What happens when you put 2 hosts, a cameracrew and a Blogger into Volvo’s new XC90 during a torrential downpour? You get a really raw and honest review of Volvo’s XC90 that’s filled with fun, randomness and laughs! Before we get down to the video, here’s a whole chunk of text below for you to slowly mull through during your break in the lavatory (shamelessly stolen from Smith)…
We had an absolute blast shooting the video for the XC90. The car was reliable and spacious enough to fit in the entire cast ,crew and equipment. It’s solid build with it’s emphasis on safety came in quite handy when the skies suddenly decided to open up and rain down on us (like it was a once in 50 years event) during the outdoor shoot.
The atmosphere inside the car during the shoot was electric and spontaneous and it would have never have been possible without the amicable and Unicorn-y Smith Leong (though he kinda needs to work on his Korean as you will see in the video)…
“A HDB flat on wheels. The only difference being , you can’t use your CPF to pay for this and you can own it for 10 years instead of 99”.
The latest incarnation of the XC90 from the Swedish car maker certainly caught the attention of many as we drove it during our review. And how could it not? This 2.0 litre SUV stands above and over most of the regular sedans on the road. With a wide and handsome looking front , it’s grill evoked the design styling of Volvo’s of old with a sophisticated and modern sensibility. It certainly looked the part. Something that screamed “Managing director” or ” Movie Star/Blogger”.
With a twin turbo able to mete out 225 bhp and a brake that gradually and gently cut in when needed, it all seemed tuned to suit a more mature and sensible driver that doesn’t appreciate the ungraduated , spine rattling jerkiness commonly found in other turbo marques. The automatic stop-start Drive-E powertrain was also quietly working in the background saving petrol and the environment and was easily forgotten until it would smoothly kick in when we starting rolling. The steering was light and confident, giving the drive a agile feel and betraying its obvious size and bulk.
Navigation. Singapore. Punggol.
Once inside, the interior was well sealed and quiet (which you can hear from the video). It’s leather bound upholstery and flourishes of matt silver were also a refined and welcome touch as to be expected of a continental car in this range.
The 3 rows of seats were also more than ample , giving us more space than the average 3 room HDB flat when folded down (seriously, its big enough for a MP from Hougang to hold his “meet the people” sessions in there). Further adding to the fact that this is targeted to the more “advanced in age” group, the adjustable electronic lumbar support found in the front driver and passenger seats were a welcome addition (we found that if you pressed the buttons fast enough in succession, it would become a massage chair!).
The voice command system (Sensus? Sensuous?) that allows you to control media and navigation was also pretty easy to pick up, however, due to the nature of our odd sounding roads,it took abit of trying and constant spelling (Punggol? Pungol?) to pin down the exact location when we tried to set a waypoint on the map (watch the video).
Taxi? Uber or Grab?
Now don’t get us wrong. Taxi driving is hard business. It just the sound of a diesel engine commonly associated with it, should’nt be heard from a premium car of this stature.However,if this is a “UBER” concern, you could always “GRAB” the Petrol variant instead (heh). Another niggle we had was with the suspension. Or the lack of it.
No matter how we tried to change modes the suspension still felt rocky and unforgiving every time we rolled over a hump at moderate speed (as a result , we may have lost a tall-ish 1.7m cameraman seated in the 3rd row due to sudden head trauma caused by him hitting the roof of the car at a speed bump).
The 3rd row seats.What can we say? It’s a place we wouldn’t want to place our worst enemies…Scratch that. We WOULD place our enemies there, because they would have a hard time getting out!
In itself the seating space is relatively generous, however it seems that the folks at Volvo expected most passengers seated in the 3rd row to be contortionists. Each entry and exit was an event unto itself and strangely reminiscent to that of exiting a birth canal. Tight with abit of apprehension (possibly followed by tears of joy). The sliver of a gap given after the 2nd row seats were folded down was barely enough.
So what did we think of it?
We would liken it to a “plus size nerdy model ex-girlfriend”. A beautiful head turner with presence and stature that has enough tech and gadgets packed into it to keep a pubescent gaming teen happy. You’d be happy to be seen with it (would have said “in it” but that would have been abit too explicit). But as with most things beautiful, the caveat is : There is an odd flaw or two lurking therein ..barring which would otherwise have made this model..super.
Finally, check out the video before you cast your own verdict.
Written by a half awake but fully sober Paul Goh. If you’re looking for video work for your corporate event/product/blog, do contact him at [email protected]