When you think of obsessive automotive safety, you think of Volvo. It’s been the brand’s mission to ensure that there’s not a single death, globally, in a Volvo car. That’s a lot to aim for when you sell hundreds of thousands of cars per year. Great safety makes for great family cars, and Volvo’s XC90 is just that. This SUV has peaked the attention of family-car enthusiasts globally; so why should India be an exception? This gorgeous machine has been designed to keep every occupant’s needs and safety on the pedestal.
It isn’t an aggressive adversary to the Audi Q7 or the BMW X5, but it surely levels up with the sheer sincerity that has gone into creating the near-perfect family SUV. What we mean by this is that it isn’t pretentious. As a family car, it can get you out of a rocky patch on your safari trip in the Gir forest, but will not climb vertical slopes because it doesn’t need to. It doesn’t pack a powerful V8 engine to go from still to 100kmph before a hummingbird can blink, but it does a decent 0-100 kmph dash in 7.2 seconds to get you home from work before the guests arrive. This endearing characteristic is the fruit of its excellent build and capabilities.
Volvo brings the mild-hybrid powertrain to the XC90, arming it with a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that has already been acknowledged and enjoyed in the S90 sedan. A few tweaks and cajoles later, this engine in the XC90 produces 300PS of power and 420 Nm torque. The lack of displacement is not noticeable until you need to conjure up an insane amount of acceleration, something you wouldn’t find yourself doing too often in a 2-tonne family SUV (hopefully). The 8-speed Aisin gearbox is a treat to handle and is a comforting ally when you’re on a long drive.
The air suspension does a fine job in keeping the baby from waking up unless you miss a sharp pothole or speedbump. Travelling in the rear seats is akin to gliding, some would say. You can weave your way through annoying city traffic just as conveniently as you can enjoy the thrill of banked turns on expressways. The XC90, because of its size and weight, is an extremely stable and well-balanced automobile.
Volvo has repeatedly stressed how important the technology aspect has been for their automobiles. The interiors of the XC90 bear testimony to the same. While everything seems similar to predecessor models, what has improved is the utility. The Scandinavian-inspired grey theme sets the mood inside the Volvo with wood, glass, and fine leather trims that elegantly sheathe the most essential surfaces. There is 4-zone climate control, fully-powered front seat settings that adjust to every whim, a third row that is large enough for kids to sit comfortably and collapses for more boot space, a crystal-glass gear shifter that’s straight from the halls of Valhalla, a richly-appointed steering wheel with best access controls, a panoramic sunroof with a power-operated sunshade, and more. Special ups to the Advance Air Cleaner technology that takes care of dust and allergens within the cabin.
At the heart of the dashboard sits a 9-inch touchscreen that is simple to use (some may argue it isn’t a looker). Behind the steering wheel, the 12.3-inch driver display and a handy head-up display can be found. Both have been so designed to produce and project graphics that do not distract the driver.
The 1400W B&W audio system packs 19 speakers and a subwoofer to keep everyone entertained. Other safety and convenience features include Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, City Safety that offers dynamic braking, Oncoming Mitigation and Braking Technology that clairvoyantly protects you from oncoming vehicles, and more.
Visually, the XC90 isn’t an apple that has fallen too far from its genetic tree. The sharp edges, ridges, and elaborate rear taillights are as sleek as Volvos have come to be. It’s a nice-looking SUV with a noticeably fashionable grille and powerful fully automatic LED headlights.
I must admit that the XC90 is what it was born to be. Not much more, not much less. It’s a family SUV that does the odd trick to keep you adventurous, without compromising on the safety of you or your loved ones.
Power: 300bhp / 640Nm@1740rpm
Top speed: 180 kmph
Engine: 1969 cc, turbocharged petrol
Transmission: 8 Speed Automatic AWD
Price: Rs1.20 crore