Can You Recommend a Cheaper Alternative to the Volvo XC90?


Hi John,

Love your show on Radio 2UE in Sydney. Glad to hear you filling in, in more regular spots over summer. I have a Volvo XC90 (with seven seats) that's getting very tired (9 years old). I love it, but can't really afford to replace it with another Volvo XC90. What would you recommend as an alternative?




Hi Anita,

Thanks for the kind words about 2UE. Glad to have you along as a happy listener.

Two alternatives spring immediately to mind, and they're flip-sides of the one coin: 

  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento


Hyundai Santa Fe


You'll note from the pictures above, there are obvious similarities. Hyundai and Kia are the same company. (They are different brands, but they share the same engineering fundamentals: platforms, engines, transmissions, electronics, etc.)

Both vehicles offer a five-year warranty with unlimited kilometres. Both have seven seats, with a brilliant flat-folding arrangement that leaves you with an unfettered cargo space when you fold them away.

According to Canstar Blue's independent assessment of reliability, Hyundai and Kia are just as reliable as Honda and Toyota. What they offer on the 'extra' front is the above-mentioned warranty, and better value (more features per dollar). Both South Korean cars have a five-star ANCAP safety rating, too. So they're safe, and fully loaded.

The top of the range Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander diesel has an RRP of $51,490. Full specifications on the Santa Fe Highlander here at Redbook.

The 'works burger' of Kia Sorentos (called a 'Platinum XM') comes in at a RRP of $50,790. Full specifications on the Kia Sorento Platinum XM here at Redbook.

Kia always manages to do this: don't ask me how. They come in with more features and a lower price, and generally better suspension tuning as well.

The Volvo XC90 has an RRP of $69,640 to $75,640, depending on model variant - so a fully loaded Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe is around $20,000 cheaper than the poverty pack Volvo XC90. Volvo enjoys a great reputation for safety innovation, but not so much for quality or cost-effective motoring. Full specifications on the XC90 range here at Redbook. (Obvious benefit to checking at Redbook for the details is the specs are in the same format, so are easy to cross reference in terms of what each model has that the others do not. The proprietary websites don't present the data in the same format, so checking the details between brands and models there can do your head in.)

Note that RRPs don't include on-road costs: some of which are negotiable (like dealer delivery charge - more on dealer delivery rip-offs here) and some of which are non-negotiable (like registration and stamp duty).

Hope this helps.

Please get back to me if you need more information.