Volvo XC90 2019 d5 r-design (awd)

2019 Volvo XC90 R-Design long-term review: Farewell

Rating: 8.4
$75,850 $90,200 Dealer
  • Fuel Economy
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The Volvo XC90 is fast becoming a bit of an oldie in the large luxury SUV segment, but we think it's still a goodie.
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It's time to draw our last conclusions on the Volvo XC90 R-Design, which we've had on long-term assignment at CarAdvice. In particular, it's a 2019 Volvo XC90 D5 R-Design with a list price of $101,900.

During the time of our tenure, the price has increased up to $102,990 in the change to MY20 models. Some small details in optional specifications have changed, as well.

R-Design specification is a bit of a sporty nod within the XC90 range, in terms of design. The 2-litre diesel gets a slight bump in power and torque (173kW/480Nm to 177kW/500Nm), although we aren't sure if that's enough to call the R-Design warmed up.

Compared to the $94,990 Momentum specification, you get a bigger 12.3-inch infotainment display, 20-inch alloy wheels (22s are a no-cost option), leather steering wheel and gear shifter, nappa leather seats, and lots of R-Design details inside and out.

There is some additional safety gear in this specification, as well: blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear autonomous emergency braking.

The engine in question here is a 2.0-litre, twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel that makes 177kW and 500Nm running through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels. Official fuel use is listed at 5.9L/100km on the combined cycle, but we haven't been able to meet that number.

While we nudged into the sixes and mostly sevens on straight highway runs, you’re better off budgeting on around 9.0L/100km on your own combined cycle. It’s a small engine pushing a fairly large vehicle, after all.

On the plus side, that small motor combines well with the eight-speed gearbox for daily driving duties.

Power delivery is sometimes less than smooth as the gearbox picks a ratio to deliver the go-forward you are looking for. It's a rare occurrence, however. The D5 driveline gives the XC90 an all-important air of refinement, with enough poke for most situations.

If diesel isn't your jam, you can opt for a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-litre petrol T6 R-Design motor, which is good for 246kW/440Nm. Or, spend big on the plug-in hybrid T8 that claims a combined total output of 300kW.

The interior is one that grows on you in the long term. There are plenty of quality touches and finishes around the place, and the general ambience of simplicity works in terms of practicality and aesthetic.

The infotainment display, measuring in at 12.3 inches' worth of portrait goodness, has been a good companion over the long term. It’s easy to get your bearings, despite having only one button.

Swiping and prodding are responsive, and feel natural. The important boxes of digital radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and native navigation are all ticked.

One favourite element about this display is the crisp and detailed 360-degree camera system that it portrays.

The XC90 is certainly a big vehicle, but good visibility, light steering and this great camera system make it easy to navigate into and out of parks and other tight spots. Which is a good thing, because those 22-inch wheels are going to hit gutter well before any tyre does.

And if you don’t feel confident, there’s also a self-parking function for reverse parallel and perpendicular moves. Surely, it would be difficult to butcher a park in this car.

The display is also bolstered by a digital instrument binnacle, which has a variety of adjustable displays at the ready. It's functional and practical, along with adding that premium feel to the driving experience.

Ditto the knurled aluminium dials, and the tasteful combination of carbon-fibre look and piano-black materials.

Looking and feeling good is one thing, but the fact that seven adults can fit in with relative comfort gives a nod to the available space of the XC90's cabin.

We were pragmatic and stuck the smaller humans into the third row, which is not outright spacious but certainly good enough.

The least comfortable was probably old mate in the middle of the second row, but once again it's equal to other SUVs and passable for short trips.

Because there is air suspension and 500Nm low in the rev range (1500–2500rpm), the Volvo didn't particularly suffer from having somewhere between 550 and 600kg of human beings aboard. For a family SUV, this is an important point.

The Volvo plays to its traditional strength of safety well, with the full suite of active and passive safety technology accounted for.

Unlike other makes and models, we didn't experience any 'false positives' with the XC90, suggesting it's a well-tuned system. The semi-autonomous driving mode, Pilot Assist, is also impressive in its accuracy and ease of use.

The XC90 does a great job of hiding its age, in a segment where flashy new models are permanently just around the corner.

Considering it came out in 2014, the XC90 can still hold up its head as a refined and resolved luxury SUV that can stick a good fight to the more mainstream luxury player. It's still certainly worth consideration, especially now that capped-price servicing has come into play.