Volvo XC90 Inscription D5

Indicative drive away price: $104,163

The XC90’s all-new look brings it in line with other Volvo models, but it’s in the cabin where it really shines. Nice touches are the rimless mirror, the cover over the centre storage area that is not a cheap plastic, the tiny diamond-shaped impressions on the toggle switches and the crystal-like appearance of the gear lever.

Unlike many seven-seater SUVs, where the third-row is more of an afterthought, Volvo has focussed on making sure every occupant enjoys the XC90 experience. Take the theatre-style seating, where the first row is the lowest, the middle is slightly higher and the rear higher again. This not only provides better vision, but also helps reduce motion sickness.

Given the Swedish manufacturer’s focus on safety, the XC90 lives up to expectations with a 10-out-of10 (class-leading with the Mercedes-Benz ML 350) for keeping its occupants well protected.

The XC90 debuts not one, but two, world-first safety features: City Safety with Intersection Collision Mitigation, which can stop you turning into the path of an oncoming car at an intersection, and Run Off Road Protection, which prepares the car if, despite all the other technology, you do leave the road. The Inscription model also has cross-traffic alert and rear-collision warning, and the curtain airbag protection covers all three rows of seating.

Not surprisingly, given the Volvo’s interior design, the XC90 was rated equal top with the Range Rover Sport for build and finish quality, a criterion considered critical for this type of car given its luxury price-tag.


Buyers in this class expect a competent level of drivability, including some off-road prowess, and while here the ‘Rangie’ is unmatchable, the XC90 delivers a capable and smooth drive and ride.

3RD: BMW X5 XDRIVE 30D, 958