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Volvo XC90 D5 (2006-2011)

by John Ewing,reviewed October 2010

The XC90 was an integral part of Volvo’s response to the rise of luxury cross-over style SUVs that started back in the late nineties.
Joining the popular XC90 range in late 2006, the diesel-powered D5 became its sales stalwart, in a market segment where distillate was increasingly the driving force.

The standard grade diesel XC90, known as the D5, provided luxury appointments and plentiful safety features including a roll-over protection system, roll and dynamic stability control, and curtain airbags for the three seating rows. Seven seats, a three-way split, sliding and folding middle row, with integrated child booster seat in the mid position, elevate family appeal.

Higher equipment levels will be found on the D5 Executive and from late 2008 the D5 R-Design with its sporty enhancements including suspension and wheel revisions. XC90 models score a five star ANCAP crash rating.

XC90 buyers who preferred a petrol engine had a choice of a 3.2-litre six-cylinder, a 4.4-litre V8 or in early versions, a 2.5-litre turbo five-cylinder.

The 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel has claimed outputs of 136kW and 400Nm and comes standard with a smooth shifting six-speed Geartronic auto. The economical diesel has plenty of torque and shifts over two tonne of Swedish SUV with reasonable ease, though it’s not as effortless as some of its 3.0-litre competitors.

Comfortable ride and predictable secure handling are the XC90’s stock in trade, unable to match the nimble sportiness of the class’s best. The interior is comfortable and thoughtfully laid out.

XC90 is more luxury soft-roader than go-anywhere 4WD. And a spacesaver spare wheel isn’t ideal for off-the-beaten-track either. There’s no low range and XC90 uses an on-demand torque proportioning all-wheel-drive system that transfers drive from the front to rear wheels when slip is detected.

Reliability wise, the Volvo is mostly virtuous. Uneven tyre wear isn’t uncommon and tyre rotation and wheel alignment every six months is advisable. Avoid vehicles that haven’t been serviced as scheduled – neglected oil changes can lead to sludged engine arteries and damage. A careful check of engine reaction rod bushes for wear is advised. There was a power steering hose recall on specified 2007 – 2009 cars.

Under the pump

XC90 D5 will use between 8.0 litres and 13.0 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.

What will it cost?

For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.


BMW X5 3.0d and 30d, 2007 – 2010

Beaut turbo-diesel six delivering 160kW/500Nm or from late 2008, 173kW/520Nm. Standard six-speed auto. Dynamic excellence, luxury and safety. Handy enough off-road but no all-terrain heavy hitter. Higher used prices than Volvo likely, reflecting new pricing.

Audi Q7 3.0 Diesel V6, 2006 – 2010

Well built, luxuriously equipped, capable all-rounder. Six-speed auto. Expect higher fuel consumption than Volvo and BMW. Like X5, higher used prices than XC90. Spacious inside and used examples with optional 7-seats may be found. Large vehicle so standard reversing camera handy in car parks.

VW Touareg 3.0 TDI V6, 2006 - 2010

Shares underpinnings with Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. Muscular turbo diesel, with extra power and torque from 11/07 update. Six-speed auto, plus low range and electronic centre diff lock. Plenty of luxury and safety features.

Volvo XC90 D5 2006-2011

Car Details

Vehicle make Volvo
Vehicle model XC90 D5
Year 2006
Current price range $ - $

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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.