Category: Volvo

Volvo S90 T6 vs S90 D5 : Same but very different

VOLVO S90 T6

Volvo S90 T6 v S90 D5 : What would you choose?

I recently posted an article on the Volvo S90 D5, and found that in the short, the car was very relaxing to drive and instilled a calmness on the driver. A short while after testing the S90 D5, I jumped into the T6 variant of the Volvo S90.

This relaxed, sensible feeling which I felt in the D5 was something which wasn’t really present in the Volvo S90 T6 AWD version of the S90. We could probably put this down to its Twin-charged 235 kW and 200 N.m 2.0-litre engine. By Twin Charged, I mean it features a supercharger for low down power up to 3500 rpm whereafter a turbocharger kicks in for the remainder of the rev range.

This makes for a very exciting, progressive and boy racer ish Volvo S90. Along with a 0-100 km/h time of 5.9 seconds, comes a beautiful sound, starting with the classic supercharger whine and ending with a turbocharged growl – not quite what you’d expect from a luxury Volvo sedan.

Along with the sound comes acceleration which is sweet, smooth, linear and above all, pretty addictive. I can’t give you the fuel economy figures during my test as it would be somewhat unfair, but then again, one doesn’t buy this variant of the S90 with fuel economy in mind. Volvo claim 7.2 litres/100km combined, which is believable if you don’t have a right foot like mine.

Apart from the performance aspect, everything else is pretty much the same as the D5 in terms of the styling, luxury and interior. Speaking of the interior, the T6 featured an Amber in Charcoal interior. It is beautiful, especially when offset with the Onyx Black exterior paint.

I noticed something worrying though in that a car that has less than 5000 km on the clock should not have scuff marks on the edges of these warm orange seats. It seems like jeans have been rubbing off onto the leather. This is sad as it is such a beautiful colour to have.

What do you choose?

The best way I can describe the difference between these two cars is by comparing them to myself and my younger brother, Dan.

Dan is the sporty and adventurous type, he likes to compete in marathon long off-road obstacle races, jump off very high cliffs into water and partake in many other sports. He is also a natural at these things, along with being cocky and brash. He is very S90 T6, exciting, raring to go at anytime, but still an Ayres.

Now I used to love all of the above, (baring the cliff jumping) and I still do to a certain extent but I am a married man now, grown up and much more sensible and relaxed. I would be more likened to the Volvo S90 D5.

Many would assume that the T6 is the older brother to the S90 D5, because of its bigger engine and higher power production, but they would be wrong. The Volvo S90 T6 is definitely the feisty, exciting younger brother, whereas the D5 is a mellowed, more chilled out version of the same genetics.

Volvo S90 D5 Review

What you choose as a buyer then really depends what you are looking for, the T6 will definitely appeal to a younger audience, perhaps buyers who would look at a BMW 540i for example. Whereas the D5 is car which is more suited to highways and long distance driving where you don’t want the temptation of a Supercharger/Turbocharger spurring you to ruin that sweet 5.0l/100km fuel rating.

Having said all of the above, though, the S90 T6 is definitely my choice.

 

Volvo’s Pilot Assist in South Africa – Does It Work?

Volvo's Pilot Assist

We test out Volvo’s Pilot Assist on South African roads.

With autonomous driving being the latest technology craze to enter the automotive industry, many car manufacturers are jumping on the band wagon and giving it a go. In South Africa, the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo all have vehicles on the road with semi-autonomous driving features.

I recently spend over 1 000 km behind the wheel of a Volvo S90, which has their semi-autonomous driving system called “Pilot Assist” fitted as standard.

Volvo’s Pilot Assist works in conjunction with the Adaptive Cruise Control and controls speed, braking, the distance from the vehicle in front and steering, with the latter being for 15 seconds before it requires human intervention.

As long as there are clear line markings on either side of the vehicle, Pilot Assist will work very well. The driver still needs to keep proper attention to the road and after 15 seconds, a hand needs to be placed on or touch the steering wheel for the system to remain active. The system also works on slight bends that one may encounter on the road, but it is best to keep the your hands steering wheel as on a slightly sharper bend the vehicle tends to drift wide.

The Pilot Assist system is very effective for long distance driving. I used it extensively on a road trip from Durban to JHB and found that the Adaptive Cruise Control, which works in conjunction with Pilot Assist, is probably one of the best I have used. For example, when using ACC and planning to overtake, enabling the indicator causes the vehicle to prepare itself for acceleration. As the move is made, the car begins to accelerate smoothly and efficiently . I’ve tested systems before that would not begin accelerating until the car has completed its move to the next lane with no obstruction ahead. This results in waiting for what seems like hours before the vehicle kicks down and gets going. If the road is busy, it also results in other drivers flying up behind, headlights flashing… you know the sort. So, this is a feature which I greatly appreciated.

