From £35,525
Sport spec makes for a more involving drive - and sleeker look - but without making the XC90 uncomfortable.

Our Verdict

Volvo XC90 2003-2014
The XC90 led the charge for seven seat SUVs when it launched in 2003

The Volvo XC90 is a big seven seat SUV in desperate need of modernisation, despite still having some strengths

  • First Drive

    Volvo XC90 2.4 D5

    Engine and styling refresh achieves little in updating an ageing SUV that’s practical, but at the same time noisy and crude.
  • First Drive

    Volvo XC90 D5 SE Sport

    Sport spec makes for a more involving drive - and sleeker look - but without making the XC90 uncomfortable.

What’s new?

The SE Sport comes fitted with a set of attractive 19-inch, five-spoke alloys and some mild interior and exterior tweaks. The big changes, however, are stiffer anti-roll bars, firmer shock absorbers and sharper, speed-dependent steering. 

What’s it like?

Impressive. The suspension changes make the XC90 feel stable, almost chuckable when you point it at a bend, and the ride, though firm, is still more than acceptable. Only a sensation of weight transfer as you change direction reminds you that this is a heavy car. The new steering feels much more sharp, and is pleasantly light at parking speeds. Rapid three-point turns confuse it, the assistance switching between super-light and super-heavy as you twirl between the lock-stops. Otherwise, it’s business as usual, which means great interior quality and refinement, and a characterful and acceptably powerful five-pot turbodiesel engine. 

Should I buy one?

The SE sport trim makes the XC90 look that little bit more macho — if a little pimp my ride — and the changes to the suspension and steering make the XC90 a fine drive, as well as a fine SUV.

Matt Rigby

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