What is it?
Unfortunately for Volvo, it’s a perfect illustration of how fast class standards improve at the premium end of the car market: it’s the latest Volvo XC90.
This car has been given a the mildest of late-life refreshes for 2011. There’s a little bit of extra chrome on the radiator grille, some more widely colour-coded bumpers, some new watch-style instruments inside, and a new ECU for the car’s 2.4-litre five-pot diesel engine which liberates an extra 15bhp and 15lb ft of torque, as well as allowing for EURO V exhaust emissions compliance.
Otherwise, this is the same practical, slightly retiring SUV that we’re already well familiar with – which is both good and bad news.
What’s it like?
197bhp and 310lb ft is just enough to motivate this two-tonner. Dig deep and this Volvo will move along at a reasonable enough pace, but it’s still more sedate than the latest premium diesel 4x4s. More important, however, is that the XC90’s six-speed automatic gearbox, engine and four-wheel drive system have been reconfigured for quicker response from a standstill – so, unlike the original car, it doesn’t seem to take such an eon to pull away at a roundabout.