XC90 B5 Petrol AWD Momentum Pro
carmakers race to take their
model line-ups all-electric theres
a new trend emerging embracing
is a fine example of this green-hued
alternative and makes a convincing
case for driving a mibrid...
THE MILD HYBRID SET-UP in the B5 XC90 takes the form of an electric
motor and small battery. The good news is that you don't need to plug it in
to charge the battery up because it self-charges using the energy generated
when braking or slowing down. As well as greening-up emissions and fuel consumption,
this provides a 'free' boost to the 2.0-litre petrol engine whenever necessary.
Paired with an eight-speed autobox, Volvo's B5 mild hybrid drives just like
a normal car.
Swing open the large driver's door, climb aboard, slide behind the wheel and
you'll find that the handsome XC90's Scandi-style cabin is as classy and it
is inviting. Measuring five metres from stem to stern, this spacious SUV is,
whenever you need it to be, a genuine seven-seater for real-world adults.
a big beastie, the XC90 needs a strong heart. Which it gets in the shape of
a 246bhp four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine that's also good for a muscular
258lb ft of torque, ensuring an ample sufficiency of 'grunt' from the get-go.
Prod the throttle firmly and it accelerates confidently for those for
whom every second counts, off the line to 62mph is clocked in a hearty yet pleasingly
unruffled 7.7 seconds; and you'll only need to call on half of the B5's 134mph
top speed to cruise British motorways.
beastie, the XC90
needs a strong heart.
Which it gets in the
shape of a 246bhp
petrol engine thats also
good for a muscular
258lb ft of torque,
ensuring an ample
sufficiency of grunt
from the get-go.
Prod the throttle firmly
and it accelerates
confidently with 62mph
in 7.7 seconds...
All XC90 engines now come paired with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic
transmission and in this mild hybrid version it makes getting a move on a satisfying
and civilised affair, particularly in the cut-and-thrust of town traffic. Incidentally,
to instantly switch between D and the Manual mode (or M back to D) you simply
nudge the selector lever south; after that, flicking the lever to the right
lets you perform up/down shifts with light fingertaps.
Adding to the B5's driveability is Volvo's Drive Mode which offers a choice
of five distinct driving programmes. If economy is a priority then, using the
tactile, milled thumb-wheel behind the gear selector, engaging Eco gives you
a clear shot at bettering our test 29mpg; or you could opt for Comfort (recommended!),
driver-personalised Individual, Dynamic, or Off Road.
Seven nights and eight days with 'our' B5 saw a real-life test average of 28.9mpg
(as near as makes no difference to the official combined figure of 29.1-33.6mg)
which, seven-seating size, autobox and all-wheel drive powertrain considered,
is to be expected but is nonetheless still easy to justify if you want to enjoy
all the good things offered by an XC90.
Whether you're the driver or riding shotgun, once settled in either of the XC90's
firmly-bolstered sports-style front seats you'll quickly agree that they're
so good you'd like to take one home with you. They soothe a tired body like
few others, draining away every ounce of stress and tension as the miles pass
timelessly by until you arrive revitalised at your destination.
As you'd expect to find in a prestige SUV, the front seats are power-operated
with electrically-adjustable extending under-thigh cushions, powered multi-directional
lumbar support, three-stage heating and three-setting memory recall. If you're
not a fan of silky-soft Nappa leather then Volvo will, at no extra cost, upholster
your seats in a vegan-friendly, top-grade, wool blend Slate-and-Charcoal coloured
cloth that adds a tailored elegance to the cabin ambiance.
pleasure doesn't end with the seats because there's a heated (three-stage),
great-to-grip, leather-wrapped multifunction wheel. Sitting commandingly behind
the avant-garde-esque steering wheel, the driving position is imperiously commanding
with a clear view down the bonnet.
doesnt end with the
seats because theres
a heated and
the driving position
commanding with a
clear view over the
bonnet; in fact, in all
And it's not just the tasteful upmarket trim finishes that mark out the XC90
as an upscale player but also the wealth of high-tech features starting with
the nine-inch, high-definition, portrait-format touchscreen that's home to Volvo's
Sensus infotainment and navigation system if you can use a smartphone
then you've got this handled.
Almost everything is controlled via the multifunction steering wheel or the
central touchscreen but don't worry because your voice can stand-in for your
fingertips Sensus understands hundreds of plain English phrases from
'Set temperature to 22 degrees' to 'Listen to Queen' (take note, Harry!).
