Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Volvo XC90 review

sooooooo a new series I'm starting: Car reviews.

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Volvo is respected car manufacturer, once crowned as the “World’s Safest Car”, offers a variety of multi-use cars, well-known to have innovative interior designs, and world-class engines. However, Volvo unfortunately is underrated here in Oman; nobody really knows the car unless they buy one.
In Arabic there is a famous proverb that says: “Rubba Dharaten nafi’a”, which means “Some bad stuff lead to other good stuff”. This proverb explains how I got the opportunity to drive the amazing XC90, which was a courtesy car we got when our LR3 had some air-suspension problems. I would say that this test drive was like a blind date. I never knew the girl I was going to go out with, but some of my friends said good things about her.



Okay, so we are off to a bad start. The car didn’t really give a good 1st impression with its looks. It Looks like a stretched up Volvo sedan that got a jeep suspension. In my opinion, the only thing I liked about the exterior were some of the nice rims options the car had.



WAIT! Before getting into the car, the moment you open the door, you understand why this car is rated as one of the safest cars in the world. The door is so heavy (yet so smooth when opened).
Getting inside the car gives you a whole new perspective about the car. It’s like its making up for the messed up 1st date. The materials used feel so elegant, the buttons and switches are organized well so that the driver has no problem using them. The gauges are stylish and practical. You can’t argue that Volvo spends time designing their interiors.



Now this is the 3rd date. In most of my test drive, I test how the car goes when you floor its paddles badly. How fast can it go? How does it handles at high speeds? How good are the brakes?
For some reason I still don’t know, I didn’t do that with the XC90, I just wanted to drive slowly and cruise around the quite area of Shatti (in the afternoon). Maybe the remarkably calm cabin was it. I switched on the radio and “breathe” by Angels & Airwaves was playing, a perfect song for my quite/calm mood. I left the quite area and headed to the empty highway. I drove at normal speed on the highway for some time, enough time for me to know that car is going to be a good partner in long trips. As I was on my way back on the highway, the radio started playing “Breath” by Breaking Benjamin (a totally different song but the names are very close) (bas tashabuh asmaía). As the song progressed, I couldn’t keep my foot off the acceleration paddle, till I reached a point where I NEEDED to floor the car. I switched to manual mode on the tiptronic gear box, shifted to 2nd gear, and floored it. Now I don’t know if the song had its affect on the car, but the massive torque surprised me, and before waking up, the car hit the rev limiter. I changed to 3rd and the car literally throws my head on the headrest. I honestly didn’t expect a big, heavy SUV to perform like that. The acceleration is pretty amazing, and it gets better at higher speeds. The brakes also perform really great and the car doesn’t throw you on the steering wheel in hard stops.
Now we all know that SUV cars like this, the X5, the Cayenne are not real off-roaders, but wont harm to try out the Volvo in the dunes (wouldn’t do it if it was my car though). The car didn’t really make it to the places where the Jeeps and the land rovers did, but it went high enough because of the torque it has. So yeah, it is true when people say that things get crazy on the 3rd date.



Engine Type: 4.4L V8

Power: 311 Horsepower @ 5850 RPM

Torque: 325 @ 3900 RPM

Transmission Type: Tiptronic

0-100 kmph in: 7.3 seconds (estimated)

Average fuel consumption:

-City: 16.3 L/100 km

-Highway: 10.7 L/100 km

2389 kg.



- The driving is amazing and smooth; you really don’t feel like you’re driving a 2+ tons car.
- The power and torque is way over what I expected, mind you this car is heavier than other cars in its category.
- The sound system is great and clear, 6 CD changer, steering wheel control.
- The interior is a Volvo interior, enough said.
- It’s a sleeper (not so many people know its power).



- The design isn’t that good, that’s my opinion at least.
- Heavy weight.
- When using the tiptronic, the car doesn’t change gears before red line, it revs.
- The response of the manual mode in the tiptronic is slow; you have to change the gear about 1.5 seconds before you want the car to shift.
- Mirrors don’t tilt downwards when you’re in reverse.



The XC90 is a family-friendly SUV with a comfortable interior, adequate performance and an excellent safety record.


List of kills:

- Nissan Armada.
- Infiniti FX35.

We did some accelerating videos as well:

Volvo XC90 from 20 – 130 KM/H.

Volvo XC90 from 40 – 170 KM/H.

Volvo XC90 from 130/210 KM/H.

End of blog entry...