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[Review] Volvo XC90 (D5 AWD Inscription)

Volvo XC90 2015 SUV

If you have been following our social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), you will know that our second vehicle that we’re reviewing is the Volvo XC90 (D5 AWD Inscription). This SUV is a 2.0L twin turbo-charged diesel, has 225 horsepower and a max torque of 470Nm. It has a top speed of 220km/h and 0-100 takes just 7.8 seconds! The fuel tank has a capacity of 71L and according to my driving, the economy is around 8.9l/100km calculated by the vehicle after a full tank of petrol has been used.

Look at these shiny pics of the Volvo XC90!

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I’ve only had one week to drive the Volvo XC90 around, but nevertheless, I still managed to get a sense of all the tech features in the car as well as the driving mechanics of the car. Since this is an AWD (All Wheel Drive) vehicle, it certainly does make for a better driving experience around town and on gravel roads particularly The 309 Road, in the Coromandel.

I have to mention now that the Volvo XC90 has Apple Carplay functionality, but because my iPhone didn’t arrive in time, I was unfortunately unable to try it out. Mind you I was looking forward to trying Apple Carplay out! If any vehicle manufacturer is able to supply us with a vehicle equipped with Apple Carplay for at least two weeks, we’d be very happy and grateful to finally be able to try it out!

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A border-less rear-view mirror!

I have driven the Volvo XC90 around town in Auckland, and to Tauranga and Coromandel. Driving to Tauranga in the Volvo was pretty straight-forward as coupled with Adaptive Cruise Control, it was a very pleasant drive. However, driving to Coromandel proved a bit more challenging, not in terms of how the car drives, but in terms of how windy and narrow the roads (in particular State Highway 25) can get! Nevertheless, we are all still in one piece and so that is good! As half of State Highway 25 is right next to the ocean, the passengers were able to embrace the wonderful view, while I concentrated on the twists and turns of the road.

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Boot space once the third row seats were put down.
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There is a slider here in the boot for additional privacy, or even shade for your cold items bought from the supermarket.
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The third row of seats have very limited leg room for big people. Only suitable for small adults and children.
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Getting out of the third row seats
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Third row seating area.

The Volvo XC90 is a big SUV. However, as expected, once you put up the third row of seats at the back, boot space is very limited. Still able to put stuff in, but it is definitely not as big as if the third row seats were put down. They fold flat down, so you don’t even realise there are a third row of seats in the vehicle.

The Volvo XC90 handles corners very well, again thanks to it being an AWD. And because this SUV sits you higher than a lot of the cars on the highway, I was able to see a lot further in front of me.

Standard feature that come with the Volvo XC90 include:

  • 9″ Touch Screen, Centre Display
  • 12″ Full Graphical Instrument Cluster
  • Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert
  • City Safety including Automatic Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection and Intersection Braking
  • Collision Warning and Mitigation Support, Front and Rear
  • Fully Active LED Headlights
  • Inscription Front Grill and Badge
  • Keyless Entry with Handsfree Tailgate Opening
  • Leather Key Remote
  • Park Assist Camera, Rear
  • Park Assist Pilot with Front and Rear Park Sensors
  • Road Sign Information
  • Run Off Road Protection

I won’t bore you with the basic safety features of the car e.g Blind Spot Monitoring, as these are firstly pretty self-explanatory, and secondly, most of these safety features were outlined in the Mazda6 review vehicle.

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The 9″ Touch Screen. One of the best I have used in a vehicle so far!

The 9″ Touch Screen in the center display basically controlled everything in the car, ranging from the air-con to the settings of how the interior lighting would work. Mind you air-con did have manual button controls too, but it could also be controlled from the touch screen. Because this vehicle did not have a built-in SIM functionality for data, I connected my phone’s WiFi Hotspot to the Volvo XC90 to use the built-in apps. The apps were pretty limited, only had Pandora Radio, Yelp, Here Maps etc. Didn’t have apps such as Spotify, which I use as my main music player these days. You could also check the weather forecast on the app too!