Another handy feature is the Volvo On Call app which, among other things, lets
you, via your smartphone, smartwatch or tablet, remotely activate the climate
control so that the cabin is already warmed (or cooled) when you open the door.
Naturally you need never remove the key fob from your pocket or handbag, either
to unlock, start, or lock the XC90.
Directly ahead of the driver is an active 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
that's easily customisable (just press the appropriate steering-wheel button).
A large digital speed readout is shown above the posted speed limit (that flashes
discreetly should you unwittingly stray over). Also indispensable is an easily-seen
speed camera alert and a head-up display that includes your road speed, posted
road signs, and navigation info).
If you are going to waft around in a cosseting seven-seater SUV you may as well
indulge in some quality listening while you're at it. While the standard-fit
330-watt, 10-speaker audio system is fine, dedicated audiophiles might like
to shell out extra for a 600W, 13-speaker harman/kardon set-up or even a concert
hall-grade 1,400W, 18-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium HiFi.
Equally appreciated is a WiFi hotspot for up to eight devices to connect to
the Internet (installed web apps include Local Search, Spotify, Tunein, Weather,
and Yelp). More traditional travellers will be content to listen to the Radio
4 on the DAB radio. Also included are Bluetooth (with hands-free voice control
functionality), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For the pilot there's crystal
clear 3D navigational mapping with reassuringly timely and accurate spoken directions.
Destination input can be via your voice, fingertip or even received from your
smartphone (if it's easier you can even sync to your Outlook Calendar to set
this family-ferrying SUV can't help but take up a fair chunk of tarmac, placing
and parking it is pretty much a breeze. That's thanks to the generous glasshouse
as much as to the parking sensors at the nose and tail plus a brilliant 360-degree
surround-view camera system. You can 'cheat' by letting the automated 'parking
jockey' do it all for both parallel and 90-degree parking (this parking pilot
comes as part of the optional Xenium pack that includes a powered panoramic
glass tilt-and-slide sunroof and the surround-view parking camera).
either the second or third
row but in the XC90 you
dont have to give up
anything. Three centre
row passengers can all
enjoy plentiful foot
and legroom along with
a fist of air above their
heads; the three middle-
row seats also fold
and slide fore and aft
individually and their
backrests recline so
everyone can personalise
their own comfort
In-cabin storage is good with a deep central tunnel tray incorporating interlinked
dual-use cupholders, a sizeable bin with USB ports capped by a wide armrest
between the front seats, large bottle-holding door bins with space to spare
for other stuff at the same time, a decent-sized lit and lined glovebox, a biggish
multi-use coin-box in the fascia, and a handy netted pouch close to the front
passenger's right knee.
Momentum Pro specced models come with plenty of kit highlights include
keyless start and entry (all four side doors), dual-zone climate control with
CleanZone air-quality and pollen filter, hands-free power-operated tailgate,
multicolour theatre cabin lighting, electric parking brake with auto hold, one-shot
power windows, tinted glass, powerfolding heated and auto-dimming door mirrors
(on demand and automatically on locking), frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror,
speed limiter, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Safety tech is comrehensive and includes a full suite of airbags and inflatable
curtains that protect all three rows of seats (plus an airbag for the driver's
knee). The City Safety system features pedestrian, cyclist and large animal
detection along with front collision warning and fully automatic emergency braking
(including at junctions a Volvo world-first). Unsurprisingly, the XC90
has been awarded a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.
Other items include Driver Alert with Lane Keeping, road sign recognition, auto
lights and wipes, active bending automatic LED headlights with fast-acting auto
dip/main beam switching, LED front fogs with cornering function, heated washer
nozzles and headlight cleaning, anti-whiplash head restraints, height-adjustable
front belts, tyre pressure monitoring, stability and traction control, and Hill
Descent Control. Reassuring too is the SOS system that automatically contacts
the emergency services in the event of a crash; or you can do it yourself manually
to request breakdown assistance.
