Volvo XC90 B5 Diesel

Inscription

Volvo XC90, front
Volvo XC90, front
Volvo XC90, front
Volvo XC90, side
Volvo XC90, rear
Volvo XC90, rear
Volvo XC90, rear
Volvo XC90 B5, 2019, side
Volvo XC90, interior
Volvo XC90, interior
Volvo XC90 B5, 2019, rear seats

YOU don't have to be a landowner, or even a country sports fan to own an SUV. In fact, you're more likely to be a high-flying city worker or a full-time mum.

The style that has captured the hearts - and the wallets - of British drivers comes in all shapes (though mainly box-like) and sizes and are able to double up as company car, off-roader and even limousine depending on engine choice, brand and dimensions.

For a long time, the top of the tree was occupied by Range-Rover, but more and more manufacturers have nibbled away at its dominance and today Rolls, Bentley and Aston Martin tend to be the most aspirational acquisitions.

Among the second tier of luxury SUVs alongside Range Rover, Audi and Mercedes, is a similarly established maker with a solid reputation for building rugged cars - Volvo.

Largest of the XC range is the XC90, available with a dizzying array of engines from petrol hybrid, plug-in hybrid to diesel hybrid, which was the version we drove in B5 form which last year replaced the D5 diesel.

Enough of corporate claptrap, this model manages to blend good real world economy with lusty performance and solid towing ability - all keystones of the successful high-rider.

Despite having been around for five years, the XC still looks fresh and dignified, yet it is immediately recognisable as a Volvo.

Many will be surprised that the large body with a bulk of 2,185kg is propelled by mere two-litre engine. But it delivers as much power as almost anyone could ask for - 235bhp to be exact - and with 480Nm of torque, there are huge reserves of mid-range thrust. Emissions are kept to a modest 154 grams.

For such a cavernous vehicle, economy is pretty miserly with 44.1mpg being the combined average. Even pottering around town most owners will return better than 35mpg.

As you would expect the B5 Diesel has full time four-wheel-drive and an eight-speed sequential automatic gearbox is standard fitment.

The cabin is a thing of beauty, striking the right balance between everyday practicality and luxury. Swedish styling with splashes of real wood and plenty of high grade leather make it a relaxing yet businesslike area.

Main focus of the facia is the iPad-like central screen which operates most of the functions. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once mastered works easily and logically.

Four zone electronic climate control and chilled glove box are standard features in the Inscription version driven here as is a large tilt-slide glass sunroof.

The amount of cabin space is vast. Five six-footers can sit comfortably and there's a final row of seats for children or occasional adult use. Luggage space is similarly generous with a rear boot capable of absorbing no less than 690 litres of cargo.

It may not be as sporty to hustle round bends as some its German rivals, but the ride is of the magic carpet variety and the general level of refinement is first rate with just a distant murmur from the diesel engine despite it having just four cylinders.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC90 B5 Diesel Inscription

Price: £57,335

Mechanical:235bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 7.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 44.1

Insurance Group: 42

C02 emissions: 154g/km

Bik rating: 38%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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