North American Truck of the Year 2016
We wanted to start our first UAE test drive with an SUV that marked history, and what would be better than the Volvo XC90, voted recently as the North American Truck of the year in the last edition of Detroit Motor Show 2016. So we called up the guys at Volvo, requesting to test drive this award winning SUV, and we were told that during our visit to UAE the car would not be available. We were extremely disappointed, as we couldn’t think of an alternative to replace what we had already set as a plan.
The next day, we received a call from Volvo informing us that just recently a new Volvo XC90 had landed in the UAE and that we would be among the first to drive it. That was excellent news, everything was back on track.
On Test Drive day, we showed up at the Volvo Showroom in Dubai, and an amazing surprise was waiting for us in front of the showroom; we wanted to test drive the North American Truck of the year and we got the truck of the year upgraded to T6 AWD R-Design PoleStar in its launching blue color. What a Beauty!
At first glance, I truly fell in love with it. If you are into sporty and luxurious SUVs, this one is definitely your target. We all know that the Swedish manufacturer produces vehicles that are modern and focused on classiness, yet more conservative than other manufacturers when it comes to flashy designs. Well, to me this specific second generation R-Design SUV has what Volvo stands for in terms of classy design, yet it swept my heart away with its new slick, sporty design, equipped with breathtaking LED headlights and a very non-conservative front bumper that screams “sport” in every detail. The curves on this vehicle are outstanding, leading all the way to the rear that is characterized by the new LED taillights design and dual exhaust tips for that extra spice.
When we talk about Volvo vehicles, we cannot but mention safety. The all new XC90 is the safest SUV ever built today, and it comes loaded with so many safety features guaranteeing to keep you and your loved ones safe at all times, on all-terrains, and in every driving condition, all grouped under the Volvo IntelliSafe banner, such as Volvo’s City Safety auto-braking tech, Queue Assist, and so much more.
After being astonished by the exterior and interior of the Scandinavian vehicle, it was time to turn the knob of the engine start and hit the road. We drove this SUV for more than 5 days, and the driving sensation is superb. It has 4 driving modes: ECO for efficiency driving, Comfort for everyday drive, Offroad for rough roads, and Dynamic for high performance.
We tested all 4 systems and got the chance to experience the efficiency of the Drive-E powertrains combining the low-fuel consumption and emissions of a four-cylinder engine with the handling and performance of a six or eight-cylinder. Using just a 2.0L engine 4-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged, Volvo was able to produce 320HP that kicks in when needed and alter its power and emissions according to your driving need and selected drive mode. Now, what if we add the PoleStar blue badge on this SUV? An extra 14 horsepower comes into play, and the engine performance is optimized to give the driver that extra push from low, to mid, to high power ranges. PoleStar optimizes the drivability of this vehicle, especially when it comes to throttle response, gearshift speed, gearshift precision and gear hold, off-throttle response, and overall engine performance.
There’s so much to say about this vehicle in terms of safety, performance, innovation, and technology that I can summarize in one sentence; we just couldn’t get enough.
All of this and more made this SUV one of the best in the industry and triggered 53 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada to vote for the XC90 as North American Truck of the year for 2016, based on several factors including innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction, and value for the dollar. We can easily make it 54 with our team joining the North American committee in their decision. The XC90, in every trim, is truly what Volvo’s new strategy in vehicle production stands for.