Comparisons with a departed Land Rover Defender and confused by a fiddly key fob
29 February 2016

That the Land Rover Defender I was running has only recently returned to its maker means the swap from one long-term test car to another has been rather more protracted than usual, with each continually reminding me of its respective merits.

Chief among the Volvo XC90’s is that it’s a car keen to keep you comfortable for lengthy amounts of time. Its first-rate seats are thoroughly comfortable and matched by a steering column with more adjustment than you’d need.

The fuel range is easily over 500 miles, too. Funny what a difference that makes. When the fuel gauge on the Land Rover (no more than 300 miles between fills) reached halfway, it’d begin playing on my mind that, on the kinds of journey I usually do, I might have to plan to refuel. In the XC90 I can just drive, letting my need for tea and Jaffa Cakes dictate when I stop.

Not that the Volvo isn’t without foibles, but there’s nothing that’ll continually annoy me, I think. Usually I’m not a fan of an electric tailgate and I’d prefer a manual one here, but the XC90’s closes so quickly that actually 
I don’t mind it, especially as you can open or close it from the key fob, or 
via a button on the dashboard.

Ah, yes, the key fob. It’s a neat-looking thing, no question, and no, technically you don’t need it at all, because the XC90 has keyless go. But, and maybe it’s habit, I prefer to lock and unlock a car via a button, and the Volvo’s tiny ones are perched stupidly down the side of the fob, rather than clearly and plainly in the middle. It looks classier, but they’re impossible to make out in the dark. And should you accidentally press the button on the opposite side of the ‘unlock’ button, it sets the alarm off because it’s the emergency button - an emergency button that you’d have no chance of finding quickly in, y’know, an emergency.

Elsewhere, the Volvo is well versed for emergencies. I’ve turned down the sensitivity of the City Braking system and the Lane Keep Assist is now off entirely, because both irritate me. But there are other, handier security features I’m fond of.

The Volvo will sense if someone is about to run into the back of it and ease off its brakes and tighten the belts to mitigate whiplash. Those same sensors look sideways if you’re backing out of a parking space and tell you if anything is coming (for those despicable people who park nose first in parking bays).

Parking either way round reminds you that the Volvo is comfortably sized to seat seven (I haven’t used the rear pair of chairs yet). Its length is rarely a problem, but it’s an extremely wide car, at 2008mm, and, although the mirrors are large and there are 360deg cameras, in multi-storey car parks you rarely forget its girth. A Defender, by comparison, is narrower than a Ford Fiesta. But you can’t have everything, and it’s a price that such luxury and interior spaciousness demand.

Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum

Price £45,750 Price as tested £51,770 Economy 33.9mpg Faults Electronic niggles Expenses None

Previous Volvo XC90 reports

First report - the Volvo XC90 joins our fleet

Our Verdict

Volvo XC90
The new Volvo XC90 costs from £45,750

It has big boots to fill and talented rivals to face. Is it up to the task?

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Comments
4

29 February 2016

What is the point in having an emergency button on the keyfob, and has anyone actually used one in anger? Glad to see someone else who thinks Lane keeping assist is useless. Needs to be automated and predictive (ie can see several cars down the road and knows when you will want to pull out to overtake rather than relying on you to indicate) before it will be useful.

29 February 2016

The old XC 90 official mpg about 33 and achieved approx this, noticed the new one about official approaching 50mpg actual 33.9 mpg some progess 0.9mpg over the last 12 years it must be the reduction of one cylinder and 500cc.

29 February 2016

I've had keyless cars for 8 years, why oh why would you still want to fumble for a key (which can be safely inside a zipped pocket) to press the lock button? Just press the door button handle to lock it! It's this resistance to change (even from car based journos) that means we don't have flying cars yet!!!!

29 February 2016

For me it's a pain in the a***. We're forever misplacing the key, I've got out and left the car running once because I've just chucked the key on passenger seat and thought I locked the car with the handle button, I've dropped the wife off and driven off whilst the key remained in her pocket. But worst of all when ever you get home you have to dig the keys out of pocket anyway to unlock the front door.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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