By Benjamin Chunga (@benjaminthecreative)
They say special things happen to special people, well something special happened to us. Volvo South Africa decided to treat us by bringing their most prized possession, the majestic XC90 Excellence, for a day visit with us.
Much like Frank Lloyd Wright’s fallingwater house, the Volvo XC90 is aesthetically pleasing from any angle you look at it from. One look at this beautiful car and your mind begins to wander, as you try to paint a picture of what the interior might look like. A quick look inside reveals all the little hidden gems that Volvo has bequeathed to this model, such as the crystal gear knob, the Walnut finishes, as well as the smooth genuine leather. You’ll be pleased to know that these genuine items make up most of the car’s upmarket interior. Every finish you see is genuine, meaning if it looks like wood, it really is. A single glance at the Excellence badge on the sides of the car immediately tells you that this is the epitome of luxury and comfort. We found to be true for almost every feature we explored. The second you sit down you immediately notice the attention to detail in this work of art, seen in things as tiny as the patterns on the champagne flutes matching other areas of the car, to the amount of control you have over your seating position, even in the back seats.
The Volvo XC90 Excellence boasts many innovative features, such as temperature controlled cup holders, a fridge big enough to hold two 750ml bottles which replaces the middle back seat, an iPad style center from which you can control most of the cars functions, as well as a Bowers and Wilkins sound system, crafted after the Gothenburg Concert Hall to give you a truly premium listening experience, no matter your music preference. It’s like listening to Beethoven play Moonlight Sonata on a piano made of Swiss chocolate. Interestingly, the Bowers and Wilkins sound system is customized specifically for the Volvo XC90 Excellence. Worried that the exterior noise may take away from this theatre-like atmosphere, a glass partition which separates the luggage area from the passenger compartment has been added to the XC90 Excellence. This enhances soundproofing but maintains the sense of space.
Now, the XC90 Excellence is not just about aesthetics, it is a beast in a suit thanks to the combined power out of 300kW/ 640 Nm power output of the T8 Twin Engine backed by a 235 kW/ 400 Nm supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylider Drive-E petrol engine and a 65 kW/ 240 Nm electric motor. The car has two supplementary driving features where an on-board generator allows you to charge the batteries as you drive, at the cost of a fraction of your fuel, or save the charge you already have. In other words, you can use ‘Hold’ mode to cap the battery at a certain level, preventing it from dropping below the set level. But if you’d rather be safe than sorry, it can reach full charge within three hours from any 3-prong outlet. No fancy charging stations needed. At full charge, you’re looking at a maximum range of 45km for the 9.2 kWh battery pack. All these features don’t result in a slow, heavy SUV by any means though. The XC90 Excellence can get from 0-100 km/h in just over 5.5 seconds, leaving many a driver red faced and in the distance. We do not recommend this for this elegant car.
Although aimed at the city commute, the XC90 Excellence can be the perfect travel companion for the odd trip to the countryside. With the removal of the third row of seats, luggage capacity in the XC90 Excellence varies from 431 litres (with luggage cover extended) to 726 litres (loaded to roof height). This means you will be able to pack more than enough suitable attires for a stroll in Berg.All this said, the Volvo truly is an amazing and outstanding car which leaves little to the imagination. Volvo outdid themselves on this one. All that’s left to ask the Volvo design team is, where to from here?
The Volvo XC90 Excellence retails from R1,550, 000, and is available on an order-only basis. The price includes a 5-year/ 100 000 km full vehicle warranty and full maintenance plan.