Tag: XC90

Volvo XC90 Excellence

Of late, the term ‘Swede Speed’ has been used more than Oral B in a nunnery but let’s not forget what the polar-neck brigade are best at…Swede tweed.

Ever since conception in 1915 as a ball bearing manufacturer, Volvo has become a by word for left of field design and superb quality. In 1927, the first Volvo rolled out of the factory in Gothenburg and straight into a wall of bricks. Not really, but if you were to ask anyone what Volvo is known for, they’d say safety, comfort and Swedish design. Safe and suave, then, are the reasons we like Volvos and while the general consensus is that Volvo’s are for yummy mummies, anyone who can look past that perception will know that it’s difficult to find a more rounded motor car. If you’re not getting my ball bearing puns by now then that’s your own fault.

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The Volvo XC90 when launched in 2002 was an instant success because it blended all the things people like about Volvos with seating for 7 and a shocking GM 4-speed gearbox. And despite the aforementioned gearbox being very woeful, the original XC90 is still in production today in China because it’s that good! It’s also very old, though, which is why the rest of the world grew bored of the XC90 with sales dwindling for a few years before the new XC90 rolled in. And boy did the XC90 roll all over its competitors, sweeping up countless awards internationally, one of which was South Africa’s prestigious Wesbank Car of The Year 2016. Well-priced, impressive looks and great standard spec are all things that we at TheMotorist love about the XC90 and following its local success, Volvo Car South Africa think it’s time for the Range Rover to roll over…

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The Volvo XC90 Excellence is now available in South Africa and you’ll be pleased to know that they have been inundated with an order. Yes, just one. Volvo promises one of the most luxurious models in the brand’s 89 year history and they’re probably right. It’s kitted out with everything bar a toaster and a swimming pool and is offered exclusively with the T8 Twin Engine powertrain. Snazzy kit includes ‘distinctive cup holders’ which feature heating and cooling, individual and fully adjustable, heated, cooled and massaging rear seats with footrests and little tables in the backs of the front seats. Special champagne flutes are also thrown in and are fashioned from the same Orrefors glass as the gear knob – something which I’ve always wanted in a car.

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Power comes from a 235 kW, 400 Nm supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder Drive-E petrol engine and is fed to the front wheels through an 8-speed transmission. The rear wheels are connected to a 65 kW, 240 Nm electric motor which allows for all-wheel drive should you feel the need to go off-roading in your lounge. Total output is an impressive 300 kW and 640 Nm which will be sure to propel you and your gear knob flutes with grace and pace to 100km/h in a brisk 5.9 seconds! All this while returning a claimed fuel consumption of 2.5l/100km.

As with any Volvo, a vast array of safety features comes as standard. ABS, EBD, BAS and HAS are some of the three-lettered delights thrown in for nothing and it’ll even drive itself up to 130km/h. The City Safety autonomous emergency braking system also caters for large animals and all isn’t lost should they be riding a bicycle in front of your moving Volvo. The XC90 is so safe, in fact, that it received a 97% score in its Euro NCAP crash test for adult occupants and 87% for child occupants – best in its class.

The features on this XC90 pretty much matches the spec of a Range Rover L Supercharged SVAutobiography, yours for a cool R3.6 Million.

So what does all of this Swedishness cost, you ask?

Oh, R1.5 Million.

 

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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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Volvo’s new XC90 T8 Hybrid: A moving paradox.

Electric Drive: New Volvo T8 Hybrid Driven.

The 4×4 is the one car that has always been hailed as the big bad wolf in the industry. This is because cars of this nature normally use large fuel guzzling engines. Times have changed recently though and Volvo has helped shape the change, by using one of the largest cars in the market. Since the launch of the all new XC90, the public’s reception of this car has been nothing but good. Awards such as the Wesbank COTY 2016 and the Cars.co.za “Best Premium SUV” award proves this, as well as numerous other international awards.

The use of 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines in such a large car is one of the most important features of the XC90. These small engines have drastically improved the fuel consumption of the range. Now to be even more efficient, Volvo have thrown in an 9 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack to their powerful 235kW petrol engine. As a result, a combined power output of 300kW from both engines gives the car immense power and a claimed fuel economy figure of 2.1 litres/ 100km! (Sounds crazy right?) Realistically, we achieved around 5.5 litres/ 100kms but that was toggling through all the modes and driving in the city. Even at that figure, that is a remarkable number to achieve in a seven seating SUV.

Regarding aesthetics and design, the T8 keeps the same look and feel that its siblings have. It’s available in Momentum, Inscription and R-Design Package. What is standard in the T8, apart from other things is a sunroof and a crystal gear knob (fancy right?).

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How does is drive?

Silently. When the car is in “Pure” mode, you can hear the passengers swallow, which may be disturbing but quite amazing too. The car is still as comfortable as any other XC90, the only difference is that it’s much quieter. You can travel up to 43km in full electric mode and when you put the car in “Hybrid” mode, you get a combination of both petrol and electric power. If you’re in a hurry and you’re fully charged, you’ll be happy to know that in “Power” mode you can use all 300kW to get going quickly. Even in “beast mode”, the T8 maintains a level of civility and sophistication through smooth power delivery.

When you’ve hit a load shedding situation and you’ve run out of electric power, you can charge up at home to give your car life again. The good news is that if you do travel longer than the 43km electric range, you do have internal combustion to get you home.

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What does the future hold?

Cars like these are very important to the industry, because they represent the future. Obviously as systems progress, this technology will keep getting better and more affordable to the general public. Soon we’ll even be able to go further with hybrid cars and it’s nice to see that Volvo are once again at the forefront of the change. That being said, other companies like BMW now offer a competitor, such as the X5 40e. This car uses a similar setup and we’re sure that it’s only a matter of time until other brands join the club. The T8 XC90 is still as good, still as pretty and still as elegant as it’s always been, only now it’s more efficient. It’s awesome to see the biggest car use the least amount of fuel, it’s a moving paradox.

Prices: 

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD Momentum                     R1 053 400

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD Inscription                         R1 092 100

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD R-Design                            R1 117 700

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