I like mine, but understand the issues about the standing start and the mid range. What is superchip and what does it do to the warranty??
10 April 2005, Hi, I am the author of the review.
I have read on the Volvospy website that Volvo is preparing to launch an upgraded D5 diesel engine very shortly. If you are interested in buying a diesel XC90 I strongly recommend you hold out for the new D5 engine.
I have only a few issues that really bother me
1. The parking brake is a foot operated, sudden release, similar to Mercedes and proves to be very awkward for hill starts.
2. Reverse parking is difficult due to poor visability - Park Assist is essential.
" (2) The car struggles to pull away from a 'standing start' at junctions etc."
This will be for two reasons: the D5 on has a wee bit of lag that is accentuated in the heavy XC90. Also, the auto switches into neutral when coming to a stop to save wear and tear. Therefore, when you hit the accelerator, you have to wait for the box to switch back into Drive!
Volvo can update the software to stop this (it's an option that is on by default), also tuning the engine gets rid of the lag too. However, tuning has inevitable consquences for insurance..
Most reports say the latest D5 doesn't have this problem..
From the volvospy.com forums.
3 years on. We still have this car. Even with hindsight I would not change a single word of my original review. The MPG remains the same and the underpowered engine is still my biggest grip.
So what's gone wrong.
1) windscreen washer pump (replaced under warranty.
2) Interior door handles have fallen off (driver and front passenger doors). The door handle fixings are of very poor quality.
What's not so good.
1) Tyre wear is high.
2) That engine.
My wife had a accident and walked away with no injuries. The car needed 2 new doors and the other car was a write-off.
Very happy with safety. This is one safe car.
In March 2008, we will have had the car 4 years and we are both very happy customers. It's not a perfect car, but it is very good.
I agree with all your comments about the first-generation engine being underpowered and I thank you for your warning about door handles. I'd like to add one further word of warning. The XC90 is not an off-road vehicle. It copes very well with damp fields and slightly muddy tracks, but don't be fooled into thinking it's a Discovery. We took out 2004 manual diesel through some quite serious mud (up to the bottom of the doors). Initially I was impressed by how it coped. It slid a little but the drivetrain was impressive and the engine managed to pull it up steep slopes (albeit with a heavy throttle). However, back on road and 20 miles later the engine packed up entirely. Water had got into the air intake system and we faced a £7,000 bill for a new engine. I was shocked because we had been extremely careful not to get water near the level of the intake (just above the radiator). It seems there's another way in... and I have the new engine to prove it.
Despite all that (plus tyre wear and rear brake disc problems) we love the car. It's comfortable for all 6 of us, tolerably fast and surprisingly economical (35-38 mpg) BUT: stick to shallow mud, or get a Discovery!