Countdown to new Volvo XC90 over
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MOST AWAITED VOLVO EVER FINALLY HITS OUR ROADS, WRITES COLIN SMITH
Carmakers can get a little excited with talk of defining moments, game-changing new products and fresh directions for their brand.
Occasionally the talk isn’t overplayed, however, and that’s the case with the new Volvo XC90 now reaching New Zealand roads after a long wait.
It’s not just that the new XC90 finally replaces a vehicle which was launched in 2002 and helped to shape a generation of premium SUaV contenders.
This all-new XC90 is also the starting point to an entirely refreshed Volvo range that will roll out over the next four years.
The second generation XC90 is the first application of Volvo’s SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) vehicle platform that will underpin those future models. It’s also an important showcase for its four-cylinder Drive-E engine strategy, being the largest vehicle the hi-tech 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine family will be required to motivate.
The XC90 has launched in New Zealand this month with T6 petrol and D5 diesel engine choices in entry model Momentum and higher-grade Inscription grades. All models have seven seats, all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission with the price entry point hitting the important sub-$100,000 position.
Sports theme R-Design variants will follow soon and the full force of Volvo’s technology and efficiency mission arrives early in 2016 with the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid T8 Twin Engine model that promises ultra-low emissions and fuel consumption with 40km electric driving range.
The XC90 gets the D5 version — a twin turbocharged common rail diesel — and the T6 direct injected petrol, which employs both supercharging and turbocharging to boost power output and torque.
These engines replace larger displacement and thirstier five- and six-cylinder units. On the road, any question marks about small capacity performance are soon set aside. The diesel has muscular torque and strong response from low engine speeds while the refined petrol unit always feels significantly bigger than 2.0 litres.
In both cases a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic adds to the refinement and response.
At the rear, a high-rise tail light cluster dominates the rear pillars and provides an instantly recognisable Volvo design feature.
Also among the themes of the XC90 is a concerted effort to look Swedish and create a clear point of difference from German rivals.
The cabin is the primary focus of this with its modern and minimalist layout. Excellent seats offer comfortable support and plenty of adjustment — a long established Volvo hallmark along with clear visibility and instruments.
It’s the D5 Momentum model which opens the XC90 range with a $97,900 pricetag while the D5 Inscription is $104,900 and the D5 R-design will be $106,900.
The D5 power plant produces 165kW at 4250rpm and has 470Nm of torque available from 1750-2750rpm while meeting Euro6 emission standards, and a claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 5.8L/100km. Acceleration from 0-100km/h is 7.8 seconds.
Also standard are a powered tailgate, four-zone air conditioning, power front seats, leather trim, keyless start, rain sensor wipers, reversing camera and front/rear parking sensors with park assist pilot, cruise control and an 8-inch graphic instrument cluster.
The Sensus audio and communication system includes satellite navigation and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.
Volvo’s focus on both passive and active safety means the latest generation City Safety low-speed collision mitigation is standard with pedestrian and cyclist recognition capability and a new intersection braking function.
With the T6 supercharged/turbo engine, the XC90 has 236kW available at 5700rpm and 400Nm of torque from 2200-4500rpm which trims the 0-100km/h figure to 6.5secs. Fuel consumption is rated at 8.0L/100km.
The T6 will come in two models — the Inscription priced at $110,900 while the later-arriving T6 R-Design will be $112,900.
Stepping up to the Inscription model adds 20-inch alloy wheels, integrated roof rails, dual integrated tail pipes, a bright grille finish, illuminated door handles and puddle lights and a hands-free tailgate opening function.
R-Design features emphasise the sports theme with gearshift paddles and drive mode settings. The interior has a charcoal headlining with specific R Design carpets, carbon fibre trim inlays, metal pedals, a perforated leather steering wheel and sports seats.
The exterior of the XC90 R-Design has unique 20-inch alloy wheels, matte silver mirror caps and R Design grille, front spoiler and tail pipe treatments.
Kenchington said he’s also had conquests from such vehicles as Ford’s seven-seater Territory.
Competition in the premium SUV segment will get interesting with the arrival of second generation Audi Q7 and rebadged Mercedes GLE (formerly ML) range.
also available for the XC90: 21/22- inch wheels, Urban and Rugged exterior styling kits, skid plate set, power sunroof, air suspension, 360-degree parking camera, head-up display system and Sensus premium sound system by Bowers & Wilkins.
Volvo XC90 line-up
XC90 D5 Momentum — $97,500
XC90 D5 Inscription — $104,900
XC90 D5 R-Design — $106,900
XC90 T6 Inscription — $110,900
XC90 T6 R-Design — $112,900
XC90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription — $134,900 (Feb 2016 arrival)
XC90 T8 Twin Engine R-Design — $136,900 (Feb 2016 arrival)