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Volvo XC90 T5 a pretty desirable luxury crossover SUV


I once heard that a Swede is nothing but a German with the sense of humour beaten out of him, and when it comes to cars, I think that's a jolly good thing.

If I'd opened the door on the million rand Volvo XC90 T5 R-Design Geartronic, to give it its full name, and found that the interior was a joke, filled with baubles and gimmicks aimed at amusing the teenagers who marketing folk target at the exclusion of all else these days, I'd have been more than a little put out.

Not as much as if it were my million rand, of course, but I'd have still been annoyed on behalf of all the over 40s out there.

The interior is superb, as is usual with Volvo, well sculpted, refined and bereft of bling. The controls are well laid out and uncomplicated, while the Nappa leather seats and seemingly genuine aluminium trim are as good as you'll get anywhere.

There's loads of space, it's a full seven-seater, and the luggage compartment is capacious. This is a big, imposing and classy vehicle that has deservedly scooped 2016 Car of the Year awards around the world, including in our country. 

Over the years, the XC90 has been offered with a range of different four, five and six cylinder petrol and diesel engines. For this model, launched last year, they've moved with the times and opted for just a single two-litre four-cylinder motor available in petrol or diesel, tuned to produce between 140 and 235kW, depending on how much you want to spend and how fast you want to go.

The test car was a T5 version with a turbocharged petrol motor that puts out a respectable 187 kW and 350 Nm of torque at 1500rpm. Thinking subjectively, I'd rather have a five or six cylinder motor because the four can sound a little unrefined at lower speeds, but the engine does the job well without any fuss.

It's good for a claimed 230 km/h top end and the 100 km/h mark comes up in around 8.5 seconds so you never feel like you've  been short-changed once you get on the road.

As with the rest of the range, the XC90 T5 comes with an efficient eight-speed auto transmission delivering drive to all four wheels. There are four drive modes - Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and Off Road, and the big wagon is loaded to the brim with electronic safety and driver aids as standard.

The car we got has a base price of R926 900 but carried another R93 950 worth of non-essential options. A fair chunk of that was R19 750 for a set of impractical 22" wheels, which I'd forsake even for free because they reduce practicality. And the Volvo XC90 T5 is about as practical as you'll get.

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