First Drive of the 2015 Volvo XC90: XCstasy Feel
Whenever someone talks or writes about Volvo automobiles, the word’safety’ always appears in the first two or three paragraphs, as the Scandinavian automaker appears to know everything there is to know about taking care of all occupants in the best possible way. Furthermore, they are on a quest to eliminate any significant injuries that may occur when travelling in a Volvo car, and the consequence of these efforts can already be seen in their current offerings.
Volvo wants to show you the other side of the brand, where they have brought a new soul under the sheet metal of the outside and an aura of premium luxury to leave you spoilt with options and features. Now that they have mastered the art of protection and have also taught a lesson or two to their competitors, Volvo wants to show you the other side of the brand, where they have brought a new soul under the sheet metal of the outside and an aura of premium luxury to leave you spoilt with options and features. They’ve picked the all-new generation XC90 to display it all flawlessly.
The new Volvo XC90 was not only designed in an engineering centre, but was also inspired by the world’s magical exotica. In addition, it may take up more parking space than the previous model, but it weighs 180 kg less. There’s even more… In our first drive report, we go through everything in detail.
You may have thought I was stretching it a little with my description of the XC90’s design in the last paragraph of the introduction, but it is absolutely correct, as Volvo has chosen not to drape its new generation automobile with gimmicky lines of the modern; to make it look like another in its segment, as they have inculcated traditional elements with an inspiration from the future.
The fresh new upright grille, with satin polished vertical slats connected with the brand insignia, is as beautiful as it is functional. The LED daytime running lamps are inspired by Thor’s hammer and go to great lengths to appear as futuristic as possible. To start the shoulder line on the side, the sleek contour of the lights gets a little extend across its corners. Scoops and pockets are added to the lower area of the bumper to hold the mesh and give it a masculine meets elegance with subtle aggression feel.
On both sides of the nearly flattish bonnet, character lines run from the windscreen to the end and then turn around to link to the front pillars. Roof smeared rails in a contrasting colour scheme are standard on the Inscription Luxury model. The body sits on a higher platform, with powerful shoulder lines providing the necessary muscle. The grille and shoulder lines, in fact, are the two most prominent features of the Volvo XC90’s design.
Flared wheel arches sit atop the brand new 20-inch wheels, which are again a top-spec variation feature. The window area is surrounded by a clean chrome frame with blackened pillars, giving it a relaxed appearance. The variation name is imprinted down the length of the rocker moulding. With their massive size, doors make it simple to get inside and out without exerting any effort. When you look at the silhouette, you’ll see that the general demeanour is quite relaxed, which was done on purpose to give it a royal appearance while also removing any unnecessary hostility; possibly a swipe at the Germans. When matched with the longer back overhang and relaxed roofline dropping gradually in the shape of rear tail lights, the shorter front overhang and greater trip of the front hood look fascinating.
The side lines do not wrap around to the back, as is customary, and instead finish with the tail lights. The trademark arrangement has been revised, with new tall crystalline LED tail lights occupying only the outline of the tail door, as seen on the previous generation. Above the tiny rear glass, a roof spoiler rests, with two horizontal crease lines on the tail door. The quad exhaust holes are housed in the rear bumper’s bottom protection, which also extends to the sides. Another feature you can’t afford to overlook is the big rear tyres, which are the widest in their class at 275/45 R20.
Except for those human-shaped air-conditioning buttons, which were my favourite, if you’ve ever been inside a Volvo, you’re unlikely to be surprised. Those buttons, unfortunately, have been purposely overlooked. I’m curious as to what motivated the trim designers to create not just a well-designed arrangement, but one that appears to be on par with the industry standard.
With the convenient rise and descent of ride height and the seats that ensure you are cuddled in the nicest way possible, settling inside should not be a problem. The plush nappa leather seats are opulent to the max, with buttons and choices to alter various supports at various positions. Simply turn a knob, and a screen in the centre offers a variety of seating possibilities. All it takes is a single touch to extend the under seat support, adjust the lumbar, or recline and shift.
The optional charcoal colour scheme will appeal to enthusiasts, while the rich beige colour scheme will appeal to luxury seekers. The second and third row seats are also quite comfortable. The XC90 is also not a last-ditch attempt to create a three-row SUV, as the third row provides enough room for average-sized adults. All of the occupants have a good view of the outside thanks to the theatre-style seating.
The rich hardwood veneers that are laid over the dashboard, around the central region, and on the console provide an incredible impression that none of its closest competitors can match. Because there are independent cooling zones that can be regulated from the screen on the first row, the feeling of comfort is consistent throughout all three rows. To keep a consistent temperature, there are vents installed on the pillar, planted between the first row seats as well as on the last row.
So they’ve raised the bar for a regular Volvo inside by going über niche with the use of high-end leather, wood, and other materials, but that’s not all. Volvo features a brand new Sensus infotainment system that can handle all of your in-car needs. It also does a lot more than just couple your phone and play music. It can enable park assist, display vehicle information, edit heads up display position, change driving modes, adjust suspension height, change colours of ambience light, has wiper settings, language settings, settings to enable electric parking brake, driver alert control, lane departure warning, tyre pressure monitoring system, calibration of tyre pressure, and many other options, and it can also be featured as a standalone article.
