When I was asked if I’d like to do a car review for BQ, I had to admit straight away that any choice of car for me would be based more on aesthetics rather than an in-depth knowledge of what goes on under the bonnet.
I run my own estate agency, Roseberry Newhouse, with offices in Yarm and Stokesley and soon to be in Norton, so I spend a fair bit of time in the car travelling between appointments.
I also have three children, Jack, 15, Tom, 12, and Poppy, five, so in choosing a car I need to consider the practicality of family needs as well as my own desire to have something comfortable and sporty.
I also need to be able to park on a client’s drive and give the right impression, and my current car is an Audi A4 SE Avant, which for me has the quality, speed, style and practicality to meet all needs.
My first impression of the XC90 was very good.
A stylish metallic black with chrome trim made for great looks on the outside, while the inside had both space and quality, with black and cream leather seats.
The model I tested was a D5 AWD and extremely well equipped, so much so, that the centre console was a little busy. But for practicality, the XC90 is a real winner, with seven seats and a roomy interior the kids loved. Jack, a hard to please teenager, initially claimed it was “dodgy” but was soon impressed enough to allow me to actually drop him off at the school gates.
High praise indeed! Poppy loved the rear seats and insisted I purchase the car for that reason alone. I’m used to driving a manual transmission, so my initial concern was what to do with my left foot, but the XC90 was extremely comfortable to drive with great visibility and a good driving position.
And, once I managed to find a parking space big enough, I rediscovered a use for my left foot with the handbrake pedal. With 0-60 officially 11.5 seconds, it’s no getaway car, but once on the open road it was surprisingly quick and handled well on country roads.
I love a gadget, so when the SatNav popped up from the dash things looked very good. Operated by remote control, it also worked very well, despite my best efforts to thwart it. Top Gear described the XC90 as: “The king of comfort and versatility with brilliant seating arrangements.” That sums it up in a nutshell. If you’re choosing practicality, the XC90 is certainly one to consider and the experience could lead me to look at the SUV market anew.
Our Volvo XC90 D5 AWD was kindly provided by Mill Volvo, Scotswood Road, Newcastle, tel 0844 818 1440, www.millvolvo.co.uk. Priced at £35,000.