• The XC90 is Volvo's flagship SUV.
• The D5 model is powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor with 173kW and 480Nm.
• It is priced from R1 298 650.
Last year feels like it went by in a flash. I can't believe we've been working from home for almost a year. It's bizarre. An experience, unlike any other, and one I needed to adapt to in a hurry.
I missed my colleagues from the office and the banter around the proverbial water cooler. I like to think of myself as a people person. Damn, I missed people.
I also missed driving. I enjoy driving for the fun of it, from getting from A to B, and road trips. If a car's pews are comfortable, I can spend hours behind the wheel.
Usually, around my birthday, I embark on a solo road trip. Due to the circumstances in the country, this wasn't possible but I had Volvo's flagship SUV on test around that period.
The XC90 has been around since 2015 and competes with the other full-size SUVs from mostly German carmakers.
The Swede has undergone a facelift and benefitted from interior advancements to keep buyers interested.
The D5 model on test is powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine with 173kW and 480Nm. It sends its power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 0-100km/h claimed time of 7.8 seconds shouldn't be scoffed at, as this behemoth is astoundingly quick once it gets going.
Styling is subjective, but close to six years later the XC90 looks like nothing else on the road. Replete with Thor hammer-style LED daytime driving lights, it exudes sophistication and coolness.
The ride is superb thanks to the fitment of an optional air suspension, and despite the large 20-inch wheels, there was no harsh vibrations or shuddering during the test.
As mentioned, Volvo doused the XC90 with several changes including a fresher grille, more hues to choose from, and an 'on-call' button that directs a call to an operator to assist in an emergency or break down.
The D5's 2.0-litre capacity is perhaps the only blight in this impressive package. It sounds like it's under heavy stress at times due to hauling a large piece of heavy metal around.
The eco or comfort driving modes are the most suitable for city and highway driving. The average fuel consumption was around 8.5-litres per 100 kilometres. However, it's not close to the claimed figure of around 5.7-litres per 100km.
The XC90's interior is dominated by plush leather seats with cooling and heating functionality. The tablet-shaped touch screen houses all the essential info and entertainment options.
The heads-up display is a boon, as it offers driving speed, speed sign limit recognition and navigational alerts via a clear graphic ahead of the driver.
Of course, I can't review a Volvo without mentioning its safety features. There is a long list of items, but the emergency brake alert, pedestrian detection, and cross-traffic alert are the ones that stand out. These systems operate in a way human beings only can't, especially with all the distractions on the road.
The XC90 D5 proved to be a great distraction for me during the lockdown.
Price: R1 298 650.