Driven - August 2016

Volvo XC90 T5 R-Design

Naturally, as humans, we have high expectations of certain things. If for example, you had booked a few nights at a top 5-star hotel you would expect the room, food, and service to be excellent. Maybe you decided to treat yourself and fly business class, once again you have certain expectations that you expect to be met. These same thoughts ran through my head before the Volvo XC90 arrived at our offices. I never really have expectations when testing new cars because I prefer to have an open mind on every vehicle I drive. When the car comes with the title “Car of the year 2016” though, it’s kind of hard to ignore. My expectations were high as I had never driven an XC90 before this and was excited to find out what all the hype was about.

The XC90 I drove was the T5 R-Design in Onyx Black Metallic, wow it’s a looker. I don’t mind saying that this car is one of if not the best looking SUV on the road right now. The R-design sports body kit and 20-inch wheels set this car apart. I fell for this car before I even drove it and that does not happen often. The technical aspect of this car is advanced with world first items such as pedestrian and cyclist detection, to the head up display. It’s got the lot! One thing I really enjoyed in this car which I struggle to enjoy in others, is the Sensus connect touchscreen infotainment system. Many of the full touch screen systems in cars today annoy me as they often don’t work properly. They can be difficult to use which distracts from the road. The Sensus system is different, It works well and is very responsive.

Behind the wheel

Driving this vehicle is an experience you don’t often get, but it’s one you will remember. The 187 kW provided from the 2L 4-cylinder power plant is nearly perfect for the size and weight, big SUV’s don’t always need to be overpowered monsters. I found the XC90 to be very driver based, everything focuses on you and the non-intrusive head up display finishes this feeling off. It’s not just the tech that makes this car great, though, it’s also how it drives. Remove half of the gizmos and you would still get the same experience every time you drive it. It makes me feel like I am in command of a futuristic spaceship, I feel in charge on the road and that is an awesome feeling to have. The driving performance of this vehicle is also very enjoyable, it accelerates and handles well for its size and this fits in with the sporty design. If batman drove an SUV, this would be it.

The problem with the XC90 is that there is no problem. I went looking for issues or things I didn’t like and the only issue I found was that the ambient lighting system in the doors and footwells don’t change colour like the overhead ambient lights. Pretty insignificant I know. Apart from that, the attention to detail is on point, even the start/stop switch is worthy of an award. My 300 words are long gone, but I’m going to finish with this. This is one very special vehicle.

 

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