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First drive: Volvo XC90 D5. Image by Volvo.

First drive: Volvo XC90 D5
Volvo's predicted top-selling version of the new XC90 put to the test.

   



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Volvo XC90 D5

5 5 5 5 5

Its drivetrain might not be as show-stopping as the T8 Twin Engine version's, but the Volvo XC90 D5 remains a stunning large SUV - and as the Swedish firm expects three out of every four XC90s sold in the UK to be powered by this twin-turbo diesel, the D5 is arguably the exemplar of the range.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum
Pricing: XC90 range starts from 45,550
Engine: 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: all-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic transmission
Body style: five-door, seven-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 149g/km (VED Band F, 145 annually)
Combined economy: 49.6mpg
Top speed: 137mph
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Power: 225hp at 4,250rpm
Torque: 470Nm from 1,750- to 2,500rpm
Boot space: 451- to 1,868 litres

What's this?

The sensational new Volvo XC90, a car we've also tested in T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid format where it floored us with a Range Rover-rivalling performance for significantly less cash, but here the SUV is powered by a 2.0-litre, twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel. The D5 makes 225hp and a strong 470Nm, with returns of 149g/km and 49.6mpg. Neither of these get close to the T8's remarkable on-paper figures, which means there's more to pay on VED for the D5 and it doesn't anything like match the super-cheap BIK and monthly lease figures of the T8, but in reality it'll probably be every bit as frugal and a tad easier to live with, as well. To that end, Volvo expects at least 75 per cent, if not more, of UK XC90s to be D5s.

Nevertheless, as we tested our D5 in entry-level Momentum trim, you'd be forgiven for thinking it might feel like the poor relation of the three-model launch range, a car shorn of the luxuries that wowed us in the T8. But you'd be wrong, as the D5 has all the visual and equipment benefits of every new XC90 - so it has the same sumptuous interior with the tablet infotainment screen, the same quality materials used for the dash (even the sliding lid for the centre console cubby holes is made of individual slats of wood veneer) and the same lovely exterior looks with seven-seat capability within. It's the attention to detail that really appeals, though, with the wood trim 'handed' for the side of the car it's on (the grain all goes one way, depending on which side you're sitting) and the exquisite knurled metal controls for the audio volume and drive mode selector present and correct. What it does do without is the sparkly Orrefors glass gear lever of the T8, but it does get the clever rotating knob to control the XC90's ignition and shut-down.

How does it drive?

Easily as well as the T8 Twin Engine. The D5 retains the splendid balance between rigid body control and supple damping that allows the XC90 to be both a refined cruiser on the motorways and a tidy machine in the twisty stuff. It's also lighter than the T8, given it doesn't have an extra motor and ancillary hardware in the form of lithium-ion battery cells to cart about, but even this doesn't upset the Volvo's composure when it's lightly laden in terms of occupants/cargo and is traversing rough roads. The D5 just gets on with the job of flattening all surfaces into glassy nothingness, or at least that's what it feels like for the passengers.

The D5 engine is a real peach too, smooth and muscular, and plenty capable of keeping a hard-driven T8 in sight. The 470Nm of torque is delivered well down the rev range to get the XC90 accelerating, while the power curve segues neatly to provide some higher engine speed performance to keep the keener driver interested. The long and short of it is that the D5 engine is plenty quick enough for most day-to-day needs - and it has a tiny added bonus in that the brakes are a touch easier to modulate and less grabby than those in the hybrid, which has to provide regenerative braking. Like the petrol XC90s, the D5 never reminds you that it is 'just' a four-cylinder engine powering a large amount of metal. Instead, you marvel at the creaminess of the diesel unit and wonderful eight-speed auto gearbox, which summons up ratios in an instant. The D5 is an utterly compelling SUV in the same vein as its petrol-powered siblings.

Verdict

Shorn of the 'fairy-dust effect' of having a smarty-pants hybrid drivetrain like the T8, the D5 proves that the XC90 is an extraordinary vehicle no matter what's under the bonnet nor lurking within the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) chassis. With an interior as tactile and rewarding as the higher-spec models, and a drivetrain that's beyond reproach, there's absolutely no shame in going for the 'entry' XC90, because it's still a cut above practically everything else you can buy in this sector.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

5 5 5 5 5 Passenger Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 4 Mar 2015



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2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.

2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.



2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Volvo.
 

2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Volvo.
 

2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Volvo.
 

2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Volvo.
 

2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Volvo.
 

2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Volvo.
 

2015 Volvo XC90. Image by Volvo.
 






 

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