Editor: Jason “The Bok” – Date: 12 April 2016
Cars age in dog years. With an updated, face-lifted or entirely new model usually hitting the consumer market within five to seven years on average. This however was not the case for the previous generation Volvo XC90. With a life cycle spanning over a decade (2002 – 2014), I think it is safe to say that many XC90’s transported many families throughout the planet during the previous generations life cycle.
I was therefore extremely eager to get behind the wheel of the latest generation XC90 to see if it is worth its long wait? For starters, the latest generation Volvo XC90 features much more modern and contemporary styling. Despite this modern appearance, the XC90 maintains key Volvo design elements. The new XC90 is also the first Volvo to feature Volvo’s trademark “Thors Hammer” LED lighting design, something which will be appearing throughout the Volvo product line-up going forward.
In the past, “hottest style SUV” title was passed amongst the German automakers, but this latest generation XC90 is a real game changer and I feel that it is an absolute winner!
Power delivery throughout the entire XC90 line-up is all handled by a range of four cylinder motors. While it sounds like a very tall order being able to power a large seven seater SUV with merely four cylinders, Volvo have managed to pull this task off with precision. Despite being small in capacity, the engines which feature within the XC90 range feature a lot of clever technology such as twin turbo-charging which ensures that power is immediate and delivered effortlessly throughout the torque band. The plus side of smaller engine units is that they remain efficient, cleaner on the environment and less thirsty on fuel than larger conventional gas guzzlers which used to feature in the large SUV space.
Having covered the Volvo’s striking looks and impressive power deliver, now onto the cabin. I have been extremely privileged, having the opportunity to ride in some pretty special automobiles, I have experienced some very comfortable places and some very exciting in-car technology systems, few however come close to what Volvo have produced in this latest generation XC90.
The Seats are dressed in some of the nicest grade Nappa leather I have ever felt. Incredibly soft to the touch, superbly detailed and incredibly thoughtful. Not many automobiles are able to boast that there seats, were years in development and employed the use of orthopedic experts to scultp there every detail. This is the case within the Volvo, and the comfort is simply phenomenal.
With the passenger compartment comprising of a wealth of designer styled buttons and switchgear, including aluminium speaker grills, piano black panels and amongst the most elegant drive mode selector and starter switch I have ever seen. It does not end with classy material and gorgeous design either.
This latest generation Volvo XC90 is incredibly smart. Media is dealt with and delivered through its Sensus media interface. A large 9″ near borderless display delivers media content, vehicle information and almost anything you could wish for, in a simple to use and understand tablet PC style interface. With settings to the top and apps in panels to the left and to the right of the interface, controlling the infotainment system within the XC90 could not be more welcoming.
You may at this point be wondering what the Volvo feels like to drive?
Well the drive offered by the Volvo is very much in-keeping with the rest of the package. It is smooth over the bumps and remainins sure-footed through the bends. The XC90 will comfortably take seven family members in complete comfort and luxury.
The new XC90 is the only vehicle which I have ever driven, which will “drive itself.” Thanks to a feature known as Pilot Assisted Drive, the Volvo will use its radar guided systems to completely brake, accelerate and even steer its self. Provided the vehicle is travelling below 50 km/h (30 mph) the XC90 will even come to a complete stop and then proceed with the journey when required automatically.
My opportunity to experience the Volvo XC90 has been incredibly special, in-part because of its truly exceptional refinement and attention to detail and in-part because the new Volvo XC90 is more than just another SUV. It is in fact is a glimpse into the future, it gives us a taste of some of the technologies which we will see featuring in many other vehicles going forward such as autonomous drive.
The vehicle as tested was the Volvo XC90 T5 Geartronic AWD Inscription:
Power – 187 Kw ; 350 Nm Torque (0-100 Km/h 8,2 sec)
Price – Base Price: R905,200
As Tested: R965,800
Techno Pack (R40 500)
o Heated front seats
o Graphic head-up display
o Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with
Pilot Assist and Lane Keeping Assistance
o Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) o Rear parking camera
o Keyless entry and starting
- Panoramic sunroof (R16 750)
- Metallic Paint (R3 350)
Both my written article and video review simply cannot completely express just how good this vehicle was to experience, but kindly view the below video to see my driving experience: