Volvos. What’s the first thing you think of? Some might think of the ‘80s and early ‘90s models that kind of resembled a fridge on its side – whilst they might not have been the prettiest, there was widespread acknowledgement about their safety and durability… the kind of car your uncle Colin would tell you would go on forever. But now, and for many of us, because of the evolution of the Volvo designs across the varying models, thoughts of horizontal fridges have been cooled once and for all.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with Volvo before, once in Spain test driving the (then) new V60 model, and last Christmas when I once again drove the V60 highlighting its space and family friendly dimensions and features. I’ve always thought highly of Volvo (I actually drive an 8yo XC90 myself), but after those two experiences, my fondness for their cars went up a gear or two.
So, when the opportunity came to drive a ’19 reg XC90 over the Easter period, I obviously hopped at the chance.
As I said, my partiality to a Volvo was pretty zealous, but upon being delivered our electric blue XC90 and examining its multiple features and huge size, my liking was quickly racing off the scale.
This was no fridge. This wasn’t even a walk-in freezer unit. This was like the ice planet Krypton; cool, edgy and packed full of power.
Its design and bodywork barely resembled my own XC90 and now takes on a look that sits stylishly next to its 4x4 competitors. Packed full of safety features, once on the road, I felt secure and importantly as a father of two, I was reassured knowing the kids were about as safe as they could be in a car. The features keeping us protected included cameras at pretty much all angles highlighting any possible collisions, lane guidance should I ever drift, speed limit settings and the best of all, the cruise control blew my mind. Obviously cruise control is featured on many cars, and it might be incredibly similar to Volvo’s technology, but driving over 1000 miles taking in trips to the Kent coast and then to North Wales, the auto-braking and chevron control meant I didn’t once feel any danger of a collision.
Inside, the impressive features continue. Nearly everything is controlled from the main control screen, so protruding buttons and knobs are kept to a minimum ensuring a slick interior. The sound system by Bowers & Wilkins is amazing; perfect for blasting out all the hits from LEGO Movie 2. ALL. THE. WAY. TO. WALES 🙉. As per my piece on the V60, the reflective display on the windscreen that sits just above the steering wheel is a piece of genius. Without needing to look down, you can see your speed, be notified of warnings and also see basic map directions. On the subject of directions, the Apple CarPlay ensures your favourite sat nav can be used on the main media display (I’ve never really been a fan of the inbuilt sat navs – Waze always seems to be quicker and more intelligent).
The boot is quite simply humongous. As an XC90 owner (albeit a lot older than this model), I’m already aware of its scale, but the new model seems to be even bigger. Our two large dogs (a boxer and a lurcher) were more than comfortable in there with their beds plus all of our luggage. There’s also the option to fold up two extra seats in the boot (and still have a little boot) if travelling as a party of 7.
At around £68,000, the new XC90 obviously isn’t going to be for everyone (that said, 7 people DM’d me to ask me for more details), but if you are ever thinking about a new family car, whether it’s this one or perhaps an older model, I don’t actually think you can get much better than an Volvo XC90. And with Volvo moving to stop production of petrol and diesel cars and move towards hybrid and fully-electric cars, things will only get better. It’s quite simply, in my opinion, the ultimate family car.