by Seán Creedon

I have just spent a very enjoyable week in a massive motor, the Volvo XC90. It was a seven-seater and it’s the largest car in the Swedish company’s stable. And you certainly would need a large stable or garage and I suppose a good wage to buy a chunky SUV like this.

The XC90 has been around since 2015. Now is has got a slight make over. As with most facelifts, you would need to be wearing your ‘motoring anorak’ to notice all the changes/improvements.

There are new bumpers and a smoother radiator grill and some new colours and wheel designs. But I suppose the most significant change is that you now get a mild hybrid assistant to the diesel engine.

Look closely at the usual ‘D5’ type badge at back, you will see that this one has ‘B5’ on it. That indicates the use of a new 48-volt electrical system comprising of a separate battery, kinetic energy recovery system and integrated starter generator. Volvo claims this leads to a 15% improvement in efficiency.

Inside there are very discreet changes, but some drivers will be glad to know that the touch screen infotainment screen on the dash is now compatible with Android Auto, having had Apple CarPlay for some time.

And the sound system is excellent as the XC90 is equipped with a Bowers and Wilkins audio system. My test car had Contour Sports Seats with Leather/Nubuck Upholstery.

As usual Safety is also number one with Volvo. From the high driving position you should be able to see everything that goes on around you. And when reversing there are unique style camera that show you exact positioning.

The Volvo XC90.

Overall active safety functions have been updated to the latest technology Volvo offers elsewhere in its line-up.

I didn’t have much use for the two extra seats at the rear, but when I needed to make a trip to the recycling centre in Ballymount, South Dublin, there was enough room in the back for the contents of a small house, by folding down those two rear seats.

And the good news is that underneath that third row of seats you will find a mini spare wheel, which naturally is much more appreciated than a repair kit. But in truth I wouldn’t fancy have to change one of those huge wheels.

Every time I drive a large motor the first question from the people I meet is the price. It’s not cheap and when I told people that they wouldn’t have much change out of 90k, I don’t think they were really surprised.

It’s looks massive and it truly is huge, but also manageable to drive and park, thanks to exceptionally good parking sensors.

My only complaint was selecting the ‘reverse’ and ‘drive’ mode in my automatic version. I found that I had to really press hard on the brake pedal before it worked.  Or maybe I’m getting weak.

I drove a Crystal White version which looked great. Naturally white will pick up some dust and dirt if you decide to go off-road.

Prices for the sporty ‘R-Design’ that I drove start at €78,970, while the price of my top of the range test model came to €88,846. Road tax is €390.

So, unless the Government introduced another SSA scheme, I think may have to get a loan.