Volvo gains Mo­men­tum

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

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

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