Volvo have taken what has been regarded as one of the most stylish SUV’s of 2015 and have given it the R-Design treatment. Thankfully I’ve had the opportunity to put it through its paces and it definitely did not disappoint. As the motor industry in Ireland and indeed worldwide starts to find its feet, vehicle manufacturers are now constantly trying to provide exactly what the customer wants. When it comes to the larger SUV models, sport sells.

The R-Design models are the sportiest XC90s to date, featuring a range of design, dynamic and equipment upgrades to give Volvo’s seven-seat SUV a sporty makeover. From the exterior, the first thing that draws your attention are the 20-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels wrapped in low-profile tyres. Silver-effect door mirrors, gloss black mesh front grille, a subtle body-kit with twin sports exhausts and tinted rear windows complete the exterior features which set the R-Design XC90 apart from the standard model. The result of these additions is an imposing yet stylish SUV that catches the attention of even those with no interest in vehicle design.



I will be the first to admit that whilst I have the pleasure of driving numerous new vehicles week in and week out, this test drive of the newest XC90 was greatly anticipated. Sitting inside the XC90 R-design the attention to detail and quality of the finish is second to none. A minimalist look has been adopted by reducing the number of knobs and buttons across the dash. The majority of your needs are served through the smart touchscreen with sat-nav. Standard spec within the XC90 R-Design provides contour sports seats with leather. The leather continues to the perforated leather steering wheel and gear knob. Gear shift paddles are also mounted at the steering wheel to allow for seamless gear changes. A 12.3 inch crystal driver’s information display provides all of the essential information for the driver including driving info, sat-nav., Bluetooth connection etc.


The space which is offered throughout the XC90 is as you would expect from a large SUV. Headroom and legroom throughout is impressive, even as you nestle in the 3rd row of seats. With the 3rd row of seats in place the XC90 R-Design offers 369 litres of space while this expands to 692 litres with the 3rd row stowed away. Access to the boot area is achieved with ease given that the floor level is at an ample height with no lip or sill.


If ever there was a vehicle that makes you feel as if you are floating along as you take to the road the XC90 is it. I briefly drove the XC90 last year over 24 hours and I immediately found that comfort on the road as soon as I embarked on this week long test drive as well. Given the interior comfort levels offered in the premium leather seats you could be forgiven for thinking that you are seated in an executive lounge rather than traversing the varying roads of the country. Given the raised driving position, visibility is very good and this is complimented by the optional extra of the Intellisafe Pro Pack which was fitted on my test vehicle. This pack offers adaptive cruise control with distance alert, queue assist with automatic steering, lane keeping aid, blind spot information system, cross traffic alert and rear collision mitigation. These extras highlight the different aspects of technology being utilized by Volvo in order to ensure the highest level of safety for all road users alike.

My test model was powered by the Volvo D5 2.0 litre diesel engine which offers 225bhp. This is coupled with an almost seamless 8 speed automatic transmission. There are steering mounted paddle shifts also. When driving the XC90 R-Design you can select a number of different modes for vehicle response. These range from Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Individual and Off-Road. Stop/Start technology is also standard in order to maximize fuel economy. Steering feedback is reasonable from the XC90. Given its overall height you do get a small amount of roll on hard corners but overall the feedback to the driver is ample and handling is good. The XC90 R-Design is also fitted with All Wheel Drive (AWD) which ensures maximum traction at all times.



Overall, the Volvo XC90 R-Design delivers on every level. Exterior styling, sporty looks, spacious interior finished in quality materials, excellent drivability leaving you just wanting to head out for a drive for any reason and some of the highest ratings when it comes to vehicle safety. As Volvo continue to add new vehicles to their product range, the future is most definitely looking good.

Technical Specification

Engine Size – 2.0 litre D5

Fuel Type – Diesel

Power – 225 bhp

Torque –  470Nm

Acceleration (0 – 100km/h) – 7.4 seconds

Top Speed – 220 km/hour

Consumption (Combined) –5.8 litres/ 100 kilometres

CO2 emissions – 152g / km

Road Tax – € 390

Base Price – € 63,450

Price as per model tested – € 83,227