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The telltale 'shoulders' continue in the sleeker profile.
The driving environment is complicated, but very comfortable.
At a glance
Pricing: D5 Momentum, $97,900, Inscription and R-design add $7000
and $9000 respectively.
T6 Inscription $110,900, R-design adds $2000, T8 Inscription $134,900,
R-design adds $2000.
Hot: Space, quality Swedish interior; fantastic seating; road dynamics;
diverse powertrain choices; punch of T8; sculpted styling details.
Not: Eye-watering T8 price; no place now for Volvo's long-lasting five-
Verdict: Volvo betters the XC90's predecessor with the thinking driver's
seats. All models can have air
suspension as an extra cost
The cars I drove last week were
all pre-production models with
some electronic protocols yet to be
signed off and various noise
vibration and harshness issues to
be ironed out. It's not that the cars
were noisy in any way, just that
the quality of the sound was due
for further tuning. The T8's petrol
motor was obviously a four when
pressed hard and with the non-
hybrid T6's own four sounding
much less coarse, it's obvious the
solution is there.
The diesel D5 seems already
well set soundwise too, and each
power unit worked seemlessly
through its eight automatic ratios
for most of the time, though some
thumping through the drivetrain
could be detected when driving
hard through the shifts -- again
Volvo says this will be gone when
the cars are ready for market.
The T8 feels every bit as quick
as its figures suggest, but even the
slowest XC90, the D5, feels
pleasingly brisk and unfussed,
cruising at 130kmh on Spanish
motorways with consummate
ease and having sufficient in
reserve to be a very pleasant and
capable day-to-day drive.
The XC90 range in New
Zealand will be starting with the
entry-level D5 Momentum at
$97,900, with the Inscription and
R-design models asking another
$7000 and $9000 respectively.
The T6 and T8 will start in
Inscription form at $110,900 and
$134,900, with R-design costing
Every XC90 gets leather,
19-inch alloy rims, an iPad-like
screen, sat-nav, extensive
systems, four-zone climate
control, keyless start, a power-
'kick-open' tailgate and all that
safety gear. Inscription models go
even bigger with the instruments
and alloys, have Nappa leather,
and add blind spot and cross
traffic monitoring to the safety
list. R-Design XC90s have steering
wheel paddle shifters and a more
sporting cabin treatment and
alloy wheel choice.
All XC90s for our market will
be seven-seaters and even with all
seven in use, the big Swede
manages to offer almost 400 litres
of boot space, which expands to
more than 1000L with the third-
row folded away and reaches
1900L when the same is done to
the middle row, which also splits
40:20:40 and can be made to move
back and forth by up to 120mm for
additional leg or load room.
The rearmost row is designed
for up to 175cm tall adults, but I
managed at 188cm without any
bother and would travel there if I
I'd prefer to be behind the
wheel however, in front of the
amazing 19-speaker Bowers and
Wilkins stereoin the supremely
comfortable driver's chair.
It's an absolute delight. For a
vehicle of the XC90's height and
with its weight -- at just over two
tonnes, which is still 125kg less
than the old model, the big Swede
is delightfully nimble.
The Volvo has the ability to
neatly go where it's told and with
its clever electronics interfering
as little as possible this makes the
car a fun vehicle to drive.
Well calibrated suspension,
gives the plot an exceptionally
good ride unaffected by the few
potholes we found and travelling
on the always well-surfaced
Spanish motorways is a dream,
with an almost silent ride and
road noise but a distant sigh.
While the performance, handling
and styling are easy elements to
enjoy, by far the most impressive
part of the new Volvo's
automotive persona is its cabin. It
charms in the way it feels, works
with its occupants and the way it
looks. It even smells right.
As far as powertrains go, the
T8 turbo-supercharged hybrid is
pretty compelling and so is the T6
(the same car without the hybrid
bit), but for me the D5 suits the
car's character most with great
mid-range torque and a nicely
tuned engine note.
It's all class, the Volvo, and
that its designers have put so
much into the model without
making it look like a lumbering
behemoth is remarkable. I can't
imagine anyone being offended by
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