Volvo XC90 interior
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 9-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 brushed-metal trim and soft-touch plastics on the dashboard and doors feel suitably upmarket but a few hard plastics around 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, mood lighting on the doors and dashboard and a set of plush, supportive leather seats. Sporty R-Design cars come with sports seats, gloss-black dashboard trims and a black fabric roof lining while Inscription versions have classy walnut trim instead.
Inscription models also come with multi-coloured mood lighting, plusher carpets and even softer Nappa leather upholstery while high-spec Inscription Pro cars add massage seats, a head-up display and a heated steering wheel – just the thing for chilly winter mornings.
The XC90 takes a simple, minimalist approach to interior design and looks pretty fab inside as a result
Every Volvo XC90 comes with a 9-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 like 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.
This central touchscreen also houses the controls for the Volvo’s heating and ventilation. This is usually a source of huge frustration, but at least you get a set of large, clear controls at the lower edge of the screen so you can quickly tweak the cabin temperature or heated seats without having to sift through any confusing menus.
Every Volvo XC90 also comes with a second digital display in place of conventional dials. This 12-inch screen is 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.
Unlike the Audi Q7, you have to pay extra to have the Volvo XC90 fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. It doesn’t cost a great deal, but these systems use landscape menus which don’t display particularly well on the Volvo’s large portrait screen.
At least they let you use your own music-streaming apps through the Volvo XC90’s built-in stereo. If you’re seriously into your tunes, you’ll want to consider upgrading to the optional Bowers and Wilkins unit. It isn’t cheap, but it comes with 19 speakers and you can tweak its settings to mimic the acoustic properties of a recording studio, an events stage or even the Gothenburg Concert Hall. Lovely.