Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design - his and hers review

The HER and HIS review: Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, Life 2 Comments

{Editor’s disclaimer: for the past 6 months I’ve had on loan the Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design from Volvo Cars Mt Gravatt. In return for that loan I was asked to share my thoughts about the car and how it fits into our lifestyle. The below is not a paid endorsement. It’s my – and my husband’s – own thoughts. If you’d love to check out the car for yourself and I hope you do, make an inquiry via HERE and mention Styling You}

I spend a lot of time in the car. Between school runs, meetings, photoshoots, events and weekend sporting commitments, I manage to rack up the kms. Something strange and unexpected has happened over the past six months, though. Instead of dreading getting in the car and spending time on the road or stuck in traffic jams, I’ve relished jumping in, popping on a podcast or audiobook and just cruising.

I say strange and unexpected but I shouldn’t have been surprised. For the past six months, I’ve had a luxury Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design seven-seater SUV parked in our driveway (on loan), ready and waiting for me to step in and take it on its next outing. From the moment we first locked eyes on each other – and I locked my bottom on its sweet leather interior, it’s been love. 

Also, not surprisingly, the husband has been VERY excited about this gig and we have often fought over who was driving the XC90. I tell you, dear Styler, this has NEVER happened in the past. I’ve always been happy to have been chauffeured anywhere and everywhere.

So what’s got me so damn excited and swooning over a car? LOTS. I thought rather than just give my side of the love affair, I’d compile a a HER and HIS review because, let’s face it, if you’re in partnership, you’re most likely going to have to make a car purchase decision together. 

Our family and cars

Car talk was always a thing in my family. My late grandfather was general manager for Austral Motors. I used to go and visit him at work in the showroom which is now a part of All Hallow’s private girls’ school in the Brisbane CBD. Before retiring in the 1970s, I remember being in awe how he’d be (seemingly) driving a new car every week. And until he had a stroke in his 90s, he would pride himself on keeping his car polished, clean and in pristine condition. 

When I started in my ambassador role for Volvo Cars Mt Gravatt, we owned one car – a Volvo XC60 – which I bought partly with some of the inheritance money from my Pop and Nan’s estate. I know that wise financial people would have had me channelling that money into something else but for me, it just felt right. 

Since moving to Brisbane five-plus years ago, we’ve also been a one-car family. My husband catches the bus to work in the city and we are down to one kid at home for the weekend parental taxi duties. We mostly do city driving but do like getting away for a weekend or road trip. On my work side of things, I do need the space of an SUV to handle things like clothes racks and shop stock.

Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design - his and hers review

HER top features: Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design 

1. The size. I’ve never driven a car this big. I was sure it would feel like driving a truck and this had me a little frightened but it couldn’t feel further from that truck-like feel. The XC90 hugs the road beautifully (look at me with my car talk) but feels like you’re driving a medium-sized SUV.

2. The zen-like comfort. I seriously feel like a different person when I step into my seat. Most mornings around here are frantic in terms of getting out the door but the moment I get in the car, the very Scandi-minimalist luxe interior soothes and calms me. This is indeed deeply pleasing for me and a very good thing for everyone else on the road.

Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design - his and hers review

3. Tablet-sized dashboard touch-screen. I’m on the other side of 50, so any screen needs to be on the other side of large. This screen ticks all the size boxes, making it super easy for me to see at a glance all the essential controls. Using the touch-screen navigation function is a cinch. And I can easily swipe between listening to the radio or a podcast via bluetooth.

4. 360 degree camera. This has been a game-changer. I’ve seriously never parked a car so well. 💅As soon as you put the XC90 in reverse, cameras on the side, back and front of the car are engaged and you can see any parking lines. What shows on the screen is an overhead view of the car within the space.

5. Cooling (and warming) seats. Ok, so we all know about warming seats and, yes, I know they’ll come into their own any week soon but the cooling function? OMG. On the gazillion hot, sweaty days of the past summer, I found any excuse to drive just to sit in the driver’s seat and blast the cool air up my back. Seriously SO good.

6. Memory seats. My exact seat settings – how high I want to sit and how far forward – are programmed into #1 in both the driver and passenger seats. And there is absolutely no truth to the rumour that I have a special memory setting for the passenger seat that involves a three-quarter recline. 

Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design - his and hers review

7. Space. There is SO much space. So much space I didn’t know I needed until I started a fashion label and suddenly need to cart around a lot of stock and clothes racks for our pop-up events. With all the back seats down, we have some serious room to play with. And when it came to our Easter getaway to Straddie, we were able to leave one space for the youngest and put down all the other seats for maximum packing opportunities.

