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V8 Volvo sounds great, but dig deeper. Image by James Jenkins.

V8 Volvo sounds great, but dig deeper
Volvo has freshened up the XC90 range for 2007 with a couple of new engines and the addition of a Sport trim.

   



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#02#The XC90 has stormed the SUV market. Almost unannounced Volvo sneaked in and pulled down the trousers of its rivals in a manner most unexpected for the brand. First time, right out of the box, the XC90 shook rivals to their hubs with the image, quality and pure common sense practicality for those in the market for a genuinely usable family-orientated SUV. It has stayed a solid competitor in the market place and has recently received some midlife tweaks to ensure it stays that way.

One significant change is the new range of power plants; a heavily revised D5 diesel, a 3.2-litre petrol, and the all new V8 we test here, which also sees service in the new Volvo S80. Other changes to the 2007 XC90 include cosmetic tweaks and it remains an imposing and handsome large SUV. The interior continues to be the epitome of Volvo-ness - spacious, clean, practical, logical and supremely comfortable.

The new 311bhp, 4.4-litre V8 is remarkably compact, yet has the strength to push the XC90's not inconsiderable bulk to 60mph from rest in under seven seconds and on to a maximum of 130mph. It isn't rapid by any means, but for a two-tonne plus SUV it is more than adequate; excessive perhaps? Interestingly, the 4.4-litre V8 boasts only 10% more torque than the D5 engine, and bearing in mind the likely uses of the XC90 (such as the school run, a motorway cruise or towing) it would seem the more humble power plant is a more sensible choice.

Disregarding this fact for now, the V8 has impeccable manners; whisper quiet at idle and around town, the automatic box shifts early and imperceptibly through the ratios, though it takes on an altogether more vocal personality when extended. Kickdown response is rapid and relatively urgent and accompanied by a deep growl from the other side of the firewall. #p##02# Road manners, particularly at a cruise, are on a par with many executive saloons. Yes, the XC90 is more susceptible to being caught out in a crosswind, but in normal conditions it is quiet, cosseting and extremely effective at mile-munching. The ride is good and the handling, taking into account the mass, is decent, although you wouldn't describe it as fun; the BMW X5 still shades it in this area. Where the XC90 excels is at a long-legged gallop; a motorway cruise is a smooth and serene experience as the big motor rotates at around 2000rpm with an almost silent hum. Certainly the wind noise, well suppressed in itself, exceeds the thrum from the engine.

In fairness, pretty much all background noise, and more besides, is drowned out by the twelve speaker Dynamic Dolby Surround premium sound system, a set-up that offers truly great quality sound in terms of depth and volume and perfectly complements the Volvo's relaxed cruising gait, whether emitting the soothing sounds of Mozart or the throbbing bass of House.

The basic XC90 is a very capable car, and there is no doubt that there is a small, but definite market for this range-topping model. However, one has to question the worthiness of the V8 against a lesser-engined model given the cost implications of not just purchase but also day-to-day running. The added pace, of debatable value to the majority of users, is at the cost of serious fuel consumption. No doubt those who can afford to buy the car would not quibble about mpg, but the other cars in the range do much the same job, albeit at a slightly slower pace, for considerably less cost.

My personal choice, and the XC90 I believe to be the pick of the range as an all-rounder, would be the D5 diesel-engined version. You would need to have a pathological hatred of derv to dislike the D5, whose lack of outright pace is easily compensated for by the more real worldly useful fuel consumption, adequate performance, excellent road manners and glacial depreciation. The Sport does offer better appearance, improved handling and more pace, but at a price, a price beginning to encroach on the territory of the likes of the Range Rover, an arguably more desirable badge in what is an image conscious and status affirming niche. #p##03# The Volvo XC90 remains at the top of the class, but the V8 Sport isn't the best version you can buy.
2007 Volvo XC90 UK range overview

- Volvo XC90 D5 AWD (185PS) S: £32,820
- Volvo XC90 D5 AWD (185PS) SE: £35,320
- Volvo XC90 3.2 AWD (238PS) SE Geartronic: £36,328
- Volvo XC90 D5 AWD (185PS) SE Sport: £37,270
- Volvo XC90 D5 AWD (185PS) SE Lux: £37,420
- Volvo XC90 3.2 AWD (238PS) SE Sport Geartronic: £38,278
- Volvo XC90 3.2 AWD (238PS) SE Lux Geartronic: £38,428
- Volvo XC90 V8 AWD (315PS) SE Geartronic: £44,225
- Volvo XC90 V8 AWD (315PS) SE Sport Geartronic: £45,950
- Volvo XC90 V8 AWD (315PS) SE Lux Geartronic: £46,325

Dave Jenkins - 27 Jan 2007



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2007 Volvo XC90 specifications: (SE Sport V8)
Price: £45,950 on-the-road.
0-60mph: 6.9 seconds
Top speed: 130mph
Combined economy: 20.9mpg
Emissions: 322g/km
Kerb weight: 2102kg

2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.

2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.



2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.
 

2007 Volvo XC90 Sport. Image by James Jenkins.
 






 

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