FG BUY&SELL        FARMERS WEATHER       ARABLE FARMING        DAIRY FARMER      FARMERS GUARDIAN        AGRIMONEY        OUR EVENTS        MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS        BLOGS        MORE FROM US

You are viewing 1 of your 2 free articles

You’ll need to join us by becoming a member to gain more access.
Already a Member?

Login Join us now

On-test: Volvo XC90's distractive tech compromises concentration

Insights

Sweden’s high-tech rival to Land Rover’s Discovery has been a long time coming. And this new version of the XC90 represents a very modern, ultra-high tech example which could shake the Discovery’s existence to the core. Geoff Ashcroft reports.

Twitter Facebook
Sleek, modern styling for Volvo’s latest XC90.
Sleek, modern styling for Volvo’s latest XC90.

It starts well. The XC90 looks a classy piece of kit with smooth styling, a luxurious interior with plenty of space, and seven seats.

 

With a D5 moniker, you could be forgiven for thinking there is a silky-smooth five cylinder hidden in the nose. That is, until you start the engine, and a gruff, four-pot thrum rattles into life, taking the edge off the XC90 experience. It is no match for a silky-smooth V6 diesel that seems to be the power unit of choice at this price-point, among the XC’s competitors.

Seven seats and load space. This must surely have Land Rover worried?

But the Swedes are chasing efficiency and as a result, down-sizing rises to the top of the pile. You do get 225hp, and 48mpg capability - but the two are mutually exclusive, so you decide what you want. Brisk performance, or generous economy for a such a large SUV?

 

On extended trips, I could stretch the Volvo to 38mpg. While the engine works very well with the eight-speed automatic, and makes the most of available torque - there are times when only a few gears are needed to shove the Volvo along. And if you work the engine, it’ll break the interior silence with a typical four-cylinder rattle.

 

Inside though, is where the Volvo begins to shine. Its interior - on this Inscription specification - is sublime.

Beautiful interior oozes class, modernity and space.

The cabin is beautifully assembled, is comfortable and exudes a modern, minimalist approach to ergonomics.

 

The optional panoramic sunroof does wonders to lighten the interior, and the £2,150 optional electronic air suspension cossets, pampers and glides over bumps, to ensure your passengers arrive from what seems like a magic carpet ride.

 

But, making the most of the XC90’s climate control, audio settings, navigation, heated seats, is where things do get tricky for the driver. Now, I’m a fan of technology, but for a firm so steeped in safety, I’m not convinced that Volvo has got it right by using an iPad-style 9in touch screen for the hub of all things electronic inside the XC90.

The 9in touch screen is clever, but like a tablet, needs to be looked at to use properly.

And that’s because the firm has traded individual buttons for a large screen with menus that you need to access for almost all of the car’s functions.

 

Yes, it’s very clever. And it makes the interior very neat. But I’ve never found a touch screen to be intuitive - you have to look at it every time you want to make an adjustment.

 

In this instance, it’s a swipe, squeeze and tap for every move. And that means looking at the tablet. While you don’t need to take a teenager with you who can understand the tech, you might need someone who can take care of making all the car’s adjustments while you concentrate on driving.

Need to know:

  • Model: XC90 D5 AWD Inscription
  • Price: £50,185 (£68,850 as tested)
  • Engine: 2.0-litre, turbo diesel, 225hp @ 4,250rpm, 470Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm
  • Transmission: eight-speed Tiptronic, with four-wheel drive
  • Performance: 7.8sec 0-62mph, 137mph, 48.7mpg combined, 152g/km
  • Towing capacity: 2,700kgs
Twitter Facebook
Rating (0 vote/s)
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

More Insights

User Story: JCB conversion gets to work

Launched at last year’s Lamma show, Knight Farm Machinery’s forward-control conversion, based on JCB’s latest 4000-series Fastrac, has been hard at work this year with Agrii. Geoff Ashcroft reports.

Buyer’s guide: JCB Fastrac 3000 Series

If you are seeking a 200hp tractor to handle a wide variety of trailer work, while still capable of field duties, a used JCB Fastrac 3000 should be on your shortlist.

VIDEO: On-test: Is this the future of round baling?

There is always scepticism when a manufacturer comes to market with a radical new product, but could Vicon be on to something with its non-stop round baler?

New event will help grow your business

An inspiring day packed full of motivational speakers and practical advice lie at the heart of a new event being brought to farmers wishing to grow and tackle some of the most common challenges in the industry. Danusia Osiowy takes a look at why The Business of Farming conference is one not to be missed.

On-test: SsangYong's Musso is definitely one to watch

Where other truck makers are banging the down-sizing drum, SsangYong has bucked the trend with its renamed pickup, the Musso.
FG Insight and FGInsight.com are trademarks of Briefing Media Ltd.
Farmers Guardian and FarmersGuardian.com are trademarks of Farmers Guardian Ltd, a subsidiary of Briefing Media Ltd.
All material published on FGInsight.com and FarmersGuardian.com is copyrighted © 2016 by Briefing Media Limited. All rights reserved.
RSS news feeds