A vertically positioned 9.0-inch high-resolution touch screen is employed in this system. It is by far the largest vehicle in its segment, and it dwarfs the Range Rover. It has a similar interface to the iPad and is compatible with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. If you forget your hand held, the XC90 will not make you regret it.
The benefit of a larger screen was also felt when using the navigation system; the display is not as clear as it is on smaller screens, but with a screen this wide, you can’t afford to miss anything on the path. The 12.3-inch instrumental cluster and the heads up display the same information. Another benefit of this screen was that it reduced the amount of buttons to eight, reducing driver distractions while also keeping the cabin neat and tidy.
They’ve also made sure that practicality is prioritised, with storage options and charging stations strategically placed around the cabin. The luggage compartment can hold a lot of luggage, and with the third row folded down, you can even go on a trip for a few weeks. The simple electronic button for lowering the tail door is present, but it does not gain the same respect as the two buttons for lowering and raising the rear suspension height for easy luggage mounting.
Driven by Results
A motor with a super big displacement is required for an SUV that resembles a mammoth while also having the presence of a chic skyscraper. Look at the Audi Q7 and you’ll see what I’m talking about, yet Volvo wants to throw it all away. Instead, the 2-tonne XC90 is being towed by a 2-litre four-cylinder engine. Really?
Yes, it is correct. They’ve resolved to debunk the popular notion about bigger engines by offering a smaller, more intelligent alternative. Also, before you create a judgement against it, keep in mind that this motor produces 225 horsepower and 470 Nm of torque, which is quite outstanding. This vehicle is equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission and a drive mode selector that allows the driver to experiment with suspension, throttle response, and gear change patterns.
The 2.0-litre engine is a lightweight and low-friction engine that uses a twin stage turbocharger and is then whipped by an all-new 8-speed Geartronic transmission using their new Drive-E technology, which focuses on performance, efficiency, and driving pleasure. That may appear to be overly difficult, but once you’ve driven about in it, you’ll see how important it is.
It’s one thing to have artistic interiors, but it’s quite another to have intricate detailing that appeals to the senses. There is a really special way to get the engine revving, so don’t look for a pocket or a button to accomplish it. Simply run your hand over the diamond-finished and knurled button in the centre and twist it a little to start the diesel heart purring. The momentum is only realised when you look at the tachometer.
The digital needle in the TFT instrumental cluster shows a tiny rise at a smudge below 1000 rpm, which is the idling point. As the engine accelerates, the disadvantages of a typical small displacement motor on paper fade away completely. The drive mode selection is located in the centre and allows you to adjust the suspension, throttle responsiveness, and shifts as needed.
The XC90 is clearly not for the hot-blooded fanatics, at least in this configuration, and they may cheerfully take a step back. But it is among the connoisseurs and aristocrats who love to relax in a cocoon of luxury that it will gain real traction. It doesn’t have paddle shifters nestled into the steering column for the same reason. If you’re still in a hurry, select dynamic mode, which lowers the suspension and makes the throttle somewhat more responsive. When you slam the throttle all the way down, the 225 horses go into prancing gear.
Hold on to the wheel and corner it as hard as you can; it just won’t let go of the tarmac. The broad section tyres hold on to the surface with tremendous confidence no matter how hard you drive. More passion from the motor would have been fantastic, but the current configuration wasn’t half bad either. When you enter a bend and apply the brakes, you will notice a powerful bite on all four wheels, making you feel secure.
While many manufacturers ensure that their vehicles can withstand frontal and side collisions, Volvo has gone one step further and included protection against vertical pressures. In the event that the car loses contact with the road, the front seat belts tighten, and the force is absorbed by a linkage located beneath the seat joint, which collapses after an accident.
So it looks snazzy and handles well on winding roads, but an SUV needs to be more. It, like the XC90, must swallow potholes and travel over uneven surfaces like a king. Shift it to off-road mode just before heading out into the great outdoors, and the suspension height jumps by a full 40mm. Start climbing surfaces, craters, and everything else you can think of, and the occupants inside won’t even notice, thanks to the air-suspension system, which uses an electrically regulated damper system. The other modes, such as comfort and eco, focus on making the ride more comfortable and mapping the engine for efficient delivery.
Volvo has taken a massive leap out of their comfort zone with the new XC90, not just small steps. With the use of high-quality leather and wood, the interior decoration is just stunning. Then there’s the entertainment system, which is a complete treat for the ears and mind thanks to the XC90’s Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system with 19 speakers capable of producing 1400 watts.
To ensure that this top-of-the-line hardware is put to good use, Volvo’s sound engineers created a Concert Hall mode that replicates the exact acoustic setting of Sweden’s Gothenburg Konserthuset Hall, calibrated in real time with 800 individual measurements, and the end result must be heard to be believed.
Even in terms of technology, the very light 2.0-litre engine uses the i-ART direct fuel injection system, which monitors the exact pressure and fuel metering occurring inside each cylinder with the use of individual microchips.
Volvo’s safety design focuses primarily on what happens around the occupants, resulting in one of the safest vehicles available. They expanded the usage of high-strength steel in the XC90, resulting in a significant weight reduction and more focused crumple zones across the body. It is also compatible with the crumple zone of smaller cars, owing to the desire to protect other motorists.
You might be a tycoon who just wants an excuse to step out in front of everyone with flair and panache, or you can be an art critic who observes the exterior while transforming into a meditating monk with the serenity of the interior. Choose any side and you will enjoy the world of XCtasy for real.