Pilot Assist also excels when stuck in traffic – think of the commute to work in one of our busy cities. This system removes the obligation of constantly being on the accelerator or brake pedal while crawling along at 20 km/h. Pilot Assist will also make slight steering adjustments as the car creeps forward so one can sit back, relax and enjoy Swedish luxury.

It is not just a gadget, it’s something a driver can use everyday to make their journey that little bit easier. Adaptive Cruise Control works up to 200 km/h with Pilot Assist having a 130 km/h limit. The system isn’t perfect, but it definitely is a giant leap in the right direction.

 

Watch an animation of Volvo’s Pilot Assist below:

The Harvey Specter of cars: Volvo S90 D5 Review

Volvo S90 D5 AWD Review

Volvo S90 D5 Review

Over the past few years, the Volvo brand has undergone a regeneration. Combining their reputation of driving safety with swedish luxury has seemed to be their main goal, making sure the vehicles they build are the last word in safety, as well as beautiful in every way. The first vehicle to receive that treatment was the XC90, a luxury SUV which quite frankly blew a lot of people away with its design, styling and technology.

The Volvo S90 is the next vehicle in Volvo’s line up to receive this treatment, a luxury sedan bringing the fight to the likes of BMW’s 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and having driven both of those vehicles, the Germans should be worried.

My first thoughts when entering the cabin of the Volvo S90 were how similar the it felt to the XC90. It has a very clean and elegant feel. High quality materials emphasise the crisp finishings and buttons which are all centered around the 9.3” Sensus Connect Touch Screen. There are few buttons in the S90 thanks to this system which controls everything from the colour of the interior lights to the A/C system and like the XC90, it works very well, it almost feels natural.

Volvo S90 D5 Review

If the XC90 is the younger more beefy teenager, than the S90 must be the older man. It’s very elegant, a trait can be seen through the exterior design. It looks beautiful with its long and sleek style. The front end of the vehicle houses a large chrome grill which harkens back to that of the Volvo P1800, as well as the trademark Thor’s Hammer daytime running lights and while the rear end has received some criticism regarding its design, mainly that it looks sad, in the flesh it looks pretty good. A BMW 5 Series looks aggressive and sporty, whereas the S90 has an elegant and executive feel. It is very Harvey Specter – clean and crisp with nothing out of place.

Volvo S90 D5 Review

There are various engines available in the Volvo S90 and this was the first of two variants I was testing, the D5 AWD Inscription.  This is most powerful diesel engine currently available in the S90 and provides 173 kW and 480 N.m from its 2.0-litre Twin Turbocharged engine, which also features PowerPulse.

PowerPulse is a system currently exclusive to Volvo. It consists of a 2.0-litre canister which forces compressed air into the turbo to decrease spooling times dramatically, thus reducing and eliminating turbo-lag. This system seemed to work well when accelerating hard.

Volvo S90 D5 Review

Here’s the thing with the S90 D5, it didn’t make me feel like I wanted to accelerate hard or drive progressively at all. The Volvo made me feel very relaxed behind the wheel, I sort of pottered around everywhere, taking it nice and easy. The calm and quiet D5 gave of a very relaxing aura

At times I felt like a chauffeur, trying to give my passengers the most comfortable ride possible, even though most of the time I was the only person in the car. It was a fantastic feeling, as though I had escaped the South African road rush – I was in my own little luxury bubble and felt like I had all the time in the world. I could not even hear the chaos that usually consumes South African roads, but that probably had something to do with the 19 speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system (Short video on the system here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSd5KcR0qf4)

Volvo S90 D5 Review

Add this to Volvo’s Pilot Assist, which needs an article for itself (find it here), and you have a fantastic vehicle. Driving a car for long distances can add to one’s stress and tension, but driving the Volvo S90 does the exact opposite.

The S90 D5 AWD isn’t badly priced either at R821,200 and also comes with some very good features as standard. One will find features as LED Headlights, Electric seats, Adaptive cruise control with Pilot Assist, climate control and Navigation. For an extra R65,000 a buyer can add the Premium Pack, which offers the following:

o Heated front seats with power-adjustable side supports

o Powered boot lid

o Power-folding rear seats

o Auto-dimming side and interior mirrors

o Visual Park Assist incl. 360-degree HD camera

o Bowers & Wilkins premium audio, 19-speaker

o Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert

o Park Assist Pilot incl. Park Out function

o Keyless entry and starting, incl. hands-free boot lid opening & closing

Other options I would recommend are the smartphone Integration with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – a R4 000 option.  The Volvo I tested also had a Head Up Display (R14 500) and Air suspension with the Active Chassis system( R17 500) expensive extras, but are most likely worth it and notably cheaper than equivalent options from competitor manufacturers. Spec an E-Class or 5 Series to the same level as this car and you’ll be truly shocked at the price difference. In terms of value for money, the S90 rules this segment.

