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New levels of technology

Created on 05/02/2016 @ 08:30
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Test Report by Graham Breeze

If like me you are bamboozled by the new technology sweeping the motoring world theses days the new Volvo CX90 T8 Twin Engine may not be up your street.

But on the other hand if iPhones, iPads, The Cloud and Apps do it for you then this might be just the seven-seater SUV you have been looking for, as it sets new standards in intuitive technology and safety levels.

But it's not just high-tech instrumentation that puts the CX90 in the picture as a major player in the busy SUV sector. This is a car of huge significance for Volvo because it's the first entirely new Hybrid built on an all-new platform and demonstrates the Swedish company's new design direction.

Quite simply this isn't like any other Volvo we've known. It's a two litre petrol hybrid with a top speed of 140mph and 0-60mph in just 5.3 seconds. Add CO2 emissions of just 49g/km and possible, and I mean possible, combined fuel economy figures of 134.5mpg and you're talking different league.

There are other engines on offer - a D5 diesel and a T6 petrol, but the twin-engine hybrid is easily the most interesting, particularly to the fleet buyer and driver where tax benefits are key. After all there's a BIK rating of just 5% which means companies could gain as much as £11,470 Corporation Tax relief.

It has a stunning new appearance and the top-of-the-range T8 Twin Inscription on test came complete with soft leather interior, Sandanavian wood finish and even crystal glass.

There's plenty to talk about but you just have to return to the levels of technology and the intuitive interface which make this Volvo so impressive. Volvo call it a Human Machine Interface and it is truly class-leading with a 12.3inch central display touchscreen combined with an intelligent voice control system.

Connectivity levels are simply mind blowing with access to a huge range of cloud based Apps via the standard built-in modem, which can be upgraded with a SIM card with a mobile data allowance.

You can then use this internet connection to keep passengers amused on their mobile devices on long journeys by creating a WiFi hotspot. And then there's the ability to use Apple Car Play meaning you can use the benefits of an Apple Phone via touchscreen, voice control or the steering wheel controls. It's way out of my league.

Volvo claim the XC90 is the safest model it has ever built and boast the most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated standard safety package in the industry. World-firsts include Run Off Road Protection, which automatically tightens front seatbelts and Auto Brakes at junctions.

There is a price to pay of course and the range topper on test included a £5,000 option pack which pushed the on-the-road ticket up to £69,055. That's serious money by any standards.

Opposition in sector includes BMW X5, Audi Q7, Mercedes CLE-Class and Land Rover Discovery. Volvo sales see them sitting 8th in sector during 2015 and the target is to move up to 5th in 2016.

You'd have to say they stand a good chance because this Volvo could soon be taking on Range Rover too.

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