Volvo have produced a stunning looking, high tech SUV that boasts the very latest in automotive technology and all wrapped up in a very high quality, beautifully screwed together package.
This week I am road testing the new Volvo XC90 B5 diesel R-Design.
This version boasts mild hybrid technology and Volvo’s usual virtues of safety and quality.
This is the premium end of the SUV market with prices for the XC90 kicking off at €77,970.
So has it got any street Cred?
The new XC90 is a welcome breath of fresh air.
It's an imposing looking SUV with bold lines and a very attractive and distinctive style.
So it stands out from its Teutonic counterparts. So yes it has serious street cred!
The R-Design on test here gets a new black high gloss finish for some of the exterior trim which allied to new paint options and stunning two tone alloys, looks fantastic!
So what’s it like inside?
The cabin is quite simply a work of art.
It looks more designer bespoke than a mass produced vehicle, from the beautiful stitching in the soft leather, to judicious use of aluminium and piano black trim. It looks and feels really top class!
In addition the huge central portrait touchscreen which allows the driver to operate a host of functions, from audio, climate, navigation, reversing camera and so forth to the perfectly milled chrome switches and the neat chrome starter switch all go to create that truly exclusive feel.
What’s more the functionality and ease of use of the menu’s within the screen are an example to all those over complicated systems I see elsewhere!
The standard specification is vast and too numerous to detail here, but items such as “Pilot assist” City safe with autobrake, Pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, with auto brake, as well as radar that senses an impending rear end impact and tightens the seat belts accordingly, road sign recognition, active cruise control, lane assist, Drive Modes settings, “Clean Zone” Air quality system with pollen filters, and much more complete the comprehensive package.
Really it beats all its rivals here, with huge levels of active and passive safety.
The safety package as you would expect of Volvo is immense and most impressive.
With a truly sumptuous cabin, 7 seats, a vast amounts of legroom and a decent boot/load area its a a luxury SUV that has real poise and grace.
What’s under the bonnet?
Volvos B5 2.0 litre diesel mated to an 8-speed auto gearbox and all wheel drive with mild hybrid technology.
Basically the “mild hybrid” element means brake energy regeneration, KERS (Kinetic energy recovery) and an integrated starter generator.
Volvo claims it improves economy by 15%.
I found performance to be very good and it was quite good on the fuel too. But that diesel sounds rather gruff by competitor standards. Road tax is €390 per year.
So what's it like to drive?
Supremely refined, (despite the gruff diesel note) with punchy acceleration and safe secure handling.
I really enjoyed the overall driving experience.
Every time I hopped inside, the fit and feel of everything, and the way it manages to gobble up long distances in complete comfort and safety makes this one of the most appealing luxury SUV’s on the market.
So what’s the final verdict?
The new Volvo XC90 is in my opinion one of the very best SUV’s you can buy.
It really ticks all the boxes. Its stylish in a non brash sort of way, which I like.
It really feels more bespoke than mass produced and with the variety of option packs you can “build your own Volvo”.
I loved the new XC90 B5 AWD R Design and every Kilometre behind the wheel was a pleasure.
The model tested including options costs €88,846