Overview

The Volvo S90 is a wonderful machine and there isn’t much I can fault. The key could perhaps be made with higher quality materials , but that is the only item that felt a little cheap on this car.

Then there is the issue of who this car appeals to. Have Volvo done enough to attract a younger audience? Maybe. I still feel many buyers around 35 years of age and looking for a vehicle in this segment would still opt for a BMW 5 Series. This does not necessarily mean it’s a better car, because it isn’t. Everything about the S90 would appeal to a younger person, but the brand itself still has to work off its older appeal. Time will tell how this works out. For me, I would take an XC90 everyday of the week because it just has that younger feel.

How does the S90 D5 compare to  it’s more powerful sibling, the fiery,  235 kW S90 T6. Find out here:

 

 

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Volvo V90 Cross Country released in South Africa

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

 South African Car News: Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

We at The Motorist love a good wagon and the only thing we love more than a wagon is a wagon that can do more than just carry things and look cool. Take the Audi RS6 for instance – not only does it look tit, it’ll also give many super car owners a serious fright, all while carrying a moth eaten lamp and a hound or two – it’s brilliant! Unfortunately for us wagon lovers, South African buyers seem to have a penchant for crossovers and as a result, there are very few wagons on sale here. Motoring journalists left, right and centre can’t praise the station wagon enough, but hey, what do we know?

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

Luckily for us, the king of wagon makers has decided that while there might not be much of a market in South Africa for the V90, the Cross Country variants have always seemed to do quite well here and as such, the V90 Cross Country will be on sale here. Both Mercedes-Benz and Audi make raised versions of their big wagons, namely The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain and Audi A6 Allroad, but the E-Class will not be making its way here and the A6 Allroad is no longer on sale in SA. So what does that mean for the V90 Cross Country?

Well, it doesn’t really have any competition in its own segment…but even if it did, it would have little to worry about. It’s gorgeous. Like, properly good looking and for some reason, the black plastic bits and rugged additions to the 90 Cluster’s sleek and luxurious lines come together really nicely. You get the feeling that rather than jacking up the ride-height and forgetting to paint a few bits, the V90 CC’s designers have thought long and hard about what the buyer wants, and how they can provide them with this in a typically Volvo fashion.

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

The first crossover to be based on Volvo’s SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, the V90 CC promises a blend of off-road capability, but, in a “most elegant, sophisticated, tailored wagon suit.” The very words of Thomas Ingenlath, the man responsible for the recent spate of automotive pornography coming out of Sweden.

Interior trims differ to those on offer in the rest of the 90 Cluster with trim options such us Black Walnut for that manly and rugged look. Grrr.

A nice option to tick is the unique Adventure Pack which has been created especially for South African Buyers and offers a host of lifestyle-oriented extras, bristling with value. Included in the Adventure Pack are, amongst others, the panoramic 360-degree surround view camera, auto-dimming mirrors all-round, integrated compass, powered folding rear seats, air suspension and the 230V power outlet – all geared towards improving those out-of-town weekend adventures and typical holiday drives through the country.

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

Pricing for the Volvo V90 Cross Country starts at R770 900 for the T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum and stretches to a not too heady R921 300 for the T6 Geartronic AWD Inscription. All models come standard with a 5-year/100 000 km vehicle warranty, full maintenance plan and roadside assistance, as well as ant-smash and grab glass and Tracker connect as standard.

The new Volvo V90 Cross Country range begins at R770 900 for the T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum, and ends with the T6 Geartronic AWD Inscription at R921 300.

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

Keep an eye out for an in-depth review of the Volvo V90 Cross Country in the coming month.

All models come standard with a 5-year/ 100 000 km full vehicle warranty, full maintenance plan and roadside assistance, as well as laminated glass and Tracker Connect as standard.

Full pricing is as follows:

  • Volvo V90 Cross Country D4 Geartronic AWD Momentum           R794 800
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country D4 Geartronic AWD Inscription            R825 200
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 Geartronic AWD Momentum            R839 500
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 Geartronic AWD Inscription             R869 900
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum             R770 900
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country T5 Geartronic AWD Inscription              R801 300
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 Geartronic AWD Momentum              R890 900
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 Geartronic AWD Inscription                R921 300

 

 

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On a roll: Volvo’s new XC60 revealed.

