The flagship of the Volvo brand has always been a huge success since its inception in 2014 and has always been loaded with features and dare I say it, probably the best value for money in the segment too.
When you think SUV, you think practicality and near go-almost-anywhere capability. Though this is no true offroader in a sense, it will take you pretty far with its generous ground clearance in offroad mode and very capable all-wheel-drive system. It has no low range, but it has just about everything else I could ever want in a big family vehicle.
To the untrained eye, not much will have changed, but this is in fact a new model with changes made to the aesthetically and the interior has a few new features too. The best of all is the Volvo on call which I thought worked flawlessly at the touch of a button. The system is simple, push the button and the vehicle connects you to the call center. You ask for directions to a certain destination and the friendly staff will seamlessly upload it to the navigation system. It’s not a new system by any means, but it sure is nice to have.
The 8-speed auto fitted to our 173kw D5 test unit is a smooth-shifting, though some lag is noted when you need to get going quickly. The diesel mill is responsive and rather economical too, for something this size. The highly functional Intellisafe Assist that includes City Safety with pedestrian, cyclist, and large animal detection with front collision warning with full auto brake is now standard. Lane keep assist and driver alert control is also included in that list.
Our vehicle was also fitted with the Inscription premium pack with included a heads-up display, 360-degree camera, the awesome Bowers and Wilkins sound, heated steering wheel, smartphone connect with apple and android auto, and keyless entry with hands-free tailgate opening. This adds R66 500 and in my opinion is non-negotiable when ordering your XC90, even if it’s just for the Bowers and Wilkins audio. It does not get much better than this.
While riding on 20inch wheels, the ride is softer than the larger 22inch wheels, especially on bumpy roads, but the ultimate comfort is to be had on the smaller 19inch wheels, usually found on the Momentum spec. So if you plan to do plenty of gravel, the 19inch wheels would probably be a better choice.
The new diesel engine is much improved, but it’s still a diesel. The turbo spool is marginally quicker, but as I mentioned before there is a little throttle delay when pulling away from the lights. If you look past that, the big 90 is a fantastic vehicle to drive.
While initially a 7 seater, the middle center seat has been removed as an option. Making this a 6 seater with an alley to get to the 3rd row of seats. While this has no function for me, my 4 year old loved the idea of having a middle row to climb through. I don’t know, I can’t explain the mind of a 4-year-old yet. However, with a 220v power point and tri-zone climate, you will be just as comfortable in the last row, as you were in the middle row. Space is obviously not intended for a 2m frame, but with that middle seat missing, you do have a place to throw your legs. The boot space is nearly 700l with the seats up and will grow to near mammoth 1850l with them flat.
I can’t rave enough about the Bowers and Wilkins audio, but having been acquainted a few times with the Sensus setup, I can tell you now, it’s one of the best infotainment systems out there.
The Volvo Xc90 is a valid argument to the likes of the X5, GLE, and Q7. They are getting increasingly popular too with plenty of them on the road. The list price of the D5 Inscription is R1131.600 and R1269.400 as tested with all the options.
For more info, check out volvocars.com/za