2003 Volvo XC90 d5 SE 2.4 turbo diesel


A very comfortable well built and safe 4x4/SUV


When I picked the car up from the dealer, the anti skid pan service light illuminated.

After a week of driving I took it to my local Volvo dealer to take a look at the steering, which was doing some funny things ie adjusting itself on bends (strange).

The Volvo dealer diagnosed that there was a steering fault, which was probably due to a worn rack. When he plugged his laptop in, it came up with 6 faults ie yaw sensors flow sensors etc.

I promptly took the car back to the dealer I bought it off, who changed the rack (no change to me of course). I also got the faults cleared bar two.

The two in question were yaw and flow rate sensors. The car is back in the dealers at the moment having the sensors replaced.

General Comments:

Other than the above faults, which are being dealt with, I cannot really complain about the XC90.

I do have a couple of issues ie pulling off from a stop start; the gearbox does tend to have an alarming delay before you actually pull away; a bit frightening sometimes!

I am told this can be remedied by Volvo with their magic box of tricks for a price. I suspect also rear vision is very limited when reversing. Thank god for the r.p.s.

I haven't owned the car that long to make a really honest opinion of ownership, but for what little time I have had the car, I have enjoyed it, except for the above comments.

I have calculated mpg around town is about 22mpg, and on a run about 32. I am hoping on the run to Devon from brum to average 35mpg+ @ 70mph. Would this sound about right?

One last thing. I must admit when driving this car I feel really safe, unlike my 94 Range Rover classic, which does tend to wallow a bit, but that's what makes a Rangie fun I suppose!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 2nd March, 2007

2004 Volvo XC90 SE D5 diesel 2.4 diesel


The best SUV yet!



General Comments:

Firstly, I need to say that our last 3 cars have all been Volvo’s (740, 940 & 960) and I thus freely admit to being biased toward the brand.

I think this is the first review of the diesel engine version and I will thus focus my comments in this area. The other reviewers have provided plenty of information on the other areas of interest you may have.

I have driven over 7 thousand miles in this car in mixed conditions, motorway, about town, school runs etc.

Considering its size this car is quite economical. About town we get 27mpg and we have achieved 33+ mpg on a long motorway run. My long term average is 28.5 mpg.

The engine is really suited to long motorway runs and copes easily when fully loaded with people and their luggage. A recent ‘booze-cruise’ to France was equally no problem.

The two weak spots I have found are:

(1) The car struggles to overtake a moving vehicle in the 40/60mph range.

(2) The car struggles to pull away from a ‘standing start’ at junctions etc.

After driving a 960 this came as quite a shock.

Quite simply, I think the car needs a bigger diesel. These engines can be chipped, but I have no first hand information on this process.

I love the car and I can put up with the sluggish performance. However I would recommend all potential buyers to carefully consider how they might feel before parting with their cash.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2004

21st Dec 2004, 08:21

I also am impressed by my D5 XC90SE. However, moving from a Jag I missed the power. Not anymore. A trip to my local Superchips agent provides around 45 more bhp and a wall of torque that rockets the car in the mid-range. No effect on fuel economy either.

£400 well spent.

Steve Hawkins, UK.

2004 Volvo XC90 Executive D5 diesel


Not perfect yet, but better than any other 4X4 we have tested


A really worrying design fault with the factory fit televisions. In essence, as they do not tilt to adjust to the hight of the viewer, anybody under 5' cannot see output from the LCD screen. The LCD screen viewing capacity/angle does not extend beyond a natural seating position for a 5'5" or so adult/child.

Volvo's reaction: sit your kids and your granny on a booster seat which we will provide free of charge.

My reaction: Do you really expect my mother in-law or my 13 year old son to sit on a booster seat on napper leather upholstery?

Volvo: The brochure does say that the screens do not tilt.

My reaction: Does it also go on to say that in order for anybody to view the screens with the front seats in a safe driving position, the rear seat occupants should kneel up or sit on a booster seat?

Volvo: Well, this is a characteristic of the vehicle.

My reaction: I did not pay £45,500 for a vehicle with a design fault that could in the event of an accident, have either my children in the rear seats or a front seat occupant put in position of great danger. I think I had better write to your manager.

General Comments:

Shame about the above, but anyhow, the XC90 is a seriously practical, stylish and safe, without the TVs in use, family car.

It made perfect sense to shift away from a fixed 7 seat bus for my wife and two children. It has been a real delight.

The interior is perhaps one of the most flexible we have ever used, seven seats to take the football team out or just two seats up front for a large load. The perfect family balance with loads of driveway presence.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th June, 2004