On the back of a couple of years of Wheels Car of the Year success, Volvo continues to surprise and delight with its reborn range of SUVs.
We've taken delivery of the XC90 T6 R Design, which now costs $96,990 plus on-road costs after a recent hefty price cut. Our Thunder Grey seven-seater also comes equipped with a Premium Pack, which adds a tinted panoramic sunroof, tinted rear glass, air-sprung suspension and 1400W of high-end Harman Kardon audio to the mix.
Sitting pretty on its 22-inch rims, the T6 uses a 246kW 2.0-litre supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine to drive all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic.
Volvo has spent big on the interior of the XC90. Scandinavian simplicity and logic abounds, while clever and artful design lifts the cabin everywhere you look. The seats are brilliant, and even incorporate shock-absorbing technology should you be unlucky enough to run off the road and suffer an impact through the bottom of the car.
Second-row occupants are well looked after on the outside seats, but the centre seat is a child-only proposition. Luckily, that’s where Volvo has located a clever child seat booster cushion.
The third row features a pair of full-size seats, proper headrests and armrests to boot, but it should only be regarded as an option for smaller adults and kids. Volvo itself says it optimised for people under 170cm.
The front seats are powered in all directions, with extendable bases and adjustable side bolsters. They are supremely comfortable over a couple of hours, and can be had with heating and/or venting.
The 9.0-inch portrait screen in the centre console has allowed Volvo to reduce the number of hard buttons on the centre stack down to just nine (from an average of 30-35). It operates the same way as a typical tablet, and it also houses the very useful Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality, as well as the amazing parking feature seen above.
It controls all functions via three main screens, while individual buttons can be repositioned to suit. The steering wheel, too, houses a large number of functions, but it needs a period of familiarity to really get the most out of it.
Visibility is great. It could probably do with at least one more USB port in the front, and it definitely needs them in the rear, though both back rows are well covered for bottle holders, hidey-holes and ventilation controls.
We've racked up about 1000km so far, getting about 9.5L/100km on our fuel economy. The quoted economy is 8.5L/100km, so we're not far off. It's still almost two tonnes in weight, so to get nearly 750km from a tank is pretty impressive.
We're still getting to know all the features and functions, and we'll bring you more videos and pics as we live with our big Swede.
2020 Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design price and specifications
Price: $96.990 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged-/supercharged-petrol
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel: 8.5L/100km (ADR Combined)
Safety Rating: Five-star ANCAP