The Volvo XC90’s infotainment system is less than user friendly


I’ve nothing against Capital FM but when it keeps interupting my session of Radio 4 on DAB, I take exception. and when it’s in a super-safe Volvo XC90, well that’s even more serious.

Traffic Annoucements are off, so that isn’t the reason. Unless Lady Gaga is working for the station.

To get back to Radio 4 again means a lot of faffing around on the infotainment system. Volvo has gone to every effort to load the latest XC90 with safety kit but it’s actually the simple technology that let’s this SUV down.

For example, the big screen sat nav is excellent. Except for some reason, the screen isn’t moving to follow my direction of travel. Why?

And to complete my grumpiness, the hybrid Volvo is averaging 30.5mpg on a motorway drive.



The Volvo XC90 T8 is a really a hooligan hiding behind green credentials


If you want to race a Porsche from the traffic lights in an SUV then there’s only one choice. The T8 may be a high-sided whopper but it will embarrass a Boxster in a straight line – while carrying a sofa in the back at the same time.

Things become a little more blurry on the corners though. Despite that 316bhp turbo and supercharged 2.0 petrol engine, plus an 86bhp electric motor powering the back wheels, this hybrid sport version of the XC90 suffers from all the usual problems associated with a family mover.

I’ve no doubt the T8 will be a massive hit in the UK – but not because it’s a hybrid capable of more than 120mpg. No, for all its green credentials, the T8 will be bought by cool dads who want to squeeze as much performance as they can from their motor on a school run.

Unless they live in a city, I doubt any of them will ever plug the T8 in to the mains either, or speak of its potential fuel savings at dinner parties.

This is, then, the most unlikely Volvo ever built. A high performance seven-seater that you could sell to your eco friends and still throw about like a hooligan. Definitely one of the top ten cars of 2016 then.

The XC90’s high performance engine seems out of place in a super-safe Volvo


There is something rather odd about driving a Volvo in an enthusiastic, almost sporty manner. The T8 is, after all, an SUV with all the high-sided, heavyweight issues associated with the genre.

Yet for the last five days I’ve been encouraged to press on by a high performance power plant that really has no place in a Volvo – a brand that puts safety at the core of its USP.

I’m not suggesting the Xc90 isn’t safe – just that I’ve been using the right foot with just abandon that there have been some buttock-clenching moments behind the wheel.

With it’s low profile tyres (no good for mounting kerbs), aggressive styling (not quite Q7 but imposing) and startling turn of speed, I can understand why Land Rover must be looking at the T8 as a credible rival to the Range Rover Sport…

The Volvo XC90 T8 – the only reason to have a late onset family…


I’m 52. The chances are I won’t be having any kids in the near future. I didn’t forget to have them – life just passed that opportunity by and I’d rather test cars than pushchairs.

Being landed with somebody else’s sprog for the day is great, it’s just I want to hand them back in the evening, walk the dog and watch Peaky Blinders instead.

The T8 version of the XC90 is the only reason I can think of to try for a late onset family. With seven seats and whopping proportions, it’s way too large to drive on my own.

I need some child-like dummies to sit in the back, so I don’t feel a fraud. Or a late onset family, if the worst comes to the worst.

It’s that good, the T8. But you need a good reason to drive an family-orientated SUV this big that races to 60mph in under six seconds.

Sadly, Volvo doesn’t offer a two-seater, convertible T8, yet…

Royal blue Volvo XC90 T8 for the Queen’s birthday bash


MAY 13 Car Couture drove the D5 diesel version of the XC90 a few months back – this is the barn-storming, highly anticipated T8 model, hybrid power at its finest and looking every inch a winner.

The T8 only has a few subtle additions that reveal it’s true identity as one of the most powerful SUVs on the market. There’s the badge on the boot, a second filler cap on the front wing (to plug in) and a crystal cut gearlever.

Otherwise it’s the same XC90 that will be ferrying schoolkids for years to come – a brilliant machine that has been winning awards since the day it was launched.

Painted in royal blue it looks amazing. Muscular, meaningful and mighty tough. I can’t wait to drive it to Windsor today for the Queen’s 90th birthday bash in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Will all that technology get the better of me? Find out tomorrow…