1 Jul 2003
VOLVO joined the off-roader boom with the XC90, a soft-road wagon, in mid-2003.
Initially two automatic-only variants arrived – a 2.5T and T6.
And while the XC90's smaller relation, the XC70 (formerly known as the Cross-Country), was one of Australia's crossover pioneers and is also sold as a "luxury SUV", the XC90 is a larger, more purpose-built proposition.
XC90’s safety roll call is high, including Roll Stability Control seat pretensioners for all seven seats a child booster cushion side curtain airbags for all three rows and PremAir, which converts low level ozone into oxygen. It also scores a five-star Euro NCAP result.
Based on a stretched XC70 platform - versions of which also underpin the S60, V70 and S80 - XC90 is just 90mm longer than the donor car at 4798mm.
Highly specified in standard form, the entry-level five-speed Geartronic 2.5T features a lightly turbocharged 2.521-litre 20-valve five-cylinder transverse engine producing 154kW at 5000rpm and 320Nm of torque from just 1500rpm.
Disappointingly, the four-speed Geartronic 2.9 T6 misses out on the five-speed auto of its less expensive 2.5T, but adds a twin-turbocharged 2.922-litre 24-valve inline transverse six-cylinder delivering 200kW at 5200rpm and 380Nm of torque at 1800rpm.
Both employ power-assisted speed-sensitive rack and pinion steering, independent MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension systems with anti-roll bars.
Ventilated discs are standard all round, as is ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, and Roll Stability Control.
Both vehicles have 218mm of ground clearance, a 28-degree approach angle, 20-degree break-over angle, 25-degree departure angle, 2250kg (braked) towing capacity and 72-litre fuel capacity.
On the safety front, there are head restraints and three-point seatbelts with pretensioners and anti-submarining for all seating positions, dual-stage front airbags, side curtain airbags, Volvo's Side Impact Protection System and Whiplash Protection System and Park Assist.