And the mood in the cabin?
While the exterior styling of the XC90 impresses, it’s the interior that wins people over. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the X5’s cabin, it’s all well made but a tad boring with a generic, churned-out feel whereas the Volvo manages to create a crafted ambience. It’s clean and interesting and everyone feels compelled to paw the surfaces. It’s functional too, with better storage than the BMW, while Sensus is an infotainment system done right. It’s easy to navigate and the screen is almost double the size of that in the BMW, and iDrive is still a tad infuriating to use by comparison. The XC90 R-Design goes for a BMW-esque all-black look in the cabin but adds enough carbon and alloy bits to save it from despair.
While the Volvo looks good, it’s also exceptionally functional; you’re able to fit a lot into its well-proportioned form. It’s easier to climb aboard through the wider opening rear doors and there is more leg room too. The boot is wider and longer and you can carry up to six passengers with those seats in the back not just for kids. The X5 is a sound five seater, while a third row can be optioned for a further $3700, though these are of the occasional type.
Up front, the BMW comfort seat is money well spent with sumptuous support and comfort, unsurprisingly, and being a BMW there is plenty of adjustment to find your optimal driving position. The sporty seats in the Volvo are also sound, but could do with more padding.
While the XC90 looks good in R-Design guise, we reckon the more elegant looking Inscription better suits the persona of the XC90, the R tries too hard to be German. Along with the M kit, this X5 had some additional M performance parts on each end, the carbon bits adding lots of dollars but making little sense.