28: Volvo XC90 – the frontline in the reinvention of the Swede

Top cars for 2018: Massive and a little intimidating it’s also gorgeous

 

That the XC90 would be the first of an entire new breed of Volvo, we already knew coming in.

A new chassis (flexible enough to be used under all Volvos but for the smallest V40), new engines (all 2.0-litre, all-turbo, all-Swedish designed and built) and a new paymaster underwriting the costs (Chinese giant Geely, which now also owns Proton, Lotus, and London Taxi).

The thing is, we didn’t quite realise just how appealing it was going to be. The XC90 is massive (and can actually be a bit intimidating in small car parks), as comfortable as it is big, has a gorgeous cabin (with its big iPad-alike touchscreen, still the best infotainment setup around) and lots of seats.

Seven to be exact, and unlike most rivals, you can keep the extra seats even if you go for the T8 plugin hybrid, so good is Volvo’s packaging. You’re better off, for now, in a 190hp D4 diesel though, which is mostly refined and smooth, although not as quiet as some rival engines.

Actually, refinement is the XC90’s only Achilles Heel - it’s a touch rough-edged over bumps, and a little noisy on main roads.

Best model: D4 Inscription AWD

Prices start from: €65,700

Finance package from: €599

CO2 emissions: 49-149g/km

Sum-up: The best Big Swede since Henrik Stenson.