Volvo XC90: In-Depth Video Review

Volvo XC90 Main


By and large, the team of road testers at are young males who have yet to procreate. You would expect us then, to get very excited about cars like the Renault Megane Trophy (we do). You would expect us to be saddened by Subaru discontinuing a car like the Subaru BRZ (we are).

Why then, were we all so excited, and absolutely enamoured with, the new Volvo XC90? A car that is so family-orientated, it might as well come with an investment plan for future school fees and a stroller in the boot.

I think it’s because the Volvo represents something we all appreciate: careful thought and consideration in its conception and execution. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it looks fantastic too, with those Thor hammer headlights, super bold grille and sleek, no-fuss body lines.

On the launch of the car, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the man who designed the chassis, and the man who designed the interior, including that iPad-like centre touchscreen. The level of detail is remarkable.

For instance, a cellphone touchscreen will work to about 50 degrees centigrade, and about -10. Leave it in the sun and it will shut down, and possibly be permanently damaged. The thing is, we leave our cars in the sun all the time. And in northern Sweden, -10 is considered a balmy day. And so they had to re-engineer the screen to operate at extreme temperatures, all the time; up to 80 degrees, and down to -40.

And given that the car is popular in cold climates, the screen has been fitted with infrared sensors around the edges, to detect finger movement in case the user is wearing gloves.

The rear suspension system is a unique approach to the problem of the usual suspension components intruding into the cabin space. The layout Volvo has opted for ensures that the rear area is as low and wide as possible, increasing load space and ensuring that two adults can sit in the third row of seats.

Of course all of this is packaged in luxurious leather, with properly comfortable seats (a bit of a Volvo trademark) and more airbags than a full seating of parliament.

Volvo XC90 – Price and Rivals in South Africa

With prices starting at R804 000, the XC90 has some stiff competition. In this video, we’ve chosen to compare it to the BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery and upcoming Audi Q7, which has just been launched in Europe. At five-year/100 000km, it’s worth noting the Volvo has a longer warranty than all three of these competitors.

You’ll find a detailed comparison for each below, with more pros and cons discussed in the video. Unfortunately we don’t have pricing for the new Audi Q7 in South Africa yet, but from what I’ve read, I believe it will be the closest competitor to the Volvo XC90.

Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription BMW X5 30d
Price R893 900 R925 694
Engine 2.0 litre inline-4 turbo diesel 3.0 litre inline-6 turbo diesel
Power 165 kW 190 kW
Torque 470 Nm 560 Nm
0 – 100km/h 7.8 seconds 6.8 seconds
Fuel economy 5.8L/100km 5.9L/100km
Airbags 6 6
Seats 7 5/7 (opt)
AWD Yes Yes
SatNav Yes Optional
Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription Land Rover Discovery SDV6 SE
Price R893 900 R929 286
Engine 2.0 litre inline-4 turbo diesel 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel
Power 165 kW 183 kW
Torque 470 Nm 600 Nm
0 – 100km/h 7.8 seconds 9.3 seconds
Fuel economy 5.8L/100km 8.8L/100km
Airbags 6 8
Seats 7 7
AWD Yes Full 4x4
SatNav Yes Yes
Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription Upcoming Audi Q7 (both models)
Price R893 900 TBC
Engine 2.0 litre inline-4 turbo diesel 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel
Power 165 kW 218 or 272 kW
Torque 470 Nm 500 or 600 Nm
0 – 100km/h 7.8 seconds 7.3 or 6.5 seconds
Fuel economy 5.8L/100km 6.3 or 6.4 L/100km
Airbags 6 6
Seats 7 7
AWD Yes Yes
SatNav Yes TBC