The Volvo XC90’s smart interior comes packed with plush materials and high-tech features but its infotainment system isn’t quite as easy to use as in some alternatives
The Volvo XC90 has a stylish, minimalist interior. The heating and ventilation functions are controlled through the slick nine-inch portrait infotainment screen so there’s no need for a myriad of switches and knobs on its slick centre console. A single rotary dial that controls the stereo volume and a few buttons for the heated windscreens are all the physical controls you’ll have to fiddle with.
The slick brushed-metal trim and soft-touch plastics on the dashboard and doors feel suitably upmarket but a few hard plastics beside the gear selector feel a little less sturdy than those in an Audi Q7.
Even entry-level XC90 Momentum cars come with metal dashboard inserts and plush, supportive leather seats. Sporty R-Design cars come with sports seats and gloss-black details while Inscription versions have classy walnut trim – both feature a 12.3-inch display in place of conventional dials.
The XC90 takes a simple, minimalist approach to interior design and looks pretty fab inside as a result
Every Volvo XC90 comes with a nine-inch portrait infotainment screen mounted in the dashboard. Its menus are logically laid out and swiping from side to side to access different features feels just like using an iPad.
All cars come with satellite navigation, and it’s clear and easy to use thanks to its large, colourful icons. Unfortunately, Volvo’s system can’t automatically complete a postcode as you enter it – unlike many units in cheaper cars – and it takes longer to calculate a route than the sat-nav in an Audi or BMW. Entering a waypoint is pretty simple, however, and it responds quickly if you pinch to zoom in or swipe across the map.
If you upgrade to an R Design or Inscription model, the central screen is joined by a second 12.3-inch display in place of conventional dials. It’s bright, easy to read and the graphics are clear but it’s not quite as sharp, nor as customisable, as Audi’s similar Virtual Cockpit system.
Having to use a touchscreen to control the air conditioning is usually a source of huge frustration but not so in the Volvo XC90. A set of large, clear controls are permanently displayed at the lower edge of the screen so you can quickly tweak the cabin temperature or heated seats without having to sift through confusing menus.
The standard stereo in the Volvo XC90 is excellent but the optional £2,000 Bowers & Wilkins unit is truly exceptional. Not only does it come with 19 upgraded speakers but you can tweak its advanced customisable settings to mimic the acoustic properties of a recording studio, an events stage or even the Gothenburg Concert Hall. How Swedish!