How you can save €8,000 with 2WD version of Volvo XC90
First Irish drive: Volvo XC90 2WD; V60 Cross Country
The question is simple and will put what you want from a large SUV in sharp relief, I think.
Would you spend €8,000 extra for all-wheel-drive (AWD)?
Or, to put it another way, would you save yourself €8,000 by opting to buy one with front-wheel-drive (2WD) only?
The reason I'm prompted to ask these questions is down to the recent arrival of the XC90 with front-wheel-drive only.
I've just driven one of the first models to be registered here.
It really is all about price. In this case it starts at €63,450 which is a considerable drop on the kick-off point for the AWD at €71,450.
Because 2WD usually needs less powerful engines, it also has lower emissions which explains why the road tax is €280 and not the €390 invoked by the AWD. You do lose a bit of power in this D4 version - but its 190PS felt more than energetic enough to shunt it around. The AWD has 35PS more. It is not a distinction most buyers are going to get too excited about (leave that sort of nonsense to us motoring journalists).
No indeed; the thing worth considering, however, is what you could do with that €8,000. One of the options is to take a higher spec version of the 2WD and really kit yourself out in a luxury SUV. Most people opt for higher spec these days anyway.
Or you could simply reflect with some pleasure on the lower monthly repayments - because the standard level of equipment, I think, is more than decent.
The good thing is that there is no change in what I consider to be the best interior in the segment by a country mile, though I wish they didn't have so much black material around the dash and doors.
And there are still the seven full-sized seats and easy-to-use screen interface with all elements of the car visible in the central display.
I drove the D4 at a decent pace along some good winding roads. For such a large car it is quite pliant in the handling and the ride is comfortable, which is as much as most people want.
The third row of the seven seats are impressively easy to work with, though you don't get a lot of luggage space when they are up.
Overall, I saw or felt little by way of major difference from the AWD but the latter still has to be a consideration if you need it for more than taking the children to school - such as towing or if you live on high ground or areas where an extra bit of traction is in regular demand.
On another front, I was pleasantly surprised with the V60 Cross Country: essentially an estate that sits a bit higher than normal.
That bit of height is always a boon to a driver but in this case too it adds a bit of handling panache, I think.
More to the point it looked well even though side-by-side with the conventional version there wasn't any major appreciable difference in height.
I drove the 190PS D4 diesel SE LUX Geartronic version which costs a whopping €57,159, but the range itself starts at €40,845 (D3 SE). Road tax is €390.
Again, you can get one with AWD (190PS) or 2WD (150PS) but it is a car I've certainly overlooked as a rival for mid-size crossover/SUVs such as the Audi Q5, A4 All-Road, BMW X3, Skoda Octavia Scout etc.
And so to the future. We're getting more large Volvos next year. The S90 saloon and V90 estate (and an XC version) will start to arrive here for the July registration period (162) with prices on a par with the Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5-series, etc.