The new era Volvo’s has already managed to revitalise the brand, making them no longer cars that appeal to a specific group of people.  The edgy designs of the XC90 and newly launched S90 both inside and out have proved that Volvo means business. These cars though are not the most important Volvo’s in the stable, rather the smaller XC60 has been the glory child for the brand. With over one million units sold globally since 2008, it’s safe to say the outgoing XC60 was a hit. The new version will hopefully be a worthy follow up. If it’s anything like its siblings, we’re confident that current Volvo owner s will love it, as well as newer and younger audiences.

The new XC60 carries on the simplicity of the new Volvos, with its engine line up. A variety of 2 litre petrol and diesel engines will be on offer. For those looking for a faster XC60, you’ll be happy to know that the T8 twin engine variant will be offered, packing a healthy 300kW of electric and petrol power.

For diesel lovers, the D5 has not been left out, giving you 173kW and PowerPulse technology.  Power aside, a Volvo would not be a Volvo without safety being at the forefront of its design. Technologies we’ve come to know such as City Safety will make their way into the new XC60, only this time there will be an added Steer Assist feature. The awesome Pilot Assist will definitely not be left out, allowing the driver to experience  a semi-autonomous mode until 130km/h.

Aesthetic appeal of the new XC60 is obviously subjective but we think it maintains the modern loveliness of current Volvos of today. It may not be the prettiest as the XC90 is stunning, but it sure is handsome. Seeing  the new XC60 live will be the determining factor as the S90 was a huge surprise because it looks much more stately in the flesh. Stay tuned to hear more developments around this car in the future, as it will be very relevant for its segment.

Smaller engine, more power: New Volvo S60 Polestar

Normally a model refresh or “face-lift” comprises of some subtle visual changes. With performance cars, the manufacturer usually adds some extra power to keep buyers happy.  In the case of the Volvo S60 Polestar, Volvo have taken a slightly different approach. They have done away with the original 3.0 litre in-line six cylinder turbocharged engine and replaced it with a four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E version. A car that produced 258kW now makes 270kW. This sounds a bit drastic for a mere 12kW gain in power. The changes don’t end there, though. The 6 Speed automatic gearbox on the original S60 Polestar reminded one of performance cars from yesteryear and we lamented how that was the cars biggest flaw. Now, however, an 8 Speed fast shifted gearbox has taken the reins to make the car feel more modern.

new-volvo-s60-polestar-06

Big changes, little gains?

Volvo’s efforts to please its target markets needs did not go wasted. The reduction in weight from the smaller engine surely adds a different feel to the car. There is a reinvigorated zeal in the new model to do things faster, where the old model suffered from delayed reaction times. The shift speed of the new gearbox is also most welcome in this new model. Up-shifts are quicker and the new ratios have made for a more exciting driving experience. As a whole, this new setup is very good. Yes, we miss the noise of the old girl but the hot hatch sounding engine tone in the new car is not bad, especially when Sport mode is engaged via the gearbox. The move from turbo-charging to twin charging (supercharging and turbo-charging) may seem slightly old school in a time where twin-scroll turbochargers are the preferred choice by many, but in this case, it works as there is minimal lag.

Comfort first, performance second

In my opinion, the most enjoyable aspect of the new S60 Polestar is how it doesn’t compromise on providing a comfortable driving experience. After all, being a large sedan a car like this will usually be bought by someone who has a family. For that purpose, the ride quality and ample legroom and boot space, will surely keep that client happy. Even as a childless single adult, I could appreciate driving in the standard mode, knowing I have the power to overtake without having to use it. That being said, the Polestar is still a Volvo and modern Volvo’s come standard with enough technology to rival Apple. This is not a bad thing, but it can become intrusive. Lane departure assist is great, but seeing a quick gap on the highway and taking it may be problematic as the car will veer the car back into the line, thinking you’re falling asleep. Being in the city also means that cars naturally travel closely behind each other. When approaching another vehicle from behind at speed,  the anti-collision system beeps at you, to alarm you of a potential rear ending. For someone on the move and in a rush constantly, you may want to turn off some of the systems to cope with the fact that your car thinks you’re a bad driver. Besides that, you can sit back in the leather and Alcantara seats, play your music through the fantastic sound system and revel at the fact that your car is more blue than most people’s.

new-volvo-s60-polestar-11

Great for its age.   

The fact that we can compare an S60 Polestar to its competitors and still enjoy it is a huge feat for Volvo. The reason for this is because to put it simply; the entire S60 range is old. The exterior and interior design has not been changed in a while whilst the competition’s cars are much newer. One looks forward to the new S60, especially since cars like the XC90 and soon to be launched S90 look and feel great. We hope to see the model that will replace this car emerge soon. For now, though, Volvo aficionados and eccentric individuals looking for something different have something, fast, blue and nimble to enjoy.

new-volvo-s60-polestar-44

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