Oops. The Volvo XC90 D5 has had to leave the Autocar long-term fleet halfway into its supposed yearlong test because, in less than six months, 18,000 miles had appeared on its odometer — and a reading of 40,000 miles on a year-old car wouldn’t be great for its residual value.
Sorry, dealer network. What can I tell you? One, I drive a lot and, two, if you are covering a lot of miles, the front perch of an XC90 is a pretty choice place from which to do it.
So the D5 had been to Geneva once, the Alps once, Paris once and Wales more times than I can remember. Mostly it was with me at the wheel, but such is the appeal of the biggest Volvo that any time a colleague needed a ‘useful’ car, it was usually my inbox that pinged with the request.
The feedback from everyone was much the same, gratifyingly. First thing to know: this is a good car. Its front seats are terrific, the middle and rear rows likewise, albeit with correspondingly less head and leg room as you move farther back — but still, really, fine even in the smallest rear chairs.
Pop the back five seats down and you have something approaching a small van with a floor that can be lowered via (£2150) air springs. The front passenger seat doesn’t fold flat, but with it yanked forward and tilted as far as it’ll go, the car can still take a 2.4-metre-long plank.
Ergonomically, it’s great inside, too, with a good touchscreen (although a couple of augmenting buttons wouldn’t hurt) and serious clarity on all switchgear and dials.
The 2.0-litre diesel is a touch audible (newer ones are better, says Volvo) and the ride a little lively (likewise, engineers say). The XC90 is part of a new wave of Volvo models and, learning as it goes, Volvo is continually making updates.
Many of those are on the silver car you see here: a T8 Twin Engine that, gratifyingly, has replaced the D5 on our fleet, so we get to experience a rather different powertrain. But for no more than 8000 miles, they say. I’ll be careful. Oops. I’ve done 2000 already. Anyway, more on the T8 next time.
Temperature gauge issues
It had been a hot day so I was surprised to find the Volvo’s external temperature gauge reading -3deg C, albeit climbing rapidly.
It sometimes gives a wacky reading, but never before to that extent. I think early XC90s, the first Volvos to get a new infotainment system, have some gremlins. We will soon find out if later cars are better.
Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum
Price new £45,750 Price as tested £51,770 Economy 37.0mpg Faults Back fell off the key fob, passenger heated seat wouldn’t stay on, would often ‘lose’ sight of key Expenses None Last seen 22.6.16