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Owner Review

2018 Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription review

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After what seemed like an eternity, we’ve got our new car. Two years ago, I started the search for a replacement of our venerable 2007 XC90. The choices that were afforded to us just never lived up to what Lars had provided for us. Yes, the kids called the old Volvo Lars.

Things like the Everest, Prado, Patrol and Discovery had been sampled – all coming up short as a replacement in more than one area. We needed a new car as a work commuter, school bus, sports bus and, most importantly, a tow vehicle for a horse float.

Björn arrived about a month ago and is proving very popular. He’s been loaded up with seven people on many occasions. Going to the beach, Big Bash League matches and to friends' houses. Everyone loves the magic carpet ride of the air suspension. So much so, I am not getting access to the car as my wife, who doesn’t like driving big cars, has started taking Björn Ulvaeus to work every day.

Set it to Dynamic mode, however, and Björn becomes a different beast, more like Björn Ironside. Okay, maybe not, but you get my drift. Throttle response is instantaneous, the ride is firmer, but not harsh with minimal body roll. The steering is slightly heavier but responsive to the touch. I haven’t bothered with setting up Individual mode yet as I can’t see the need... Yet.

The 360-degree camera is brilliant and clear, making parking a breeze, and so far so good there are no scuffs on the 21-inch wheels because of it. The versatility and comfort of the cabin are second to none in the price range. No need for powered seats that might break, as Volvo uses good old levers, hinges and people power.

Our car, being a demo, is packed with a few extras: panoramic roof, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel and the most important feature, the Bowers & Wilkins stereo system. Words and YouTube will never be able to convey the clarity and power of this system. If you’re in the market for an XC90 and like music, do yourself a favour and tick the box.

While I’m on the subject, the infotainment system Sensus is fast and intuitive to use. My kids, who are 12 and seven, are all over it.

Safety is obviously top-notch in the XC90. Not much to say about safety really, except it’s not intrusive and works as advertised. Brilliantly. The 'since 1959' stamped into the seatbelt buckle is a nice touch.

Pilot Assist II on our car works great, but I’m not sure I’ll be using it a lot as I actually like driving. Also, we haven’t yet been driving in heavy traffic or on a long-distance drive, so you never know.

Although only two litres, the diesel is more than enough for our needs. And here is the only downside to the whole car: fuel economy isn’t mind-blowing. It’s still way better than Lars, who had a 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel, but not light-years ahead. I guess the weight and around-town driving is the issue, plus a bit of 'testing the acceleration' for family and friends isn’t helping. Saying that, it’s very quiet and the eight-speed gearbox is seamless.

Overall, we are extremely happy with Björn, whichever one he is.