Volvo XC90 makes

lighter better

Volvo XC90 R-Design, front
Volvo XC90 R-Design, nose
Volvo XC90 R-Design, front, action
Volvo XC90 R-Design, side
Volvo XC90 R-Design, rear, static
Volvo XC90 R-Design, grille
Volvo XC90 R-Design, interior
Volvo XC90 R-Design, rear
Volvo XC90 R-Design, dashboard
Volvo XC90 R-Design, steering wheel logo
Volvo XC90 R-Design, wheel
Volvo XC90 R-Design, badge

THEnew Volvo XC90 is roughly on a par with the Land Rover Discovery - except that it is half a tonne lighter.

That means it is quicker and more economical, despite having less power and torque.

And make no mistake, this huge Volvo is as imposing as a Range Rover or a BMW x5 and comes with the same upper class levels of equipment and safety at a much more reasonable price.

I recently drove the R-Design with twin turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine and standard eight-speed automatic gearbox.

It has about 225bhp on tap and decent of low speed torque, so there's good acceleration in the gears on the move, and it doesn't have to kick down too far.

But it does seem to hesitate when starting from standstill, and doesn't give real acceleration until it gets into secondgear.

There is little wind engine or road noise at speed and the ride is fantastic over all surfaces, simply soaking up everything thrown at it.

It is a little lumpy in town but that's mainly down to the weight of the huge wheels and tyres - as it is with most heavyweight 4x4s.

A real fuel consumption of 35mpg is excellent for such a large vehicle and the emissions are low for a car of this ilk.

The steering is easy and well weighted and it has decent handling in the roly way of big off-roaders, with better than average levels of grip.

Most cars like this never go off-road of course, but this one is quite capable of mud plugging if it has to, and would keep going in snow and ice where many another big car would founder.

Standard start/stop works well, the boot is vast and there is plenty of room for five or seven people when necessary.

The equipment reads like the extras list for some cars at this level, with sat nav, heated and electrically adjusted leather seats, heated leather covered steering wheel, rear parking sensors, stability and traction control, and swivelling headlights.

FAST FACTS

Price: £49,785

Mechanical: 221bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 7.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 48

Insurance Group: 32

C02 emissions: 152g/km

Bik rating: 28%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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