Johannesburg – The Volvo XC90 has scored a hat trick at the 2018 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards as it won the Premium SUV category for the third year in a row.
Brian Joss – The XC90, which was launched in South Africa in 2015, has consistently outperformed formidable competition in its category, impressing the panel of expert judges and consumers alike.
Judged by an experienced and diverse journalistic jury and incorporating data collected through an online ownership survey in which consumers rate their own vehicles in a multitude of categories, the awards were given to those vehicles which “represent the best buys in their respective categories in South Africa, influenced by real, credible consumer input,” according to Cars.co.za.
In 2016, the XC90 D5 AWD Inscription was the winner, followed in 2017 by the XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD Inscription – one of the leading plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUVs in South Africa and still the only one in the world available with a seven seat configuration. In 2018 it is the turn of the XC90 T8 Twin Engine AWD R-Design, with its sportier design and driving dynamics, which cracked the winning nod.
“This level of recognition for the flagship model in our flagship range is a true honour,” comments Volvo Car South Africa Managing Director, Greg Maruszewski. “The fact that these three awards include a large consumer-based scoring element is the best proof that the XC90 has the right recipe – and we see the satisfaction shared amongst our XC90 customers, especially those who have embraced a PHEV lifestyle and are reaping the benefits of living with their world-class hybrid SUVs.”
Having also been crowned Car of the Year in South Africa in 2016, shortly after receiving its first Cars.co.za award, the second-generation Volvo XC90 is one of the most awarded cars in history, having racked up over 120 awards globally, to date.
It was also the first all-new Volvo produced on the Swedish company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), a scalable platform which also underpins the V90 Cross Country, S90 – which is in the running for the 2018 Car of the Year title in South Africa – and the forthcoming all-new XC60, which is due for launch in South Africa in the third quarter of 2018 and is a finalist in the World Car of the Year contest.
SPA also provides for electrification of all models from the outset, with a smart solution to battery placement. Where competitor vehicles typically feature battery packs mounted in the rear of the car – which skews weight distribution, raises the centre of gravity and impinges on boot space – SPA allows for the battery pack to be placed in the centre tunnel which usually houses the driveshaft in other AWD models. Weight is balanced between the axles, the centre of gravity is kept low down and crash safety also benefits immensely.
With electric drive (65 kW and 240 Nm) dedicated to the rear axle only and the T8 Twin Engine’s 20.-litre supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine (235 kW and 400 Nm) only powering the front wheels, the ‘Twin Engine’ moniker is realised – as is the XC90’s ability to retain a full seven-seat configuration and maintain its boot space as well.
Naturally, the addition of the electric drivetrain provides for exceptional performance and efficiency. The former is particularly suited to the R-Design version of the XC90, where the hybrid’s 0-100 km/h sprint time is a sporty 5.6 seconds thanks to a combined 300 kW and 640 Nm, which puts some hot hatchbacks to shame. Efficiency is of course the other strong point, with combined average fuel economy of just 2.1-litres per 100 km and carbon emissions as low as 49 g/km – according to the NEDC standard for PHEVs and which can also be achieved in the real world.
With its 9.2 kWh battery pack, the XC90 T8 Twin Engine can be driven up to 43 km on electric power alone, and at speeds up to 125 km/h – for a practical, real-world EV experience that doesn’t require a scientific driving style to be realised. Coupled to a quick charging time – just three hours from flat from a normal mains socket, with no need for specialised charging equipment or adapters – and an easy-to-use nature, the XC90 T8 Twin Engine redefines how people are able to live and interact with a full-size,