Reviewing a vehicle normally means taking it out for a day or two to gauge everything from how well she corners to how far the seats can move back. The critics will do their best, but there’s no denying that the little idiosyncrasies and nagging issues faced by long-term drivers can be missed during this streamlined process.

Which is why the team over at Auto Express decided to take their time with the Volvo XC90; to be more precise, they’ve been taking a whole 12 months to get to grips with this exciting new crossover SUV.

Let’s see how they’ve been getting on.

Technology Shines

This might be a hybrid, but the Auto Express team seem to have been more blown away by the vehicle’s on-board features than anything else. With a top of the line trim on their hands, there’s plenty to get excited about, with some of the most loved amenities being:

  • Bowers & Wilkins Sound System: Awarded Best Audio System for cars costing over £25,000 by Carbuyer, this 19-speaker, 1,400-watt system has been thoroughly impressing reviewers.
  • Pilot Assist: Perfect for stop-start traffic, the Pilot Assist feature uses cameras and radars to keep track of the car ahead for autonomous acceleration and braking, all while reading road markings to keep you in the right lane.
  • Apple CarPlay: iOS devices can be synced right to the XC90’s connectivity and infotainment systems, allowing drivers to access apps right through the vehicle’s high-resolution touchscreen.

The Ride Is Improved, But Efficiency Falters

Technology might be a talking point, but it’s the drive that you’re really going to notice, and few complaints have been made.

That said, the praise hasn’t exactly been intense. Noting that the ride is ‘marginally better than before’ isn’t going to set the world on fire, but Auto Express have at least let us know that there’s a real lack of tyre noise.

One area that didn’t attract much adulation was the vehicle’s efficiency, which is a bit of a stumbling block for an efficiency-focused vehicle. Making an average of 40.6mpg isn’t exactly bad, but it isn’t exactly great either.

Overall, Auto Express seems pretty happy with the Volvo XC90, even if there appears to be room for improvement when it comes to fuel consumption. They certainly haven’t thought twice about their 2015 Car of the Year nod, so we still think that this is one to place at the top of your list if a family-friendly crossover is what you’re after.