THE resurgence of Volvo has been one of the main talking points of the automotive world in recent times.
After struggling for its very survival, the marque is back with a vengeance and one model which has shown that Volvo is once again a big hitter is the latest XC90.
Now widely recognized as a game changer in the industry, this hefty SUV spars for sales with the likes of the Range Rover Sport and has proved itself as a true all-rounder.
The XC90 is a visually striking, premium quality seven-seat SUV with world leading safety features, new powertrain technologies, an unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency and a superlative interior finish.
Three years in the making and part of an 11bn dollar investment programme, the new XC90 began a new chapter in Volvo's history, capturing its future design direction, incorporating its own range of new technologies and utilising its new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) technology.
Before you even drive the car you have to be impressed by its looks. It is the first car to carry company's new more prominent iron mark, which has the iconic arrow aligned with the diagonal slash across the grille.
Together with the T-shaped "Thor's Hammer" daytime running lights, the iron mark introduces an entirely new, distinctive and confident face for Volvo's forthcoming generation of cars.
It features a whopping great bonnet with sharpened shoulders connecting with the distinctive new rear lights. It also comes with a range of wheel sizes up to 22 inches.
It was designed to have a strong connection to the key elements of the Swedish lifestyle: generous space, the celebration of light and focus on wellbeing, but I firmly believe that this car has much more to make it a benchmark in new generation full-sized SUVs.
When you drive the XC90 you certainly get that elevated in-command feel but this is underpinned by the agility and smooth comfort of a much smaller and lower car.
I drove one of the most popular, the D5 AWD Momentum model which features a 1,969cc four-cylinder diesel of 225bhp output via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This, in modern terms is a winning combination. Firstly the output is high for an engine of this size and the transmission handles what is given exquisitely.
Top speed is 137mph and the 0-62mph sprint figure is a fast 7.8 seconds.
But the big news is that this hefty SUV returns around 49mpg on the combined cycle which makes it a major choice in its field.
As with all Volvos the new XC90 offers what is claimed to be the most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated standard safety package available in the automotive industry.
The XC90's interior is the most luxurious to have been designed for a Volvo. The most striking feature is a tablet-like touch screen control console, which forms the heart of an all-new in-car control system.
This system is virtually button free and represents an entirely new way for drivers to control their car and access a range of Internet-based products and services. It also helps create an interior that is modern, spacious and uncluttered.
Amazingly, it can even book itself in for a service.
The new XC90 interior combines materials such as soft leather and wood with handcrafted details, including a gear lever made of crystal glass from Orrefors, the famous Swedish glassmaker, and diamond-cut controls for the start/stop button and volume control.
The seven seater features new, innovatively designed seats that also free up interior space for passengers both in the second and third seat rows. The third row offers class-leading comfort for two passengers up to 170cm tall.
The XC90 features one of the top audio systems available in the automotive world after Volvo Cars audio experts joined forces with their counterparts at the renowned British audio equipment company Bowers & Wilkins.
The system features a 1,400 Watt amplifier and 19 Bowers and Wilkins speakers. It also includes one of the first air-ventilated subwoofers in a car. Integrated into the car body, it turns the whole interior space into a giant subwoofer.
Importantly the XC90 offers a high degree of personalization which is important in the car-buying environment of today.