Legal hands-free driving is not yet on the statute books but the XC90 comes
close with its Intellisafe Assist. This semi-autonomous drive technology helps
with the steering (up to 80mph) and takes care of the accelerator and brake
inputs required to keep the car within lane markings and at the desired cruising
Lane Protection is another valuable 'assist' that automatically provides steering
assistance should you accidentally drift out of your lane, guiding you back
in and out of the path of any oncoming vehicles. And if the XC90 ever unintentionally
leaves the road, Run-off Road Protection prepares for the worst. Owners can
also double-down on safety by adding Intellisafe Surround (Blind Spot Information
System with Steer Assist, Cross Traffic Alert with Autobrake and Rear Collision
XC90 is not too
soft to rumble:
the steering is well-
judged, body control is
very well managed
and the chassis achieves
a tidy balance between
comfort and roadholding
courtesy of its road-
biased 4x4 system
that serves up plenty of
grip when hustling along
back- and B-roads.
It may be big but it goes
where you point it...
Seven-seaters often involve compromising either the second or third row but
in the XC90 you don't have to give up anything. Three centre row passengers
can all enjoy plentiful foot and legroom along with a fist of air above their
heads; the three middle-row seats also fold and slide fore and aft individually
and their backrests recline so everyone can personalise their own comfort 'bubble'.
Lounging is most definitely on the menu. And if it's maximum privacy your passengers
long for there are pull-up mesh sunshades built into the rear doors.
An integrated pop-up child booster seat for the centre spot can also be specified.
You'll find the must-have cupholders in the drop-down centre armrest, air vents
in the B-pillars and useful net pouches on the front seatbacks. Oh, and unusually,
there are height-adjustable outer seatbelts.
Not all seven-seaters are made equal some struggle to accommodate even
smallish children. Not those in the XC90's third row, which can be used by near-six-footers
and teens. The individual sixth and seventh chairs are the same size as those
in the middle row and each has its own outboard armrest, cupholder and lidded
storage, and is accommodating enough to ensure longer trips can be realistically
The XC90's ride is nicely composed. Even rolling along on the optional and very
swish diamond-cut Matt Graphite 20-inch alloys (19-inchers are standard), the
ride on the standard passive suspension set-up (active air suspension is optional)
is well-judged and nicely cushioned. The fab seats help too, as does the quiet
and calm cabin atmosphere, all adding up to contented passengers and journeys
that just seem to fly by.
However, the XC90 is not too 'soft' to rumble: the speed-sensitive steering
is well-judged, body control is very well managed and the 'Touring' chassis
achieves a tidy balance between comfort and roadholding courtesy of its road-biased
4x4 system that serves up plenty of grip when hustling along back- and B-roads.
It may be big but it goes where you point it.
And when the likes of Storm Sophie sweep in the XC90 feels a very safe place
to be. Flooded roads will rarely hinder your progress either, courtesy of 212mm
of ground clearance that lets you wade through 450mm deep water. All good news
what with gloomy climate doomsayers predicting ever more extreme weather. True,
the XC90 is decidedly more luxury SUV than off-road warrior but should you choose
to stray from the beaten track there's a proper off-road driving mode along
with Hill Descent control to keep things shipshape.
third row seats steal
every last bit of luggage
space. But not the XC90.
Even with the third row
in use theres 356 litres.
With the rearmost pair
folded away theres
a huge 1,007 litres;
drop the middle row
chairs as well and youre
faced with a cavernous
1,856-litre loadbay made
even more practical by
a seamless, completely
flat cargo bay floor...
Many seven-seaters' third row seats steal every last bit of luggage space. But
not in the XC90. Even with the third row in passenger use there's still 356
litres. With the rearmost pair folded away under the boot floor there's a huge
1,007 litres available; drop the middle row chairs as well and you're faced
with a cavernous 1,856-litre loadbay made even more practical by a seamless
and completely flat cargo bay floor.
More than all that you get impressive versatility thanks to seats three to seven
being easily configurable in numerous permutations. And with no load lip and
a wide tailgate with fast-acting hands-free opening and closing, loading even
bulky objects is delightfully hassle-free. You also get a flip-up boot divider,
semi-automatic rollerblind load cover, and a removable cargo/dog guard. Those
with towing on their agenda can haul a braked 2,400kg.
With its cool design-led looks the XC90 is a stylish family 'hold-all': it's
safe, secure and good to drive and adept at transporting any combination of
family and gear. Volvo's latest mild hybrid powertrain is a definite asset but
above all else this is a well-mannered premium SUV intended to make life as
smooth and stress-free as possible. A marvellously relaxing refuge in a rowdy
world. ~ MotorBar
Volvo XC90 B5 Petrol AWD Momentum Pro
Maximum speed: 134mph | 0-62mph: 7.7 seconds | Test Average: 28.9mpg
Power: 246bhp | Torque: 258lb ft | CO2: 165g/km