New Volvo XC90 India review, test drive

    Volvo’s flagship SUV, the XC90 comes with a lot of promise and a competitive price tag. We take it for a spin.

    Published on Sep 09, 2015 01:28:00 PM


    Visibility all-around is brilliant, and the cabin feels airy with the panoramic sunroof, large windscreen and windows. The large well-bolstered seats have been designed with help from orthopedic surgeons, and offer good support for passengers with large frames as well. The middle row seats are also comfortable but there might be a few grumbles, as the cushioning is a bit too firm, but its versatile 40:20:40 split will draw praise. We managed to sit an adult in the third row and it is perhaps one of the most usable third row in its segment with its tall roofline liberating sufficient headroom. But climbing into the back is a pain. However, the limited legroom limits, so it is best for short rides.

    Volvo’s commitment to safety, however, is evident with the levels of safety equipment offered – there is a whole raft of it. There’s curtain airbag even for the third row. It has cleared the Euro NCAP test with full marks, pity, that some of the radar-based safety features have been taken off the list as it is banned in India. Nevertheless, it is still one of the safest cars money can buy.

    What's it like to drive?

    The D5 variant that we drove had a twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel motor producing 222bhp and 47.9kgm of torque; one of the modern engines from Volvo. There’s some diesel clatter heard inside the cabin at start up, but what impresses is the way this engine responds. It is very quick off the mark for a diesel motor and smoothens out as the revs rise. Volvo seems to have got the twin-turbo combination right as both the turbos work in perfect symphony to deliver the power without any hiccup. While a 2.0-litre diesel motor might seem a little less for a vehicle of this size, it is one of the most impressive four-cylinder diesel engines we have driven. It accelerates in a linear way, as the gearbox serves up power smoothly, but slam the pedal hard and the gearbox takes a pause before selecting the right gear for that moment. You can choose between four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Off-Road and Dynamic. In Eco and Comfort, the engine maps are more suited to relaxed cruising, Off-Road mode raises the car by 40mm and also activates Hill Descent Control. Press Dynamic and the car lowers itself and the engine maps are aggressive with the gearshifts happening much later near the 4,600rpm redline. The Volvo on its air suspension also rides decently. There is a nice level of suppleness as you get up to speed and this works well for the most part.


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