(Bloomberg) — The best admirable SUV you can buy today is, yes, a Volvo.
Others may be added agitative (Lamborghini Urus), added able-bodied (Porsche Cayenne), added comfortable (Mercedes-Benz GLE), or added careful (Tesla Model X). But abandoned the 2020 Volvo XC90 possesses that attenuate aggregate of restraint, comfort, absorption to detail, and ancestry that translates into accurate style. Yes, alike in a ample exceptional SUV.
All those qualities can be distilled into one allegorical attribute: wool.
“People apperceive covering as the ultimate exceptional good, abnormally in the U.S.,” says Robin Page, Volvo’s chief carnality admiral of design. “Historically, though, absolute is the ultimate exceptional statement.”
He should know. Back Page formed at Bentley Motors, he created the interiors of the august sedans destined to backpack the Queen of England. Elizabeth II, he says, consistently chose woolen bolt to awning the seats of her claimed automobiles.
Page has called from his home in Sweden aloof afterwards I’ve spent a anniversary active the 2020 Volvo XC90 SUV, which boasts seats covered from top to basal in a chic, gray, absolute bolt evocative of the acclaimed angled Oculus armchair created by Danish appliance artist Hans Wegner.
The XC90 is the first, though not the last, agent from Volvo to backpack this particular upholstery, which is sourced from Swedish sheep and attenuated “to reflect the Scandinavian light,” according to Claudia Braun, Volvo’s carnality admiral for color and material design. It is additionally calibrated to be abiding abundant to acclimate the pets, children, antic gear, and baggage that tend to abuse SUVs, abnormally family-friendly Volvos. It’s no accessible accomplishment to antithesis the two; Braun says it took years to perfect.
The aftereffect makes it account it (a no-cost advantage on the “Inscription” trim level). Back I aboriginal stepped axial the $48,350 XC90, its berth was startlingly beautiful, drenched in sunlight. I acquainted as if I were sliding abaft the council caster and into a accumulation of dry ice—with no burn.
Wool is abandoned the latest acumen to accede the XC90 for your abutting ancestors agent purchase. It’s no blow that the XC90 abandoned accounted for nearly bisected of all Volvo sales in the U.S. aftermost year. It represents the acme of Volvo engineering, with a chichi (as abundant as an SUV can be chic) Scandinavian design, basement for up to seven, and a thoughtful, vertically oriented axial command arrangement that is a contentment to use. The architecture actuality is not decidedly minimal—at least, no added basal than what you’ll acquisition in an Audi or BMW these days—but it is carefully placed and luxuriously appointed. Every amplitude that is concrete and tactile, from the walnut copse inlays to the 9-inch touchscreen, feels well-made.
The accepted abundance of the XC90 debuted in 2014. This year’s brace gives us a new grille and advanced bumper; restyled 21-inch, eight-spoke wheels; new exoteric blush options; a accepted 12.3-inch barometer array abaft the council wheel; a new, nine-inch, tablet-style touchscreen up front; and bigger rear cross-traffic and active-steering features.
You apparently will be able to analyze it from aftermost year’s model—a nice way to telegraph to your neighbors that you accept a new car. But purists will be blessed that the acceptable “Thor’s hammer” headlight architecture remains, as do the characteristic red appendage lights, continuing alpine like rods of tourmaline to anatomy the rear sides of the car.
“We are absolutely focused on a able ablaze identity,” Page says.
Also new is a six-seat configuration, which -to-be buyers would do able-bodied to accede as a blessed average amid the four-seat, ultra-luxurious “Excellence” alternative of the XC90 and the seven-seater that I drove. (The closing includes a third row of seats that no developed on Earth will be blessed to occupy.)
The XC90 won’t breach any acceleration records. Nor will it make your affection chase as you advance into that freeway on-ramp. It ability alike abrade you with its new shifter, a small, crystal-cut bulge the admeasurement of a Palm Pilot that can sometimes leave you apprehensive whether you’re in aloof or reverse.
To its credit, as I tooled about LA, the XC90 felt lighter and firmer than its 4,400-pound blob and 80-plus-cubic-foot autogenous accumulator amplitude would indicate. And the zero-to-60 mph dart time is still bristles seconds, which charcoal faster than that of a BMW X3 and according to that of a BMW X5 SUV. That’s added than appropriate for an SUV of this size.
As with antecedent years, the 2020 XC90 comes with assorted powertrain options, including super- and turbocharged engines and a T8 constituent amalgam adaptation such as the one I had. I adopt that option, which abundantly addresses one of the primary criticisms the XC90 drew in antecedent years: It wasn’t a decidedly fuel-efficient SUV.
The T8 alternative uses an electric motor commutual with an eight-speed automated manual to accomplish 18 afar of authentic electric active ambit (imperceptible from approved driving) and a absolute ability achievement of 400 horsepower. The ability on the XC90 is now a whopping 55 MPGe (mile-per-gallon equivalent).
Will you be able to acquaint as the amalgam arrangement switches amid electric and agitation systems as you drive? I absolutely couldn’t as I sailed through Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood, which absolutely seemed to be this tall, aboveboard rig’s accustomed habitat, anyway. The council and brakes on the XC90 are absolutely middling: acute abundant to abstain absolute asleep but banal abundant to be forgettable. (I assume that those who appetite an SUV that can accomplish like a sports car aren’t barking up Volvo’s timberline in the aboriginal place.)
What I did feel—where Volvo excels—was safe. Cared for. Alike peaceful. It was a decidedly auspicious activity to acquaintance during this coronavirus pandemic, back the best analytical safe amplitude alfresco the home is the car. I acquainted safe because I knew I had the abounding access of Volvo’s acclaimed assurance systems, including accepted ancillary appulse protection, parking assist, and abounding blow avoidance. They excelled at actuality present but never felt until needed, like that acceptable butler we all dream about. Some of the added advancing lane-keeping and assurance systems, such as those in the BMW M850i, actively assignment adjoin your own driver’s ascribe at times if the car believes you’re accomplishing article unsafe.
Plus, I was bolstered and buttressed with acrimonious seats, walnut copse inlays, and a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins complete system.The handsome XC90 was a rolling pod of Scandinavian design, refinement, and luxury.
The wool, as it happens, was the icing on the cake. I’m all for it.
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