A refreshing breeze of common sense has swept through wheels HQ this week. Following a seven-week stint with the mental Mercedes-AMG GT S, a serene family car has joined our long-term fleet. Regular readers will be aware that this, by no means, is our first acquaintance with the XC90. Ever since its launch last year, this Volvo impressed the entire team so much that it took the gong for our 2016 Car of the Year, beating several Mercs and the BMW 7 Series, apart from the more rarefied offerings from Ferrari and McLaren.
Our tester is the more humble Momentum version rather than the top-of-the-line Inscription variant that we’d earlier driven. Crucially, this is also the T5 version, unlike the more powerful T6 cars. The main difference between the two being the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in here only relies on a turbocharger, rather than the twin-charged arrangement in the T6.
To me, it feels noticeably smoother in its operation here while progress is decidedly brisker than you would expect in a large SUV propelled by a tiny engine.
Even though this is the five-seater base model, the list of equipment is thoroughly impressive. The plush interior is crafted in leather, while the central infotainment screen is perhaps the coolest, and is more modern than pretty much everything else in its class.
However, this being a Volvo there is a massive focus on safety and the list of active and passive features is absolutely whopping. It gets adaptive cruise control, City Safety with auto braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning along with blind-spot indicator, cross traffic alert and airbags all around.
This compares very favourably indeed with the competition from Germany, Britain and even the usually great-value-for-money premium Japanese offerings. And that’s before you even bring the price into the equation. Although the base XC90 starts from Dh250K, a current offer from Volvo’s UAE dealer Trading Enterprises means it can be had for just Dh200K. That’s less than what a smaller Mercedes GLC costs. It’s truly astounding value.
More next week.