Let us introduce to you a new friend at the CarAdvice office, which will be working hard on family and commuting duties over the next few months. It’s a 2019 Volvo XC90 D5 R-Design with a listed price of $101,900.
It’s Volvo’s biggest SUV, with room for seven on board and a real nod to the brand’s heritage in safety. Being a high-spec model, there are plenty of nice touches inside to cover off.
The seats are a cosseting nubuck option, although you can opt for ‘comfort’ perforated, heated and ventilated Nappa if you so desire ($1200).
The interior looks and feels very high quality, which is what you expect at this end of the segment. There are premium surfaces and details all around the place, along with a smart and intuitive portrait infotainment system. Being R-Design, the infills of carbon fibre look pretty flash. The air-conditioning controls for the second row are very impressive, too.
It’s definitely comfortable behind the wheel for short or long trips. My basic test of space across the first two rows yielded good results: with a big, bulky rearward-facing baby seat installed into the ISOFIX points behind the passenger seat, you’ve still got a decent amount of space left over for legroom up front. And that’s not always the case, trust me.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre, twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that makes 177kW and 500Nm running through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels. Official fuel use is listed at 5.8L/100km, and we'll put that to the test over our time with the car.
The engine, which does sound a little small for a car of such size, is impressively eager to accelerate off the mark. The gearbox is quick to respond to accelerator inputs, and it’s only rarely that you feel the car could use a little bit of extra power. It’s very refined and efficient, however.
And although our tester unit is running on 22-inch alloys (a no-cost option), the ride is impressively smooth. This is likely because the option of air suspension was ticked, which also includes electronically adjustable dampers that help smooth off the ride impressively without feeling vague or wandering.
The airbag suspension can be had for $3600, or you can package it up with a premium Bowers & Wilkins audio system, heated rear seats and a load holder for $6500.
Ice White is the colour of choice, and I have to say the XC90 is a good-looking unit. Not too macho, and those overly boxy designs are now a thing of the past. Despite being around for a few years now, the XC90 still looks sharp.
First impressions are great, but don’t forget that this is a segment brimming with high-end options. BMW is landing with the X7 soon – and while it doesn’t seat seven, Audi’s Q8 brings a strong game of safety and technology.
While it’s so far impressive in terms of the finish and packaging, the XC90 will really earn its chops when it comes to wrangling the family and work duties over the weekdays and weekends.
We’ll be putting the XC90 into a few different sets of hands to see what our thoughts are, and see how it really performs.
NOTE: Volvo has announced model-year 2020 updates for the XC90, which should hit Australia in September. See our story here.