Driving ‘The Swedish Beast’

The Volvo XC90 was a rather important and indeed, a revolutionary product for the Swedish brand when it was introduced back in 2015.

Not only was this the first product under an independent, all-Volvo team design, but it also paved the way for the brand’s current design language and technical direction.

The XC90 gave the entire segment a rather big scare, winning award after award, but as is to be expected, key rivals caught up and passed the luxury Swede, leading to the introduction of an updated XC90 midway through last year. We will be testing the updated XC90 very soon, so allow me to elaborate on the unique model that I received on to test.

A special XC90

I received a rather special XC90 to test, it was modified with many off-road goodies and was given to me by Volvo on the condition that I didn’t base my perception of the updated model on this heavily modified example made for marketing purposes.

Mad Max would be proud

If Mad Max was looking for something with semi-autonomous driving functionality to get him across the wastelands of a post-apocalyptic landscape while simultaneously avoiding attacks by Immortan Joe and his War Boys, I’d say that the particular matte black D5 Inscription XC90 would suit him just fine.

Mechanically, the car is your run-of-the-mill D5 XC90, with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine producing 173 kW and 480 N.m mated to an eight-speed torque converter automatic sending power to all four wheels. Unique to this ‘apocalypse’ spec are BF Goodrich All-Terrain tyres, a roof rack with a host of get-out-of-any-situation goodies secured to the roof, among which includes a spade and spare tyre, courtesy of aftermarket off-road accessories specialists Front Runner.

The Furiosa-approved exterior consists of a matte black wrap along with orange accents, a theme carried over to the interior, where the seatbelts have also been changed to orange.


It was delightfully refreshing to drive this vehicle around. I have never been in an SUV that has garnered as much attention as this XC90. It is fantastic to see that Volvo has embraced a more flamboyant approach not only towards its product but also towards the way that it markets them.


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