The new Volvo XC90 B5!
The new Volvo XC90 B5!

Caroline drives the 2020 Volvo XC90.

Volvo is quickly becoming a leader in SUVs. Taking all the experience the brand garnered building practical family cars, namely estate cars, the Swedish brand has turned their magic touch to SUVs.

The new XC90 spearheaded Volvo’s spectacular revival in 2015 and was the first vehicle to be built on the new Volvo in-house designed and built chassis, using its own in-house designed and built engines. The XC90 was closely followed by the XC60 and the XC40, a family of Volvo SUVs all proving to be formidable competitors in their respective segments.

So what’s new for 2020?

And what an experience the Volvo XC90 is. For the 2020 model year, the XC90 has received a refresh with new styling details, more equipment, upgrades to petrol-electric plug-in versions and the Irish debut of a new mild-hybrid powertrain – the B5 diesel mild hybrid tested here.

Priced from €77,970, the XC90 firmly occupies the large premium SUV segment. This is a stunning car inside and out. The XC90 is beautifully designed and makes an elegant statement wherever it goes. Now there are new grille and lower front bumper designs and the air intakes also have a fresh look. New alloy wheel designs have been introduced for 2020. All XC90 versions now come with roof rails and dual exhaust tailpipes as standard.

The interior of the 2020 Volvo XC90
The interior of the 2020 Volvo XC90

R-Design models (from €82,363) get a new black high-gloss finish for the exterior trim, including the door mirror casings, window frames and roof rails. There are also new paint options, including Thunder Grey, Pebble Grey and Birch Light shades.

Inside the 2020 Volvo XC90

The cabin has been designed with a simple layout built around the 9″ tablet-like touchscreen with voice-activated control, navigation system and access to the Volvo On Call connected services platform. It’s also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The XC90’s cabin is a calm, reassuring and comfortable place to be. It is a generous seven seat SUV with great leg- and headroom all round. Even in seven seat mode, the XC90 still seems to have more space to spare, while there’s a huge 775 litres in five seat mode.

In Ireland, the new XC90 range is available in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription versions along with Pro upgrades for each. Standard equipment includes 19″ alloys, LED headlights with active high beam, power-operated tailgate, parking sensors, rear parking camera, leather-faced upholstery, powered driver’s and front passenger seats, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control with ‘CleanZone’ air-quality system,12.3-inch driver’s information display, City Safety, including automatic emergency braking with Steering Support, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Run-off Road Mitigation and Run-off Road Protection.

R-Design highlights include the gloss black mesh front grille, door mirror casings and window surround, sports seats with leather and nubuck upholstery, front-seat cushion extensions, sports leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, sports pedals, black headlining and 20″ alloy wheels with a diamond-cut and black finish.

The new XC90 is available as a mild hybrid diesel or a petrol electric plug-in hybrid
The new XC90 is available as a mild hybrid diesel or a petrol electric plug-in hybrid

What are my options?

Buyers in Ireland can choose from the new ‘B5’ mild-hybrid diesel with 235 hp or the ‘T8 Twin Engine’ petrol-electric plug-in hybrid with 390 hp. Every XC90 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

My test car was a Volvo XC90 B5 R-Design with a list price of €82,863. It is a fantastic combination. Volvo’s established 2.0-litre 235hp diesel engine is combined with a 48-volt battery, a KERS kinetic energy recovery system and an integrated starter generator. Volvo says the system improves fuel economy by up to 15 per cent in real-world driving and produces lower NOx emissions than the outgoing D5 XC90 it replaces. It’s a supremely quiet and refined set up. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 8.2l/100km.

The other engine option is the XC90 T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain, which has been revised for 2020 with an increase in the high-voltage battery’s capacity from 10.4 to 11.8 kWh. This increases the car’s electric-only driving range to about 46 km.

The Volvo XC90 is priced from €77,970 in Ireland
The Volvo XC90 is priced from €77,970 in Ireland

Driving the new Volvo XC90

On the road the Volvo XC90 is good. Very good! It’s a smooth drive with excellent ride quality. Refinement is top notch. The XC90 has surprising agility and has been engineered exceptionally well to make it one of the best, most effortless drivers in the large SUV segment. It’s certainly not trying to be sporty but you do feel very much in control and in command behind the wheel of the XC90.

The Volvo XC90 is big, commanding and luxurious. Yet on the road it has the kind of agility associated with a smaller vehicle. The B5 is super refined and suits this behemoth very well. Interior quality and ambience is up there with the best on offer in this segment. Volvo probably wouldn’t say this in a press release, but you will feel calmer and more relaxed behind the wheel. I did!

The Volvo XC90 is a masterpiece in the world of large SUVs.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volvo XC90 B5 AWD Automatic R Design
Price: 
€82,863 (XC90 from €77,970)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
235 hp
Torque: 480 Nm
0-100km/h:
7.8 seconds
Top speed: 220 km/h
Fuel consumption (WLTP): 
6.9-7.5l/100km
CO2 emissions NEDC2:
155g/km (WLTP: 179-195g/km)
Motor tax: 
€390 per year

Caroline in the Volvo XC90!
Caroline in the Volvo XC90!