► Four reasons to love Volvo's comeback XC
► Lease the premium SUV from £499pm
► Part of CAR's guide to 2016's top lease deals
1) Every journey’s a mini-break
The SUV daydream is escape in the literal sense; winding empty road into the wilderness, a boot full of blankets and fine wines, log fires, long walks, starry nights. All well and good, but more often than not it’s those rain-lashed 100 motorway miles that need banishing, not the nine-to-five. The XC90 knows this, so it sets to with a great driving position, a feelgood interior, refinement to almost entirely eradicate the outside world and the kind of assured on-road lope to get you there long before you’ve begun to obsess about doing so.
2) Scandi chic
Like all good ideas, Volvo’s confident design language is obvious with the benefit of hindsight. The Germans have the market in dark, beautifully built cockpits cornered. Let them have it, decided Gothenburg, before coming up with something infinitely lighter, cooler, and appropriately Scandinavian. The XC90’s seats are things of wonder; slim, handsome and so comfortable a tank of fuel flies by. Seven of them, too. And then there are the little touches; the jewel-like drive mode and engine start controls, the Swedish flag tag on the seats; materials so fine you’ll be subconsciously groping your own seat in idle moments. While upmarket Inscription and R Design trims go all-out for that high-rise Bentley vibe, even the entry Momentum trim feels luxe.
3) Clever oily bits
Underpinned by Volvo’s next-gen big car platform, the XC90 is a smart engineering package. Compact suspension and four-cylinder engines maximise internal space. Optimised geometry and optional air suspension deliver controlled handling with sumptuous ride quality. And with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in the planning from the outset, the beautifully integrated T8 Twin Engine blends a storming turn of speed with tax-friendly emissions and bearable fuel consumption. Those 26 miles or so of pure electric range feel entirely appropriate too, those sun-dappled avenues of trees scrolling past on nothing more than a murmur of road noise.
4) That interface
Essentially a car-optimised iPad, it’s the neat menus and flawless execution of the Volvo system that shine. Four tiles dominate; nav, audio, phone and sound. Climate settings are ever-present, so there’s no need to surface from whatever page you’re on to turn down your heated seat. Swiping left brings up your applications, right the vehicle settings: ESC Sport Mode, Lane keeping aid, Park assist, start/stop and so on. Responsiveness is sharp too, even wearing gloves. Going back to anything else is tough.
One we found
Finance type: Manufacturer PCH
Monthly fee: £499
Terms: 36 months /10,000 miles per year
Optional final payment: n/a
The specs: Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum
Engine: 1969cc 4-cyl turbodiesel, 222bhp @ 4250rpm, 347lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm Performance: 7.4sec 0-62mph, 137mph, 49.6mpg, 149g/km CO2
From £423pm: Jaguar F-Pace
From £293pm: Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport
From £349pm: Mercedes C250D Estate AMG Line
From £326pm: Jaguar XE 2.0D 180 R-Sport auto
From £289pm: Mini Clubman Cooper S
From £84pm: Citroen C4 Cactus
From £530pm: Porsche Cayman and Cayman S
From £299pm: Honda Civic Type R
From £179pm: Ford Fiesta ST
From £219pm: Audi TT Coupe 1.8 TFSI Sport
From £852pm: Porsche 911 Carrera S
Find hundreds of thousands of deals in our brand new leasing section - carmagazine.co.uk/car-leasing
Read more from the March 2016 issue of CAR magazine