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blended into even more com­plex forms. The belt­line and the sharp­ened shoul­ders con­nect­ing with the dis­tinc­tive new rear lights are other de­sign sig­na­tures that will be mir­rored across the range.

The in­te­rior is even more boldly-styled, with a mas­sive tablet-like touch screen con­trol con­sole help­ing to cre­ate an in­te­rior that is mod­ern, spa­cious and un­clut­tered.

Volvo’s clearly put a lot of bud­get into driv­ing up ma­te­ri­als qual­ity and this XC90 gets soft leather and wood with hand­crafted de­tails, in­clud­ing a gear lever made of crys­tal glass from Or­refors, the Swedish glass­maker, and di­a­mond-cut con­trols for the start/stop but­ton and vol­ume con­trol. All XC90 vari­ants come with seven seats, au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and AWD and there’s a choice of three main mod­els.

Mi­nor­ity choices in­clude a po­tent 320PS petrol turbo T6 and the unique T8 Twin En­gine petrol/elec­tric plug-in hy­brid variant.

Most UK buy­ers though, will want the vol­ume 225PS D5 diesel ver­sion. D5 pric­ing starts at just over £45,000, while you’ll need a bud­get from £50,000 if you opt for the T6. There’s a choice of ‘Mo­men­tum’, ‘R-De­sign’ and ‘In­scrip­tion’ trim lev­els.

Top mod­els can be or­dered with fea­tures like 21-inch In­scrip­tion al­loy wheels and pow­ered, heated and ven­ti­lated seats trimmed in Nappa leather.

In­side, the tablet-like touch screen in the cen­tre con­sole drives the mi­nor con­trols and a whole host of In­ter­net-based prod­ucts and ser­vices.

XC90 safety gear in­cludes a run off-road pro­tec­tion pack­age which tight­ens seat­belts and ac­ti­vates en­er­gyab­sorb­ing tech­nol­ogy in the seats when the car de­tects chal­leng­ing ter­rain ahead.

An­other sys­tem is the auto-brak­ing fea­ture, which cuts in if a driver pulls out in front of on­com­ing traf­fic. Both safety sys­tems aim to bring Volvo closer to its vi­sion of no­body be­ing se­ri­ously in­jured or killed in any of its ve­hi­cles by 2020.

The Cotswold set might be dis­ap­pointed by the ex­tro­vert ex­te­rior but it’s hard not to love the sheer au­dac­ity of the XC90’s cabin, com­plete with its tablet-style in­put screen, bril­liant safety sys­tems and con­tin­u­ing fo­cus on com­fort.

Adapt or per­ish, now as ever, is na­ture’s in­ex­orable im­per­a­tive.

This XC90 is Volvo’s nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion.

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