Volvo XC90 beauty refined

When the Volvo XC90 was first introduced in 2015 it undeniably shook the luxury SUV segment.

The Germans sat up and took notice of the somewhat vanilla Swede. The XC90 blended sublime styling both in and out as well as impressive interior build quality. I have and still am a fan of this Swedish SUV but, the Germans have been busy, their latest offerings are equally impressive. Volvo thus recently introduced a mild facelift XC90 and I sampled it to see what it’s like.

The looks

You can’t just call a car pretty or beautiful, most modern cars are neither, to be honest. A pretty car, in my opinion, is the Aston Martin DB9. It features smooth lines, sumptuous curves and little in terms of clutter in the form of unnecessary vents, wings and fins. A Jaguar E-Type, on the other hand, is indeed a beautiful car, even Enzo Ferrari said that t is the most beautiful car he had ever seen, and he knows a thing or two about beautiful cars.

The Volvo XC90 however I find to be somewhere in the middle, you see, the latest BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE look nice but the Volvo is subtle, easy on the eyes, I think it’s best to sum it up as extremely attractive. The latest model adds a newly designed front grille, new wheel designs and a range of new colours. The problem with an extremely good looking car is that it is very difficult for a manufacturer to completely change the looks hence the subtle changes on the Volvo.


The XC90 offers a neat and modern looking interior with a facia angled towards the driver and an iPad-like screen as its main attraction. The vertically mounted screen offers all the control functions for the car, safety features as well as infotainment and navigation. It is also Apple CarPlay compatible. The centre console houses the gear lever and cup holders which are neatly hidden under a retractable cover. The start/stop engine button is a sort of chrome crystal-like item as is the roller toggle to select between drive modes. I feel that it still adds to the classiness of the interior and might not seem as ostentatious as the crystal-like gear lever found in some modern BMW models.

The seats in the XC90 are superb and, this being the top-spec Inscription model they happened to be heated, cooled and offered up massage function for driver and passenger. Another nod to the premium feel is the fact that my test unit was optioned as a 6 seater, this meant that the rear bench had been replaced with two individual chairs. This does add a sense of business class travel. It also means that if you have two kids that tend to fight a lot, they are now separated. If you have more than two then hidden in the luggage area floor are an additional two seats however the legroom is limited. Overall, the Volvo in question offers up loads of space, 314-692-1947 litres depending on seat configuration.

The drive

The Volvo XC90 in question here is the D5 model, it features a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine. Now before you complain about the small engine capacity in such a big car, the motor develops some impressive figures such as 173 kW/ 480 N.m. The engine unit also features Volvos PowerPulse technology, a system that has been cleverly engineered to reduce turbo-lag ensuring power on demand.

Sending power to all four wheels is a smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox. The Volvo, sitting on air suspension offers an impeccable ride quality, a car designed for the long way home indeed. Volvo, however, claims 5.7l/100km, I averaged around 7.0l/100km switching between eco and comfort mode. There is sport mode which sharpens the throttle and lowers the suspension as well as an off-road mode which does the opposite for when the road gets rough.


As I said, I do like the Volvo XC90, I think it’s a great car, it looks good, it’s well built and it offers great safety features. Unfortunately for Volvo, the competition has caught up. The new offerings from Germany and even England are simply outstanding and are newer than the R1 269 400 XC90 which I tested.

Related Articles

Back to top button