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The 12″ Full Graphical Instrument Cluster.

One of the features I liked about my model of the Volvo XC90 is that the Instrument Cluster (the display for speed, petrol etc.) is a fully graphical one. This means that there are no “pre-defined” scenes for the speedometer and these are all customisable from the center display touch screen.

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Passenger seating area…

One of the best design features in the car I thought was the interior mood lighting. Through settings on the 9″ touch screen display, I was able to set a colour (or have it predefined by the temperature of the car) for the cabin lighting. Of course, this was only visible when it was night time.

Another feature I was surprised about (because I’ve never had this feature on any of my cars) is Road Sign Information. When we were driving to Tauranga/Coromandel, literally 2 seconds after passing a speed sign post, it would reflect on the instrument cluster. After a bit of research, I found out that the camera on top of the windscreen identifies road sign information live, and immediately transfers it back to the vehicle’s display. This is very handy as sometimes you forget what the speed limit for this section of the road is, but you can now view it easily on your instrument cluster. It even recognises temporary speed sign posts with nothing obscuring the entire “circle” post!

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If you look very closely, the Head-Up Display is displayed directly on the windscreen. It can’t be seen very well if wearing polarized sunglasses like I wore.
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If you look closely again, you may be able to see one of the four cameras (under the side mirrors) that make up Volvo’s 360-degree Surround View Parking system.

My D5 AWD Inscription model also came with the following optional features:

  • Driver Support Pack which includes Head-Up Display, 360 degree Surround View Parking Camera, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Keeping Aid and Pilot Assist.
  • Heated Front Seats
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The air con can be controlled by the passengers in the second row seats for their respective areas.

Nobody likes to be stuck in traffic, especially in Auckland Traffic. Well this Volvo XC90 is the vehicle you want to be in when you are stuck in traffic. Thanks to Lane Keeping Aid and all the cameras on the XC90, Pilot Assist can sense the car in front and follow the car in front. It does this by doing the steering, braking and accelerating all automatically for you. If the car in front turns, Lane Keeping Aid will keep you in your lane and try to sense the car in front again. If it is successful, Pilot Assist mode will continue. If not, it will be cancelled and you will be required to resume full control of the car. But because of laws and regulations of not having your hands off the steering wheel for a prolonged period, it will beep every 10 seconds to get you to hold on to the steering wheel so it senses you are still there.

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21″ Pirelli tires make this vehicle a pleasant to sit in and drive!

I think the half of the brains behind all of the safety features on the Volvo XC90 are the cameras. The other half would be the sensors. There are 4 visual picture cameras on the XC90 (not including the ones on top of the windscreen for lane keeping assist etc.): one in the front, one in the rear, and one underneath each side of the wing mirrors. This is to generate the 360-degree view of the car, all thanks to Volvo’s SENSUS system. This 360-degree view shows you all of the immediate areas around the vehicle on the 9″ touch screen display in the center console.

The fuel tank capacity on the Volvo XC90 holds a pretty decent 71 litres, around 10 more litres of fuel than the Mazda6. However, the Volvo was able to get around 8-900 km on a full tank of fuel with the computer telling me I had around 20KM left for range.

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The price tag says it all…

The Volvo XC90 come in three engine sizes: D5 AWD, T6 AWD and T8 Twin Engine. The D5 AWD model is a 2.0l common-rail twin-turbodiesel, whereas the rest of the engines are 2.0l petrol supercharged/turbo.

There are three ‘Trim Levels’: Momentum (available on D5), Inscription (available on D5, T6 and T8), and R-Design (available on D5, T6 and T8). Obviously each level of ‘Trim’ have different features.

The following table shows a list of starting prices (in NZD) of each different Volvo XC90 models:

D5 AWD T6 AWD T8 Twin Engine
Momentum $97,900
Inscription $104,900 $110,900 $134,900
R-Design $106,900 $112,900 $136,900

For more information on the Volvo XC90 please visit: http://www.volvocars.com/nz/cars/new-models/xc90