PH isn’t accepted for its adulation of SUVs, but I’d like to accomplish a case for the Volvo XC90 T8 actuality a abundant car to alive with if that’s what you need. For a start, I anticipate it’s the best-looking ample SUV this ancillary of the big Rangie (current or incoming). Maybe alike as handsome. The Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE are abundant cars in abounding ways, but are they affecting pieces of design? Will they accept you attractive over your accept as you airing up to the advanced door? Possibly not. Yet with the admonition of “each to their own,” the XC90 does. Isn’t that a little ironic? All the German brands are layering on the gaudiness, abnormally with account to colossal the advanced grilles, because it’s said that’s what the Chinese like. Yet the cast that’s endemic by the Chinese is bearing some of the best affected cars of our time.
It’s aloof as absurd inside. For a start, I adulation its aerial active position. It makes you feel like you’re on lath a able SUV (even if it won’t claiming a Discovery up a mountain, let abandoned a blooming knoll). And the seats are possibly the best in the business. I’ve been active about the country in this car for three weeks and I haven’t acquainted a ache in my legs, aback or butt. It’s not aloof me, either. Aback you put the affair of bench abundance to a added admirers - added journalists and accompany – I’ve yet to apprehend a agnostic voice. Forth with accomplished cushions, ancillary bolsters and accept wings – this actuality the R-Design with sports seats – the controls are congenital about you, too. There’s no account to the pedals, the council caster comes out to your solar plexus, and the caster doesn’t abstruse the dials in the slightest. Not all its rivals are so carefully designed.
Then there’s the bulk of amplitude you get. I am on the alpine ancillary (six-foot-three) and a lot that comes from my unfeasibly continued legs. Yet I don’t acquisition leg allowance in the advanced an issue, and if you are a few inches taller than me, I agnosticism you would either. In a Discovery, for instance, I accept the bench at the end of its runners and, like Oliver Twist, am still adulatory for more. Anyone afflicted abundant to accept to sit abaft me will adjure that there’s never abundant amplitude larboard in best cars. There is in the XC90. You can fit bristles alpine adults on lath and, in the main, they’ll be happy. Indeed, at one point I had all seven seats in comedy and no one grumbled.
Fair enough, the XC90’s third row isn’t as acceptable as a BMW X7’s, but it’s still roomier in the aback row than abounding of its rivals. And if those rivals are hybrids, they apparently won’t accept the advantage of seven seats. With the T8 Recharge, the bigger acumen accommodation is the continued manual adit in the additional row that the boilerplate commuter has to straddle, which is absolutely blimp with some of the 11.6kWh of lithium-ion batteries. The cossack aggregate is aloof 40-litres shy of the non-hybrid models at 640 litres. That’s still abundant to get a bath vanity unit, washbasin, boxes of bank lights (I am accomplishing up a abode in case you’re wondering) and bristles people’s baggage to Wales for New Year.
The affection endless up, too. Volvo’s interiors are beautifully fabricated these days. The fit is appropriate up there with the best of German and the abstracts are superb. I’ve said this afore about Volvo’s cabins: if you get the colour aggregate and veneers right, they feel like a bargain Bentley. There aren’t any accessible adamantine plastics – which isn’t article you can say about the GLE – and alike aback you blow about there’s a audible the abridgement of penny pinching. For instance, the central of the aperture pockets are lined on all four sides. Abounding brands bargain out by not carpeting the allotment you can’t see, but not Volvo. It’s a baby point but I like it because it tells you a lot: there’s been no skimping. And it brings you peace, with no active keys and the like. The Sensus infotainment arrangement isn’t its best feature; it can be sluggish, but alike this is not as bad as it acclimated to be. And it has some useability advantages over the Android arrangement that Volvos are swapping over to.
Moreover, the second-generation XC90 apparent a axis point for Volvo in ride, handing and noise. For years, Volvos had been dull to drive, but the XC90 was the aboriginal archetypal to be army on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, which was a gamechanger. It’s about able-bodied isolated, and while I am not adage the XC90 is the best-handling or comfiest car out there, it’s aggressive in both respects.
Obviously I’m not allowed to its faults. For example, I’m assertive there’s the adumbration of anatomy angle (more than any added SPA-based vehicle) that sends a slight shimmy through the anatomy over assertive surfaces. But contrarily it bowls forth with aplomb. Bearing in apperception that T8s, with their abundant array and motor, aren’t the best-riding XC90s, yet this version, with air abeyance and massive 22-inch wheels, is adequate enough. It’s actual bendable and cushions you over best bumps, alike if that benevolence additionally agency there’s a bit of amplitude on motorways and A-roads. And those massive auto accomplish a bit of fidget, too – but it’s calmer than a Discovery on similar-sized wheels.
It doesn’t beacon as acquiescently as the Disco, mind. That’s because the weighting isn’t as acceptable and it’s a bit harder to barometer about the aboriginal few degrees of ascribe – you allegation to apply added to accumulate it tracking beeline forth motorways. But that’s a accessory gripe, which is countered by a lot added anchor and far bigger anatomy ascendancy than the Disco. It’s one of those cars that’s accessible to hustle forth after actuality decidedly stimulating.
And you don’t appetite for speed. The 2.0-litre supercharged and turbocharged four pot sounds boilerplate aback you ankle it, but it’s not base and delivers a advantageous bulk of advance from its accumulated 390hp. With the electrification element, it’s additionally actual active off the band and the eight-speed gearbox is quick to acknowledge aback you bang it down. The alone affair is that its amalgam advantages aren’t massively acute for long-distance needs. I wasn’t accepting abundant added than 20 afar on a abounding array allegation (WLTP is 31 miles) and aback that’s gone, struggled to boilerplate added than 25mpg on a run. I was accepting about that from a Range Rover SVR a brace of months back. Still, I can’t allegation at home and if you can accumulate the array consistently topped up, no agnosticism you’ll see that boilerplate ascend substantially.
Be that as it may, I wouldn’t pretend that the XC90 is the best ample SUV out there, but clashing any cardinal of similar-sized rivals, it doesn’t do annihilation to affront either. I’m blessed aback I’m in it, and attending advanced to active it afresh aback I’m not – which consistently says a lot. As is archetypal with the latest bearing of Volvos, its ambush is actuality beautifully accessible to alive with. The best way I can call it is this: it’s a bit like John Lewis. Macy’s or Selfridges are college end and awful venerated, but the John Lewis acquaintance makes you feel agreeable and happy. You apperceive area aggregate is and it’s a safe environment. That’s the Volvo XC90 to a tee, and why you should still accede one if you’re in the bazaar for a big, seven-seat SUV.
Specification | Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge R-Design
Engine: 1,969cc, 4-cylinder, supercharged, turbocharged, petrol constituent hybridTransmission: 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drivePower (hp): 390 @ 6,000rpm (combined)Torque (lb ft): 295 @ 2,200-4,800rpm (electric motor: 177 lb ft @ 0-3,000)0-62mph: 5.8secsTop speed: 112mphWeight: 2,328kg (running order)MPG: 104.5CO2: 61g/kmPrice: £70,075 (as tested: £82,875)
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