Volvo XC90 T5

R-Design

Volvo XC90 R-Design, front
Volvo XC90 R-Design, front, action
Volvo XC90 R-Design, rear, action
Volvo XC90 R-Design, front, static
Volvo XC90 R-Design, rear
Volvo XC90, boot
Volvo XC90, interior
Volvo XC90 R-Design, interior
Volvo XC90 T6 2015, 360 degree camera display

TO onlookers my skill at reversing the large Volvo XC90 into a narrow parking bay, avoiding numerous obstacles must have looked impressive.

Their glances were tinged with admiration as I completed the manoeuvre finishing equidistant from the white lines on either side and just a hair's breadth from the building behind my rear bumper.

What they didn't know was that despite the vast dimensions of this giant seven-seater reversing is easy, thanks to four cameras on the car which give a 360 degree aerial view around the vehicle so you can see on the nine-inch dashboard touchscreen exactly where you are going.

Any doubts and a tap on the screen on any of the four camera gives you a instant view in that direction.

For any driver who still lacks confidence, however, there's always the built-in system which lets the car park itself with you just controlling the brake and accelerator.

The system is just one of a host of hi-tech features which are designed to add to the enjoyment of driving an XC90, while at the same keeping its occupants safe.

Others include everything from City Safety - which warns of a possible impending collision with a pedestrian, cyclist or large animal and brakes the car if you don't react, Oncoming Lane Mitigation to automatically bring you back into your lane if you drift and Cross traffic Alert which warns you of moving cars as you back out of parking spaces.

Everything in fact to ensure that driving a vehicle of this size is not in the least intimidating.

The current XC90 is slightly more upright than the previous generation which means even more generous headroom for all occupants.

And if one of these Volvos drives up behind you it's easy to identify, thanks to the very distinctive daylight running lights in the shape of Thor's hammer in each headlight.

The interior of the R-Design spec model - driven here - is designed to have more of a sporting image and is a class act, with full leather upholstery, electrically adjustable sporting front seats with memory function, "metal mesh" detailing on the dashboard, aluminium pedals and Ikea-like minimalist styling.

In fact there are very few buttons at all on the dash as most of the onboard functions are activated via the touchscreen.

The large dimensions of the XC90 means there's space aplenty for passengers in the second row of seats which are split into three, with each able to move independently backwards and forwards.

The third row folds neatly into the floor when not in use to give a perfectly flat luggage area.

The normal boot space beneath the powered tailgate is a reasonable 314 litres. But fold down the second and third rows of seats and it jumps to a cavernous 1,868 litres.

Despite its dimensions this Swedish masterpiece is remarkably quick, hitting 62 miles per hour in just 7.5 seconds thanks to its 250 bhp, 2.0-litre engine mated to a super smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Smooth describes the ride too with very little body roll and plenty of tyre grip thanks in part to the all-wheel-drive system.

You have a choice of drive modes you can dial up including eco, comfort and - for when you want to liven things up - dynamic, which works particularly well when you use the paddles behind the steering wheel for hands-on gear changes.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC90 T5 R-Design

Price: £55,360

Mechanical: 250bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving all wheels via eight speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 134 mph

0-62mph: 7.5 secs

Combined MPG: 35.8

Insurance Group: 39

C02 emissions: 184g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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