The second generation of Volvo’s best-selling XC90 brings striking looks, the latest tech and a host of neat extra touches, says Alan Douglas
Scottish Olympic silver medallist Luke Patience isn’t just a supreme sportsman…he’s also a very lucky man.
The 28-year-old sailor from Aberdeen will be one of the first people to get hold of a very rare version of the all-new luxury SUV from Volvo, the XC90.
As an ambassador for the Swedish carmaker, Luke, who’s now based in Weymouth after his success in the 2012 London Olympics, will shortly be handed the keys to a limited First Edition model of the car. Only 1927 numbered examples of the fully-loaded Onyx Black cars have been made, marking the year that Volvo was founded, and all were sold, unseen and undriven, within 47 hours of them becoming available on the internet with a price tag of £68,000. Only 54 came with right-hand drive to the UK and Luke’s has the number plaque 470, matching the class he sails in. The only downside is that he’ll have to hand it back after his year leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Meanwhile the standard versions of the all-new car have been well received too. Even before it officially arrived in Britain, 3,500 buyers have placed orders, more than half the sales target for a full year. That continues the tradition of the previous model which sold more than 636,000 with only cosmetic changes since it was introduced in 2002 to become one of the most successful cars ever produced by Volvo.
The new version is a stunner which oozes Scandinavian simplicity, style and design while incorporating the latest technology, encapsulated in a class-leading nine-inch central touchscreen which can even be used while wearing gloves. It is at the heart of the company’s Sensus programme and removes the need for a host of switches and buttons.
Volvo also claim it’s the safest car they’ve ever built with the most comprehensive and sophisticated safety package in the car industry. It includes two world firsts – Run Offroad Protection, which senses if the car has accidentally left the road and automatically calls up safety systems to reduce the chance of spinal injuries, and Auto Brake at junctions which brakes the car if it inadvertently turns in front of an oncoming car.
It’s the first Volvo to be built on a new platform which will be the base for all future models in the range and features new Swedish designed-and-built four-cylinder two-litre petrol and diesel engines. A hybrid version coupling the petrol engine with an electric motor at the rear will be available later this year.
It comes as a full seven-seater and looks as though it could easily bring home half the contents of your local IKEA store.
There are some great little touches like a small Swedish flag on the side of the soft Bridge of Weir leather seats and “Since 1959” engraved on the driver seat belt buckle, marking the year Volvo invented the three-point safety belt.
While the overall silhouette of the car has been kept distinctively XC90, there are some great new touches to the latest version. The floating front grille has a redesigned Iron Mark logo and dramatic T-shaped Thor Hammer daytime running lights. At the back end, the 3D rear lights border the powered tailgate up to a strong roof wing reminiscent of the upmarket German competition.
There are three trims – entry level Momentum which in itself is crammed with equipment, luxurious Inscription and sporty R-Design.
Prospective buyers in Edinburgh will get their first chance to see the new XC90 in the flesh this weekend at Murray Volvo at Sighthill, which is staging National Swedish Day to mark the arrival of the new car.
As well as offering demo drives, they’ll be inviting customers to join them for Swedish “Fika” – a social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time. Swedish goodies like cakes, buns and cookies will be served up by waiting staff in Swedish-themed dress in a party atmosphere.
The XC90 will fit in well as the star guest.
Volvo XC90 D5 AWD Inscription, from £50,185 (£64,850 as tested
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel unit producing 225bhp and 347lb/ft of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic gearbox driving all four wheels
Performance: Top speed 137mph, 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds
Economy: 48mpg combined
Emissions: 152g/km of CO2