Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 21 Nov 2016
SUV’s are supposed to be loud, thirsty and environmentally draining automobiles right? Wrong, spend some time behind the wheel of the all-new Volvo XC90 and you’ll discover that the large seven seating SUV can be even more fuel-efficient, quiet and economical to drive than most compact hatchbacks.
From the outside it all appears rather standard, the XC90 T8 still features four wheels, a conventional yet incredibly attractive Swedish design and an overall elegant simplicity. It can be noted that there is not one, but two “fuel” filler caps.
This is because the XC90 T8 features a twin engine. The first element begins with its 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol driven powerplant. This part of the engine features very sophisticated engine turbine geometry and features both a supercharger and a turbo charger ensuring that power is available as and when you require despite what you would imagine is a “small for the body” power plant. The petrol driven motor develops 235 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque.
Combined with the petrol driven engine, is the T8’s real party piece, its electric drive motor which develops an additional 65 kW of power and 240 Nm of torque. The combination helps make a combined figure of a very impressive 300 kW and 640 Nm of torque.
This, in turn, makes way for a very quick 0 – 100 kph sprint in a mere 5.6 seconds and fuel economy at claimed combined figure of 2.1 L/100km. Bare these figures in mind, when you consider that the XC90 T8 is an ultra luxurious seven seating SUV.
Magic Carpet Ride
I recently drove the Volvo XC90 T5 and described the experience as so incredibly smooth and well appointed, I could best liken it to driving something with a far higher ticket price and something sitting within the most premium of vehicle segments. I was incredibly impressed by the overall thought and quality which had been applied to making this latest generation XC90 and I even liked the experience to driving a “Rolls Royce” SUV as it is so incredibly comfortable.
With the hybrid electric format of the vehicle, the same careful attention to detail has been applied. This results in the same silky smooth ride, but this time it is coupled with pin drop silence. The whole experience is almost eerie at first, you simply will not believe that you are moving a large SUV with only slight noise created by wheels moving on the surface below.
Swedish Cut Crystal
In the past when you heard the term “Swedish glass” you would have been forgiven for assuming the reference was for Scandinavian narcotics. Thankfully the Swedish glass within the XC90 refers to the exquisite Orrofers cut crystal gear selector, which is constructed by a team of craftsmen. This bespoke feel continues with the Bowers & Wilkins sound system which was fitted to my test vehicle as part of the premium package (cost. additional R55,500).
As part of the premium package you also get lots of clever tech features which further improve the ride and overall drive experience. This includes 360-degree parking assistance camera’s, blind-spot warning assist, privacy glass and a black lined roof headliner but to name a few of the options.
The premium package also makes way for the gorgeous key fob which is wrapped in the same colour as the nappa leather seats themselves. With the horological level of detail, the XC90 is truly bespoke automobile.
The Sensus system drives all the media and vehicle infotaiment. Based on a large tablet PC experience, it feels much like using an Ipad and offers the same smooth inputs and ease of use. Featuring everything from Apple CarPlay which allows you to stream your favourite satellite-based radio, to a multitude of inputs, there isn’t a thing it won’t do, that is barring making a cup of coffee.
The system also allows you to display and configure everything from the vehicles heads-up-display to the location of the power output ie: complete electric, partial electric or full petrol depending on which of the five possible drive modes you have selected.
The Volvo XC90 won the 2016 SA Car of The Year award as well as has bagged countless national and international awards. It just simply offers a sublime level of attention to detail, an overall impressive package for the price and in my opinion really does give all its nearest competitors a real run for their money.
The hybrid electric motor allows you to experience a blend of either electric, combined or petrol depending on your preference and the availability of power depending on the charge level. To charge the battery simply use the provided adapter and within +- 4 hours over fast charge, the XC90 T8 will give you a range of about 35 km, perfect for the around town general fuel guzzling situations.
The XC90 T8 cost R1092,100 and fitted with the premium pack at an additional R55,500 comes in at a total cost of R1178,975. The vehicle also comes with a warranty of 5-year / 100 000 km warranty and a maintenance plan of 5-year / 100 000 km.
Watch my full video review impressions below:
Also be sure to see my full impressions of the Volvo XC90 T5: