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Drive of your life this week…

the new Volvo XC90 SE LUX

What is it? Probably the safest full blown seven seater all wheel drive vehicle on the roads today.

Who would want one? Any yummy mummy who seriously values her precious cargo and will therefore pay a higher premium knowing they will be safe travelling in this car.

The exhilarating thrill: will be like taking the children on a thrill-seeking ride but not to an expensive theme park! No just to the shops or school will do in a time busting 9.7 seconds to reach 62 mph from 0 and with a top speed of 127mph.

Wow factors to make the neighbours go green: is the sheer size of the vehicle that will sure to attract their attention in the first instance as it swallows up the vast driveway. The very long bonnet cements the road presence this car eludes along with the large front light clusters, colour coded bumper with integrated fog lights. To profile are the large 18-inch alloy wheels, colour coded door handles and colour coded electrically adjustable heated and folding door mirrors. Showing its practical nature are chrome roof bars and front plus rear skid plates. The rear sees another large set of light clusters; colour coded bumper plus chromed stainless steel sports quad tail pipes.

On the other hand… the initial feeling of guilt one feels when driving such a large gas guzzling vehicle in not just the dreadful credit crunching times but also the dreadful doomed planet dangers. Oh and the fact it failed the “ close the drivers door first time” test, as it refused to shut properly first time. That just annoys me.

Where would the sunglasses fit? Not in their own sunglasses holder that is a surprise, as being a practical family car, one would expect a practical sunglasses holder too. So try the dual cup holders, the deep concealed binnacle in the centre console of possibly the glovebox.

Will it take the shopping? Oh a resounding yes here with a maximum 1837 litres of space available if all the seats are folded flat. With seven seats in place there is still enough room to hold around six shopping bags and with the two way boot opening, one can either simply pop them in or open the tailgate to its full extent for bulkier loads.

Helping hands make light work thanks to electric power assisted steering, electric front windows with one-touch down operation and rear electric windows with anti trapping so these children do not get their fingers stuck. The steering wheel is height adjustable as are the front seats, the wipers are rain sensing, the lights are dusk sensing and the rear view mirror is auto dimming. Finally there are rear-parking sensors that are very much needed.

Creature Comforts to luxuriate in are lovely cosy electrically heated electrically adjustable with memory leather front seats with heated seats for the rear ones as well that the children loved. Then there is electronic climate control for all three rows complete with air quality system and pollen filter, a leather height adjustable steering wheel with remotes for the cruise control, telephone and radio. The premium sound audio system with CD radio USB and Aux points plus MP3 and WMA compatibility and 12 speakers sure drowns out the childrens moans of “are we nearly there yet?”

Its most annoying feature: is the traditional handbrake has been replaced by a foot operated brake to put on the handbrake that was OK but to release the handbrake was a rather flimsy pull out lever that made an un convincing clunk. Perhaps an electronic one would have been better.

The quirkiest accessory: has to be the blind sport detector on the door mirrors that illuminate in red when a car or another vehicle is actually in your blind spot that is a great safety feature.

Avoiding the costly repair shop trust me you will never have to go near the garage except for the annual service as this vehicle is equipped with everything. ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Dynamic Stability and Traction Control plus Electronic Park Assistance that will prevent skidding and keep the car on track.

Keeping your precious cargo safe:  are driver’s and front passenger dual stage airbags with passenger de-activation switch, SIPS that is Volvo’s Side Impact Protection System, SIPS airbags, inflatable curtains and WHIPS that is Volvo’s Whiplash Protection System for the front seats to reduce whiplash injuries. All seven seats have seat belt pretensioners, head restraints and on the second row are Isofix fixings on the two outer seats plus integrated booster cushions.

For the kids, …. accessing the row three is done but sliding forward the outer seat in row two, pulling a tab then pulling a lever and row three seats miraculously appear. Very clever. For the childrens bits and pieces, row three is the best place to sit with a centre console with storage, concealed long binnacles in the side, double cup holders and pencil holders. Those in row two will have to be content with elasticated pockets behind the front seats, deep door pockets with bottle holders, a pull out dual cup holder between the front seats that makes a great pencil holder for them, a 12 volt and – get this, an astray but no lethal lighter!

Avoiding it being nicked is an anti theft alarm including an immobiliser and level sensor in case those pesky children try to clamber all over the car, a key integrated remote control central locking including a precious fuel flap with deadlocking system, and visible VIN plates.

Star rating: 4.5/5 due to the sheer size and guilt felt when driving this without the children in tow.

Consider: the entry level ES or SE for a slash off the price tag at £35 or 38K or if money no option, top of the range R design.

Web link:

Jackie Violet
Motoring Correspondent 

At a Glance
Test Model:  Volvo CX90 SE LUX D5 AWD
RRP:  £42,175
Transmission: 6-speed AWD Automatic
0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
Top speed: 127 mph
Combined Fuel: 34 mpg
CO2 emissions: 219g/km VED
Horsepower: 200 hp @ 39800 rpm
Torque: 420 Nm @2000 – 2750



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