By Khukekani Dumisa
The current generation XC90 was introduced in 2015. It came to fill in the shoes of a model that had been around for a long time. Some even argued that the XC90 had been around for so long that it had started losing the brand customers who sought newer alternatives. The second generation XC90 thus had a huge task on its hands. Not only to beat the previous generation but claw back on lost ground for Volvo. The award winning SUV did exactly that. It redefined the brand and brought it new customers. Volvo has refreshed the XC90 for 2019 and we travelled to Cape Town to experience it.
On the outside, the refreshed XC90 offers subtle upgrades to the original exterior design, such as new wheels, exterior colours and a modern new grille. Although the changes are minimal, the new grille does enough to breathe new life into the car. This is more evident if the right colour is selected.
On the inside, the XC90 can be ordered with a range of different seating configurations. From the four-seat Excellence variant and the seven-seat family SUV to the brand new six-seat configuration. The latter is an innovative addition to segment. The two individual seats are comfortable and provide a convenient entry into the back seats. Since they slide forward, adults can now seat in the last row making the XC90 the more convenient.
The XC90 introduces Volvo on Call for the first time in South Africa. Volvo On Call is an innovative app-based service that helps motorists to communicate with their cars. It facilitates a multitude of tasks. With Volvo On Call, motorists can lock or unlock the doors to their car, check the fuel level and cool or heat their car – and they can do this all via their smartphone, smartwatch, tablet or desktop.
Volvo Concierge is another innovation that buyers will appreciate. The South African manned services (ensuring that there are no accent/language barriers when the services is accessed) is standard on the XC90. The service allows the customers to call in for a number of services. We used the system to send us directions to our lunch venue. The consultant sent us details which popped up on our infotainment screen and we were on our way within a short space of time.
Engines and drive
Volvo retrains two-litre, four-cylinder powertrains. At launch we drove both the XC90 D5 and T8. The turbodiesel Volvo XC90 D5 makes 173 kW of power and 480 Nm of torque, and has a claimed fuel consumption of 5,7 litres per 100 km. On the other hand, the range-topping Volvo XC90 T8 Geartronic AWD has a 300 kW (235 kW + 65 kW) petrol engine that is also supercharged and turbocharged. It works in conjunction with an electric motor, delivering power of 300 kW (235 kW + 65 kW) and torque of 640 Nm (400 Nm + 240 Nm). Fuel consumption is a claimed 2,1 litres per 100 km. The D5 suffers a bit of lag and is slow delivering power at take-off and when overtaking. This means you have to work a little harder to get power out of it and that affects fuel consumption. Our launch unit had 5 adults in it with no language and it struggled to deliver a convincing performance. The engine is fairly quiet though and the ride is comfortable. All issues about turbo lag and lackluster performance are simply non-existent in the powerful T8. The plug-in hybrid dashes off the line incredibly quickly and quietly. It’s also the one to opt for if you require a bit of performance from your XC90 SUV.
The refreshed Volvo XC90 range is priced from R1,023,000. All Volvos standard with a 5 year / 100,000km Warranty and Maintenance Plan (Volvo Plan), and 5 year / unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance.
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