears started bleeding!


    Swapped my Disco 3 for a new XC90 D5 auto in March & really pleased with it. Easy-ish to get bikes on the roof by standing on the back seat with the door open & easily fits 4 bikes up there.

    Fundamentaly I don’t think the XC90 is as well designed as the D3, but reliability really let the D3 down (not just my experience) and the new D4 is massively expensive.

    Not sure how I’d feel about a manual box, I guess it’s personnal preference but I really think these cars suit autos. Used manuals are like hens-teeth so I guess most people agree.

    Only problem I’ve had…… my wife decided to modify the side or ours against a metal post in the school car park. She drives past it twice a day FFS, so how the hell she ‘forgot’ it was there I’ve no idea!!

    Mine is still on the original Conti’s and has just hit 12k miles.. maybe I drive like a girl!


    Thanks Tinners, it’s good to hear something positive about them. I still can’t decide….aggghhhh!

    Premier Icon iamtheresurrection

    We have an 07 D5 in 185 guise.

    The SE we have is specced pretty well, but if you go for leather don’t forget to spec heated seats or you’ll hurt the residual. Same with manual gearbox really.

    The auto box takes as age to pull away from stand-still, but you get used to it… Ours is at 38k miles now and we now need the rear discs doing. Otherwise, only the solanoid on the box has gone wrong.

    Seats are very comfy, it’s fine in the snow and it’s plenty big enough inside.

    As others have said, find a local servicing company to avoid regualar £500 services. We get about 26 mpg driven fairly conservatively. The £400 VED is a bit of a git, but you know what you’re getting into when you buy it.

    I’d consider a low mileage two year old car, as we did. A year on the warranty to cover niggles, and a big saving as the residuals crash in the first year. We paid about £21k for a 17k mile, one owner minter from a main dealer with everything we wanted apart from Bluetooth…

    We really like ours.

    Premier Icon jamesgarbett

    Volvo used prices seem high at the mo, maybe the winter holds prices up?

    I was offered one yesterday for £20K, 3 years old, 50k miles, Sport SE spec

    If the OP knows someone who is a member of the caravan Club, they’ve reviewed the XC90 D5 SE Lux Premium geartronic (new) in their monthly magazine this month and it comes out pretty well.
    Might be a useful read for him if he can see a copy.


    Buy a normal estate and fit or keep a spare set of snow tyres in the garage! Seems to me that a sh!t load of things go wrong with these cars and they cost a fortune to fix. With depreciation and running costs it would be cheaper to buy a second house and just use taxi’s.


    My mate bought an XC90 as he needs to fit in 3 baby seats. He loves it but regrets buying a petrol version, it has a shocking drink problem!


    Very expensive car to run! Heavy on fuel and gets through pads and discs too quickly. Volvo dealerships can be very hit and miss as well.

    Premier Icon CHB

    Just back from a day driving in the snow in mine (kids and dog sledging to Roundhay). The way it handled the ice was amazing. Drove up the sheet ice outside Rothwell Park too. I only got mine in april, so this was my first chance to try its 4WD properly.
    As a family car they are brilliant. MPG for the D5 auto is just over 30. It’s a fantastic “place” to be in. Comfy heated leather seats, fab stereo and DVD’s for the kids. Towbar for the bikes. The perfect active family car.
    I do my own maintenance. A set of rear discs, pads and handbrake shoes was just over £150 from FRF Volvo delivered. Not cheap, but they are a casting work of art…vented disc , with housing for the shoes built in.

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