BEHIND THE WHEEL: VOLVO XC90 T8

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 5, 2016
Shiang
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PRO

Handsome looks

Ride comfort

Practicality and space

CON

Miniscule fuel tank

Volvo quirks

Hybrid system; a ticking bomb

SPECIFICATION

2-litre 4-cylinder

407hp 740Nm

8-speed automatic

0-100 km/h: 5.6s

Top speed: 230 km/h

RM 403,888

The gradual change on big SUVs getting prettier as time goes by is true with the XC90 because it is a looker, at least in my eyes they are. The rather skinny on the top Thor’s hammer DRLs dictates the whole car’s elegant design. Even though the one that was sent came with 22-inch alloys doesn’t make it a distasteful car. Be it from the front, back or the sides the new 90’s design is cohesive, pleasing to look at, nowhere close to being ugly.

XC90 interior

Very much has been continued on the inside with heartwarming wood running through the dashboard with soft leather wrapped on panels that are supposed to be wrapped and beyond. Consequently, touchscreen on center and speedometer are reactive and of high resolution. Back seats provide ample of room and recline but I wonder why were there cables below the driver’s seat left out in the open.

Weighing in at 2343 kilograms, it rides comfortably on air suspension. There’s seriously no complaint even on its sportiest setting. It can seat seven but if you’re like me, I’ll keep the last row folded flat for boot space. Despite being huge on proportions, it drives like a mid sized SUV. If you enjoy swift driving like I do, the XC90 doesn't feel like it needed more power than it does. The traction control too gets two thumbs up for not being intrusive.

 

Even though Volvo says it’ll kick up a hundred in 5.6 seconds, let’s not forget the phony hybrid proposition marketing tactics. Truth is, it will only do 5.6 only if you have charge left in its batteries. And if you don’t, it will only rely on its petrol engine while the battery pack acts as dead weight. After several hard accelerations or cruising about on electric mode to spook your friends, you’ll be needing to whip out a sundial to measure its acceleration.

volvo since 1959
volvo flag

This Swede company has come very far from what the first XC was but the idiosyncrasies still remain. The same issue I had with the very first top-of-the-range XC60 where the safety features only does two things. It either scares you for something that’s far from an accident or torments you for the rest of time, leaving me in a frenzy. Seated in the back, you’ll notice quality has been pinched and it’s no comparison to an Audi Q7.

 

Sure it can all be turned off but what’s the point of paying for them in the first place? To get off the line, you’ll be required to twist a plastic knob where right is to start or left to kill the vehicle. Then hold the handbrake down for a full two second otherwise it’d still be up. Next shift a fake crystal plastic lever either up or down but it’ll still be in neutral because only the second upshift would only put you into reverse or down for drive.

xc90 side

After a brief five minutes of enthusiastic driving, the boot doesn’t open electrically no more as I was told the battery had been completely drained. That apart, its head up display failed to function during my time with the car for whatever reasons the man wasn’t sure of. Tipping over 400 thousand, I am not remotely convinced when one has to go through so much just to get the car moving. And if I were a person who’s got a fetish for optional extras, the BMW X5 40e M goes for about 20 less.

xc90 back
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