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DRIVEN: #VOLVO #XC90 T5 AWD R-DESIGN GEATRONIC

Date: 03 Feb 2017 Author Type: Press Release
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Donovan Banks
Source: Julian Lurie Edited by Donovan Banks
The all-new Volvo XC90, which made its debut locally in July last year, also scooped the prestigious “South African Car of the Year” award. The new XC90 is designed for customers that want an elegant look and a luxurious experience, so for today’s road impressions we feature the top spec Volvo XC90 T5 AWD R-Design Geartronic 7-seater.
 
The new Volvo XC90 has moved a major step up-market and has morphed into a stylish luxury SUV, combining a distinctive exterior and a cool, high-class interior, strong enough to “hold its own” against the established makes such as the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes ML models.
 
Displaying a distinctive and confident face, complete with the updated Volvo Iron Mark and the signature 'Thor's Hammer' headlights, the deep front bumper and bluff radiator grille, the XC90's connection to Volvo's past and homage to the Swedish lifestyle, is entirely evident in the new design language.
 
Fitted with the R-Design sports body kit, the square-set front end, the rounded wheel-arches, raked windscreen pillars and aluminium roof rails give the XC90 a sleek and aerodynamic look, while the T5 AWD R-Design press vehicle was fitted with the optional 22” Ixion Diamond Cut/Matt black alloy wheels shod with very low profile 275/35R22 Pirelli Scorpio rubber, which are great on tar, but perhaps not the best on really rough road surfaces, despite the 238 mm ride height as befits an SUV.
 
At the rear, the XC90 is less striking. The tail-lamps run from the top of the boot right down to the bumper and, with Volvo’s traditional shoulder kink halfway down. There’s a small boot lip spoiler and a few creases in the tailgate, and the XC9 RF-Design sports twin exhausts.
 
The interior is certainly plush, with expensive-feeling brushed metal inserts and full Nappa leather sport upholstery, R-Design gear lever, gear shift paddles, and R-Design Sports pedals. The entertainment and climate systems are controlled by a central 23 cm tablet-like touch-screen flanked by two main air vents and some chrome detailing. All the main functions including the GPS are controlled by the touch-screen. However, the disadvantage is that to operate the touch screen the driver has to take his eyes off the road - not the thing to do.
 
Volvo's Sensus control system, delivers true connectivity with a range of useful cloud-based applications and services which can be operated via the touch screen, through steering wheel controls, or via the advanced on-board voice control system.
 
Equipment in the press vehicle was most comprehensive and will fill a couple of pages if I were to list them, but to mention a few, some of which are on the options list and some standard, is GPS, LED headlights, air-filtration, keyless entry and push button start, hands-free tailgate opening, a powered driver’s seat, auto-dimming mirrors, cruise control, and a 1 400 watt Bowers and Wilkins audio system with 19-speakers which produces a superb sound.
 
Most appreciated are the Visual Park Assist with fisheye camera and 360-degree camera, the blind spot information system with cross traffic alert, the Panoramic sunroof and the metallic paint, all from the optional R54 000 R-Design pack.
 
Just about everything is electric like all the windows, the seat adjustments, the steering column, the parking brake, boot opener while all the instruments are electronic.
 
The XC90 is a premium SUV with a special emphasis on family-friendly practicality. The five-door XC90 is very roomy inside with lots of head- and leg room in the first two rows, but becomes a little compromised at the back. It comes standard with seven proper seats and has an impressive quota of advanced safety tech under the Volvo IntelliSafe banner, which includes special energy-absorbent seats, Volvo’s City Safety auto-braking tech, Queue Assist and a self-parking system.
 
The large boot offers 692 litres of space, with the front seats up, 314 with the third row seats up and a massive 1 957 litres with the second row seats folded.
 
Adding to Volvo's innovative safety systems, the XC90 comes fully equipped with seven airbags, the IntelliSafe package as standard, delivering two world firsts - Run-off Road Protection, and Auto Brake at Intersections.
 
In the stopping department the XC90 has ventilated discs in front, solid discs at the rear with all the driver assist functions such as ABS, ED, BAS, HSA, HDC.
 
The Volvo XC90 T5 AWD R-Design Geartronic is powered by a new 2-litre 4-cylinder i4 turbo-petrol engine delivering 187 kw at 5 500 rpm and 350 Nm from 1500 rpm and drives all four wheels through Volvo’s Geartronic eight speed automatic gearbox.
 
Acceleration is very good for a large SUV with the 0 to 100 km/h sprint coming up in just 7.8 seconds and a top speed of around 220 km/h. Petrol consumption is given as 7.6 litres per 100 kms, which proved somewhat optimistic as over the week I had the car the trip recorder gave me a readout of 11.8 lt/100 km, but that did include all the testing. The tank holds 71 litres.
 
The XC90 has permanent ‘on demand’ four-wheel-drive that puts most of the power down through the front wheels. It can, however, send torque to the rear when conditions demand.
 
Driving the XC90 is a real pleasure. The high position front seats provide the driver with a commanding all round view of the road, and the buttons and levers are well positioned. On the road, the XC90 strikes a neat balance between comfort and agility, with great body control and excellent suspension, while the steering is smooth and well weighted.
 
The 2-litre turbo-petrol engine is a gem. Quiet and smooth at idle, whisper quiet on the freeways, even at high speeds, it delivers a quiet, smooth and nimble character in the city. At a steady 120 km/h on the freeways the motor runs totally unstressed, spinning at just 1 800 rpm in 8th gear.
 
The four-wheel-drive system has tremendous grip and handling is good for an SUV. However, there is a fair amount of body roll at highish speeds in corners, but if you do happen to overdo it, the electronic “nannies” will step in to keep you out of trouble.
 
For a sportier drive the Volvo XC90 T5 AWD R-Design Geartronic has adjustable Drive Mode settings and gear shift paddles located behind the steering wheel.
 
There’s also a clever autonomous braking system, which stops you turning in front of an oncoming car. This is part of Volvo’s enhanced City Safety package, which helps protect against collisions with motorcycles, swerving bicycles or errant pedestrians.
 
The recommended retail selling price of the new Volvo XC90 T5 AWD R-Design Geartronic is R926 900 then add R93 850 for the options as fitted to the press vehicle and the price goes up to R1 020 750, which however does include a 5 year / 100 000 km warranty and a 5 year / 100 000 maintenance Plan.
 
 
iX Online Motoring