8. Seven seats. Now, we might be down to one kid at home but one teenage boy can quickly become half a football team. Having the seven-seat option has given me some serious street cred and for those who end up in the far back, it’s still a comfortable ride. If you have smaller kids who need booster seats, there are two built in in the middle row of seats. 

9. Kick open boot. This is a party trick I like to perform when packing the car with customer orders ready for the post office. A quick left kick under the car near the boot (with keys in hand) opens the boot, “look, Mum, no hands” style. 

10. Auto park brake on hills. I’m someone who’s paranoid about leaving the park brake off. Not any more. If the car’s on an incline when I park, they come on automatically.

HIS top features: Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design

“I’ve had an interest in the Volvo brand, since the mid-80s when my grandparents had a bright orange station wagon model. It wasn’t so much about good looks but had extra seats in the boot that faced backwards so when we were travelling with the family, my sister and I had no other option than to wave and make faces at the following motorists! These days the Volvo brand has become known and respected for a range of models that are still really well appointed, but are also stylish and smart as well as great to drive. The second-generation XC90 has been in production since 2014, and the latest version has received a facelift that feels as fresh and relevant as ever,” Mr SY

Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design - his and hers review

1. For a full-sized SUV it is great to drive. The XC90 has the size and strength to match-up to other bigger rigs in the car park, but it doesn’t drive like a battle wagon.

2. Hidden power. The 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine belies its small capacity, with plenty of torque, great acceleration and strong top-end performance. Output is claimed to be 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds (haven’t tried to match this yet), and an impressive fuel consumption rating of 8.5L/100km. The ride feels steady and self-assured in all road and weather conditions.

3. It looks great on the outside. The styling of the 2019 plate XC90s has modernised the range, but at the same time added more presence to its front-end features that makes it stand out, without being pretentious. Coupled with dark 20” alloys, it’s a good looking vehicle.

Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design - his and hers review

4. It looks great on the inside. Apparently Volvo calls the cabin of its XC90 a “Swedish sanctuary”, and it is definitely very appealing. Friends who drive other European SUVs openly remarked about how nice the interior is. The minimalist switchgear and controls and quality materials give the car an open but welcoming feel.

5. Well-appointed features. This XC90 is the first car I’ve driven with front seat warmers, and coolers! The stream of cool air up your back on a hot Brisbane day is very much welcomed. The standard features list is strong, with inclusions extending to internet connectivity, head-up display, and a smart digital instrument cluster. I also like that many of the features can be accessed and turned on or off via the 9″ centre console touch-screen display.

6. Safety first. Being a Volvo, safety features abound, and add up to a five-star rating. There is full air-bag coverage, blind-spot monitoring and the 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors and automated emergency braking. The camera features are particularly useful when sliding in to ever-shrinking suburban shopping centre car park spaces.

7. Multiple drive modes. The XC90 does not pretend to be a genuine off-roader. But this model is equipped with four drive modes that cater for most conditions and moods 😉The dynamic mode brings out the model’s sportier side, and the off-road mode prepares the car for just that, including increase in body height.

8. Superior seating. This is a bloody nice car to drive or be a passenger in. The three rows of leather seats are very comfortable, make you feel secure and have great functionality when you need to adjust them. The six-way adjustable front seats cater for the fussiest of travellers, the angle of the second-row seats can be adjusted, and also feature in-built child booster seats, and the third-row seats provide enough leg-room for an average-height adult, and stow neatly.

9. Great storage. The XC90 has a 1019-litre boot (that’s already good), and when the second-row seats are down (fully flat) this opens to a cavernous 1868-litre storage area that can easily accommodate requests to move the Styling You shop around town. There is another handy technology feature that comes in here, with the option to lower the height of the rear of the car using a button in the boot to make loading that little bit easier.

10. Plenty of sound. The Bowers & Wilkins audio system is crisp, clear and packs plenty of grunt when we’re not listening to one of The Stylist’s podcasts!

So, tell me, have you got a Volvo story to share? Are you more on the HER or the HIS side of what you look for in a car?

PS. Don’t forget mention StylingYou when booking your test drive.


Want a chance to experience a Volvo Cars Mt Gravatt Volvo for the weekend, including an overnight stay at the Emporium Hotel Southbank and a $250 gift card to spend on Styling You The Label?

Of COURSE you do. Here’s how to enter:

1. Follow @VolvoCarsMtGravatt on Instagram.

2. Comment on the video post of me driving the XC90, tagging who you would like to take on the weekend away. 

Entries close Thursday, June 6 at midnight, AEST. The prize winner will be announced on the @VolvoCarsMtGravatt Instagram page.

Comments 2

  1. No I’ve never had a “Volvo” experience – but what a fabulous review! No mention of a price point. Would you buy one?

    1. Post

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