Twelve years ago, very little of this was here. This was an industrial wharf. Eminem was someone, and Kim Kardashian was no one.
This car, the Volvo XC90 arrived and took the family SUV world by storm.
Now, with an all new model soon to arrive, and while you can still buy a new one, we thought it would be a great chance to take one last look at the big Swede, and see how it set the benchmark for luxury family transport for over a decade
The XC90 was launched to the world back in 2002 and was Volvo’s first ever SUV. Back then, if you wanted a 7-seat 4WD wagon, your choices were relatively limited.
In fact for a premium, 4WD, urban friendly vehicle – the only real competitor to the XC90 was the LandRover Discovery 2.
Considering we’re due to see the Discovery 5 next year, is testament to how long and how well the Volvo has survived.
It has been popular too, the XC90 was Australia’s best-selling 7-seater for 5-years running and the list of competitor models that have come and gone during its tenure reads like a recap of Game of Thrones.
There was a mild facelift in 2007, and improvements to engines and driveline along the way, but for the most part, the XC90 has remain largely unchanged for 12 years
In all, there have been 636,143 XC90s made – and it feels like it, as you rarely have a trip where you don’t see another.
How do I know so much about the Volvo XC90? I used to own one.
Looking at the outside, the XC90 is unmistakably a Volvo. It doesn’t look it, but its as wide as a BMW X5 and taller than an Audi Q7.
The design has dated, but it is still a good looking car.
Our test car has the R-Design package which includes 19-inch wheels and colour coded accents. You can spot the final run of XC90s by the LED running lamps in place of the old halogen foglamps in the front bumper.
This is where the XC90 shows its age the most.
There’s no giant touch screen or digital displays here. It’s very analogue – but these air conditioning controls for example are very clear and easy to use.
The infotainment system – and lets not mince words here, it’s basically ‘the radio’ is generations behind. The sound quality from the nine speakers is great, but it’s fiddly to navigate beyond the basics and the Bluetooth is tricky to pair and not the most reliable connection.
Navigation is another ‘retro’ feature here – the 7-inch TFT rises from the dash when activated, and can only be controlled by a remote. It’s handy if you want to leave navigation choices to your rear passengers – but the system is low resolution and pretty clunky
But the materials and finish still feel high quality and there is a sense of solidness about the Volvo. And of course, the seats are heated, and extremely comfortable. The leather is lovely and soft and they make long distance touring easy.
Despite this though, the XC90’s focus isn’t really on the driver – where this car still shines, is back there...