Currently reading: Volvo XC90 long-term test report: versatile load-lugger
It's a big car, with a lot of talents, and there are very few practical shortcomings

It’s a measure of the Volvo XC90’s appeal that more than 11,000 miles have appeared on its odometer since it arrived at the start of the year. 

If there’s a more versatile car currently on the Autocar fleet, I’ve yet to drive it.

Its space and refinement, though, do mean the XC90 is wide.

I know I’ve complained about that here before, and still do under my breath every time I try to climb out of it in a multi-storey car park. But there’s no denying that its size helps its practicality.

The other day I set about making a bicycle rack, to make room in my garage for… I don’t know, perhaps another motorcycle or a small sports car.

Which meant the XC90 had to swallow eight 2.4-metre-long battens and three 1.8m-long corrugated plastic roofing panels.

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Turns out the front passenger seatback doesn’t fold flat — a pity but hardly a surprise, given that it reclines electrically — but the wood fitted easily enough.

The seatback looks eminently scratchable, so a blanket or sheet is definitely in order if you’re going to use what is, after all, a £50k executive car as a DIY tool.

A colleague obsessed with Ikea tells me a flat-pack wardrobe won’t fit, but given some rope to tie the tailgate, I suspect you could find a way.

If going flat meant that the passenger seat was less comfortable, I’d take the seat as it is, because both front seats are splendidly comfortable over a long distance.

The middle-row seats are, too — and for the first time the other day, I had cause to put in place the rearmost seats, which are also well sized.

Their full-sized head restraints flip up easily and automatically drop down when you release the seats to lower them.

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And should you be loading wood or lots of passengers, you can even drop the car on its air suspension, via a button just inside the boot lid, to make loading easier.

And hey, who knows, maybe soon I’ll find myself having to climb in through the boot if I there’s no space to get the doors open.

Read our previous reports

Practical requirements

First report

Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum

Price £45,750 Price as tested £51,770 Economy 31.8mpg Faults Electronic niggles Expenses None

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