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.