Video: Autocar reviews the Volvo XC90, M-Class (GLE) rival

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The Swedes – with a little help from the Chinese, true – are coming back in force. The XC90 is the first car of the Volvo rejuvenation, the company’s long awaited comeback which is due to start with this premium large SUV.

Matt Prior, the Autocar journalist, is pretty impressed by the new easy on the eye looks of the car. The design is said to be representative for the future models of the Volvo range which will follow shortly, making this XC90 you see right here the oldest Volvo model in five years time.

Matt points out four areas where Volvo wanted this car to shine like no other: the first is safety, of course, since you can’t make a Volvo without focusing on safety just like you can’t make sushi without rice (or can you, I don’t really know?); the second one is ecologism, something all manufacturers make a big fuss about nowadays; thirdly, there’s the design – obviously, they’re Swedish, and design is a big deal over there; finally, the fourth one is practicality or, as Matt puts it, intuitivity – this is best shown by the new control unit in the dashboard.

Since we’re on the subject, the big tablet like screen in the central console houses pretty much all the controls needed by the driver and front passenger. They say the XC90 only has 8 (eight) buttons on the dashboard, which is obviously an exaggeration, but the layout is indeed nice and clean.

We’ll skip the safety bit since we’re sure the XC90 will get full marks and go straight to eco friendliness. The XC90 will only use four cylinder engines which clearly marks the SUV as primarily a family car, and one for the driving enthusiast. The D5 model Matt is driving has an all new 2.0 litre diesel with 222 hp mated to an automatic transmission he says is one of the few chinks in the the XC90’s armor.

Still, the performance figures for this setup aren’t that bad: 0-100 km/h only takes 7,4 seconds, which is one second away from hot hatch territory. But the main selling proposition of the XC90 must be the high level of comfort and practicality, with tons of space, a seven seat option and great modularity.

As if BMW and Audi (with some occasional incursions from Range Rover or Lexus) weren’t enough, Mercedes-Benz (the M-Class/GLE, to be more precise) now has to watch its back from this completely new Volvo XC90 as well, even though, in all honesty, you get the feeling Volvo is mainly targeting a slightly different customer. One that might not be that abundant just yet.