It’s a mixed bag here. At times we’ve been extremely impressed with the way the Volvo goes about things. At least, we were on the XC90’s launch, during which we only had access to cars with optional air springs.

So far, in the UK, we’ve had only a brief drive on air springs. For most of our work, including all of the road testing on the example you see here, we’ve been running with the steel/composite spring set-up.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
The XC90 steers consistently and, at three turns lock to lock, has the kind of steering speed that those coming from an estate car will be entirely familiar with

Air offers an improved high-speed ride as well as a better secondary town ride over this version, which here involves more patter than we’d have expected on a car in this class.

It’s not uncomfortable – far from it – but it’s just that, when you think a BMW X5 is going to be the most dynamic and pseudo-sporting car in this class, it’s unusual to find that a Volvo is challenging it on a B-road for being the firmest and most intrusive car in the class across high-frequency inputs. There’s more body and ride isolation in a Land Rover Discovery, by far.

The Volvo is rather more competitive when it comes to body control. It feels like a large passenger car, rather than an out-and-out 4x4, absorbing bumps and crests without float or wallow.

It steers consistently and, at three turns lock to lock, has the kind of steering speed that those coming from an estate car – or an X5 – will be entirely familiar with. Its responses are consistent and linear as well.

Likewise, agility and handling will make those who arrive from a family car feel at home, and those who come from the old XC90 will think it’s a borderline revelation. The new XC90 grips well and changes direction without fuss – if also without any great feedback.

Nearer its limit, it’s safe and predictable, exactly as a Volvo should be. There’s no great enjoyment to be had here, but there is plenty of security and maturity. Just be sure you can live with the ride of the steel/composite-sprung car.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Luxury SUVs

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar E-Pace 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    20 April 2018
    Can Jaguar’s compact SUV bring flair and dynamic polish to a fast-growing class?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    20 April 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?
  • Lamborghini Urus review 2018 hero front
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    The supercar maker's new 4x4 is massively capable wherever it goes, while being extremely conspicuous and costly while it does it
  • Skoda Kodiaq
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    High-spec seven-seater Kodiaq begins its family life with a lot to prove — for Skoda and SUVs
  • Ford Focus RS Race Red Edition front
    First Drive
    18 April 2018
    Ford drafts in some tasty extras for this limited-run Focus RS swansong edition