- Published: Wednesday, 04 March 2015 20:00
Barcelona, Spain -
What’s this? It doesn’t look familiar…
It’s the Volvo XC90, the Swedish brand’s super-popular big SUV, now finally replaced after 12 years of service.The XC90 is the first new car to be produced under Geely ownership, and uses the brand's new SPA (Scalable Platform Architecture).
The new model has big shoes to fill, but it gets the fit right from the start: The car’s all new, based on a novel platform architecture, and this is the range-topping T8 model. It’s longer, wider and a bit lower, yet in contrast to the old one, it looks very sleek and understated, with big presence thanks to its size.
T8, not V8?
The old range-topper had a nice Yamaha V8 with 315bhp, but this is the future: a plug-in hybrid powered by a 2.0-litre super and turbocharged engine with a total of 400bhp and 640Nm of torque. It’ll go 40km on electricity only, does a quoted 2.5L/100km and emits just 59/km of CO2, assuming you’ve fully charged it, which takes 3.5-hours.
Oh. Is it a sporty SUV then?
Not overtly, and Volvo doesn’t market it as such. But the XC90 can really hustle in its own very assured, smooth and quick way. Your ears tell you there’s a turbo-four under the bonnet but it contrasts to the way the car picks up speed with gentle, almost ruthless ease.
But all that stuff sounds heavy…
It is, at 2.3-tonnes, but no heavier than any of the competition – most directly the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid. And the XC90 handles and rides impeccably, with a supportive ride and excellent steering, not too much roll either. There’s no understatement to say in this area it’s a match for a Range Rover.
And what else do we get?
The XC90 was the first seven seat SUV and this continues the trend, with plenty of space for five adults and two near-adults. But another highlight is the cabin quality, which has really leapt forward, plus Volvo’s slick Sensus infotainment system. Oh and it can steer and drive you through traffic jams at less than 50km/h (Queue Assist) and will also prevent you from ramming oncoming cars at intersections (Auto-Brake At Intersections).
Should I get one?
Volvo is still considering the T8 for Singapore, although the more conventional T6 variant is confirmed for launch in July with deliveries happening in Q3. Further on down the line the cheapest offering will be a 245bhp T5 version, powered by the same engine as seen on the XC60. Price might be an issue, since the T8 is likely to cost more than $400,000, but with a car this accomplished, even if venturing into big German V8 pricing, it is well worth considering given it's now one of the most technologically-advanced cars in its class.
Volvo XC90 T8
NEED TO KNOW
Engine 1,969cc, 24v, inline 4, turbo/supercharged
Power 318bhp at 6000rpm
Torque 400Nm at 2200-5400rpm
Electric Motor 82bhp, 240Nm
Battery Lithium ion, 9.2kWh
System Power 400bhp total
System Torque 640Nm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 230km/h
0-100km/h 5.9 seconds
Fuel efficiency 2.5L/100km
Availability July 2015 (TBC)