Volvo gains Momentum
VOLVO has its finger on the Pulse when it comes to the XC90. The 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine under the bonnet of the imposing premium quality seven-seater D5 AWD Momentum model I drove is a recent addition that packs a punch without putting a hole in your budget when it comes to running costs.
Its Power Pulse technology is a clever old Hector that includes a booster system primed with compressed air to remove any hint of turbo lag.
In layman’s terms this improves the potency of the response when you choose to exercise your right foot on the accelerator of this full-size SUV.
So, with the considerable help of the super smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, 0-62mph is achieved in a shade under eight seconds on the way to a top speed of 137mph – which is a bit tasty for a 2.7-tonne bruiser like this. It is the equivalent of a charging elephant but happily, unlike the jumbo, it is fitted with state-of-the-art brakes designed to bring you to a halt quickly and safely.
Fuel consumption averaging out at around 50 miles per gallon may seem the stuff of fantasy for this hefty beast and indeed I found the claimed figure a little optimistic as it was closer to 40mpg in the real world.
But this is still pretty good for one of its ilk and low emissions also help curb running costs – although if you’ve £50,000 lying around to spend on the XC90 you’re unlikely to be too concerned with the tax bill.
Nor will you worry about a lack of visual impact as the exterior is impressive front to back featuring big 19-inch alloy wheels, a distinctive face with the new iron mark, ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running lights and a huge bonnet which looks like it could accommodate a five-a-side football match. At the rear an electronic tailgate makes loading and unloading the boot simple while the rear seats fold flat into the floor creating a huge luggage area when you’ve the aforementioned team and its kit to transport.
The interior is sumptuously fitted out with a fine eye for detail. Yes the car is huge but there are lovely little touches such as the electric window buttons which are a dinky delight. Leather seats are more supportive than a marriage counsellor while top-notch materials give all the fixtures and fittings a quality feel.
Despite the XC90’s size it is relaxing to drive with the suspension easily dealing with the worst humps and hollows littering our roads these days. The steering is light but informative while the four-wheel drive system ensures lots of grip in all weathers on and off-road.
The front five seats are adult-sized while those in row three are smaller but still a practical option.
There is plenty of kit fitted with a nine-inch touchscreen giving access to the audio and sat nav systems. There are also a plethora of safety systems on board which can be a tad disconcerting if like me you try to change lane without indicating (there was nothing around at the time) as the car attempts to return you to the original course resulting in a minor tug of war with the steering wheel.
The XC90 will also brake and sound an alert if in its opinion something gets too close in front - even if you’ve already made allowances for it. The radio also has a tendency to change to a traffic alert from Mongolia if it thinks you’re enjoying The Archers too much.
Volvo is rightly lauded for its safety systems and I’m a fan - I just wish they were a bit less intrusive.
The honourable exception is the Blind Spot Information System which is an optional extra on the Momentum model. Other tempting options are the surround view parking camera, park assist pilot and power glass tilt and slide panoramic sunroof with sun curtain – part of a £2,000 Xenium pack.
TEST DRIVE VOLVO XC90