Volvo XC 90 4x4 2.4-litre turbo diesel auto SE Nav.

Price: £41,690 (on the road).

Top speed: 127mph.

0-60mph: 9.7 seconds.

Fuel: 34.4mpg (combined figure).

C02 emissions (g/km): 219.

Verdict: Superb family holdall, practical, roomy, relaxed ride, tops for safety and security, impressive all-rounder.

VOLVO’S XC90 feels a little dated these days compared to more recent arrivals from the likes of BMW and Mercedes, writes Roy Lewis.

But despite this and a new model arriving this year, it remains a splendid seller, partly due to it having being refreshed a good deal and for the present there are decent discounts to be obtained.

And, of course, the XC90 carries on a long tradition of superb large Volvos with owners often keeping their vehicles for many years. They know they are getting a solid and dependable motor, just as good with a couple of horses in tow as it is cruising down the motorway at high speed.

Not only is the Volvo value for money compared to rivals but it boasts top-bracket safety measures, a large luxurious cabin, seven seats, a comfortable ride and a huge boot. It’s a great practical family vehicle.

The five-door XC90 is available with a 2.4-litre turbo diesel and six-speed auto gearbox which certainly suits the car. The five-cylinder motor pushes out 200bhp and 420Nm of torque or pulling power and although the engine is rather noisy by modern standards it is a strong and punchy performer with a 0-60mph sprint time of 9.7 seconds and a top speed of 127mph.

As a big car it handles well which is the hallmark of a good vehicle but comfort takes precedent with the suspension soaking up road imperfections in an admirable fashion and the car feeling properly damped. Such is the refinement that wind and road noises are well subdued even at high speeds.

On the road the Volvo looks the part with the exterior design still appearing modern and fresh. However, the luxurious cabin appears dated in places despite significant updates and the installation of the latest technology.

The different specifications are well equipped with their kit lists as long as your arm.

Safety and security are first class, as you would expect from Volvo, and insurance representative still continue to regard the XC90 as one of the safest cars on the market.

The new model should be even safer with more innovative measures, including the front structure and safety cage made from a blend of different steel qualities to enhance the crashworthiness.

The current model, which has the top five-star crash N-CAP safety rating, has a wealth of airbags, including full-length curtain airbags as standard. Among a host of safety measures are traction and stability control as well as ABS braking.

With a raised ride height the driver gets a commanding view of the road ahead and is accommodated in very comfortable and supportive seating with adjustments galore to obtain an ideal position.

As a large family vehicle the Volvo will take some beating. It’s a genuine seven-seater with five full-size and two folding child seats. Even with all the seats in place there is room for plenty of luggage and with just the child seats folded the cargo space more than doubles - much more room than rivals. A useful feature is the split tailgate for easy loading.

The proven 4x4 system works well. It sends most of the power to the front wheels but automatically switches power to a wheel losing grip. Of course, the 4x4 system affects fuel consumption but at an everyday figure of 34.4mpg the return is still reasonable, although newer rivals are more frugal.

Prices start at £37,115 for the ES model while a popular choice is the higher specified SE model at £40,190.