07 February 2009


RANGE Rover could be one of my dream car. That's a dream. A bit difficult to attain because of its massive, massive pricing. And the cost of its maintenance is humongous. But a not-so-unreal SUV for me would be Volvo XC90. I'm monitoring closely the second-hand price of this beauty. My random checking shows that the unit registered in 2003 is priced at RM169,000, and a 2006 unit is about RM188,000. Not bad if you compare to a brand new priced at RM350K.

With the current glum economic climate, there might be some opportunity for car enthusiast to get a good bargain. The dealers are in a dilemma now. For business contractual, they have to bring in a certain amount of units every month, regardless of the fact if there's a demand or not. At least since after Raya last October, the demand has been going south. And we're talking across the board. Some might say that the demand for smaller cars i.e Viva, Myvi, Savvy etc etc is sustainable but there are drops that accumulating to a total industry volume of 30% reduce.

It may be bad business for the dealers and the franchise holders but as I've said, there would be opportunity for the car enthusiast. Because of slow demand, slow sale - the dealers have to double-up their marketing ploy. Expect some enticement in terms of buy 1 car, get a 42 inch Plasma TV. Or rebate as high as RM3,000. Or buy 1 car, get 1 car free (hahaha... yea right!).

I for one, is one of the car enthusiast. Volvo XC90 is understandably a high demand vehicle. If the 2006 unit at the moment priced at RM188K, I am looking forward to see it reduce some more to the level of RM160K. That would be a good bargain. However, playing with speculation is a heartbreaking game, isn't it? hehehehe or may be, I just add some more accessories in my truck?

Now coming back to XC90. The Volvo XC90 was launched in early 2002 as the first purpose-built SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) to come from Volvo Cars. It is also Volvo's first seven-seat car since the 1940s. The Volvo XC90 has electronically controlled All-Wheel Drive. It has the capacity to forge ahead on very poor roads, but is primarily intended as a spacious passenger car with excellent driving manners, immense safety and intelligent versatility.

Now Volvo is introducing the diesel engine version called XC90 D5. The locally-assembled XC90 D5 is a transversely-mounted 2.4 litre in-line 5-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 185 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque with a 6-speed automatic Geartronic transmission.
It is priced at RM355,000 (on the road without insurance) and comes in four colors – Black Sapphire Metallic, Oyster Grey Pearl, Electric Silver Metallic and Shadow Blue Metallic.

Five-door SUV - a crossover model that combines the passenger car's comfort and comfort with excellent get-you-there ability and flexibility. The Volvo XC90 is designed to give a robust yet at the same time compact and elegant impression. It is built as a 7-seater passenger car, with a unitary body and the same type of chassis as that found in Volvo's sedan models - unlike some other SUV models that are built on a truck chassis. The passenger compartment is very spacious, thanks not least to Volvo's modern powertrain concept with transverse engine installation.

The Volvo brand name in the rear of the XC90 D5 adopts the new widespread lettering to enhance visibility of the brand. The individual letters will also be larger.

The seats are placed high to give the driver a commanding view over the traffic and the passengers a comfortable seating position. All the passenger seats can be folded. The tailgate is divided into an upper and a lower section. This makes the Volvo XC90 a very flexible and versatile car.

New front head restraints will be introduced due to world legal demands. The new front head restraints have reduced width and 25 mm increased height.

Volvo Cars adopts a holistic view of safety that encompasses both Preventive and Protective safety. Preventive safety is closely linked to the car's driving properties. The body of the Volvo XC90 features immense torsional rigidity and the car has a sturdy chassis, a combination that results in consistent, predictable behaviour on the road. Ground clearance is high to offer good get-you-there ability on poor roads. Despite this, the floor is set low down, which contributes to the car's low centre of gravity and excellent directional stability.

Protective safety in the Volvo XC90 is structured around a network consisting of exterior and interior safety systems that interact with one another to reduce the risk of occupant injury in a collision.

The exterior systems have the task of distributing and absorbing incoming collision forces so that the passenger compartment remains as intact and undamaged as possible.
Thanks to its unitary body, the Volvo XC90 has been able to be built with the same type of deformation zone as Volvo's other car models. The body is built in the form of a metal cage where all the components interact with one another to ensure controlled deformation. A gently rounded front and an extra beam below the front bumper help reduce the risk of injury to other road users.

The interior safety systems aim to keep the passengers securely in place and also to reduce the risk of serious injury. In order to provide the most effective protection possible, Volvo Cars has developed a number of in-house systems, such as WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System), SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) and IC (Inflatable Curtain). All are fitted as standard in the Volvo XC90. Certain components have undergone further development specifically for the XC90 model. For instance, the Inflatable Curtain has been extended so it also covers passengers in the third row of seats. All seven seats are equipped with three-point inertia-reel seat belts, belt pre-tensioners and head restraints. The highest possible safety requires that all the car's occupants always use their seat belts.

The Volvo XC90 features reinforced roll-over protection. An active stability-enhancement system (Roll Stability Control) activates if the car risks rolling over. Engine power is reduced, anti-roll bar stiffness is increased and the brakes are automatically applied to stabilise the car. If the car should roll over, a network of beams in the body structure helps distribute and absorb the resulting forces. In addition, an electronic sensor registers if the car is about to roll over and accordingly activates the seat belt pre-tensioners and the inflatable curtains.

The Volvo XC90 D5 is equipped with a five-cylinder engine. It is fitted transversely in keeping with Volvo's modern powertrain concept. They are designed to operate smoothly, with low vibration and high torque across a wide rev range.

The engine is extremely compact and mounted transversely, for optimum crash safety and maximum cabin space.

The five-cylinder turbo diesel provides smooth and powerful driving. This responsive and modern diesel features a service-free particle filter, making it a highly eco-efficient engine.

The chassis, with spring struts at the front and Multilink axle at the rear, is set up for stable, reassuring driving manners and alert steering response. The Multilink rear axle is an independent rear suspension system featuring a number of links and it is designed to offer a good combination of controlled wheel movements and high ride comfort. Some of these links have the task of providing a certain degree of anti-skid steering effect. A long wheelbase and wide track, together with a very torsionally rigid body, contribute to the predictable, controlled driving manners. Large wheels with a relatively tall tyre profile and stiff tyre sidewalls contribute further to stability.

The Volvo XC90 has Volvo's electronically controlled All-Wheel Drive system with Instant Traction, for fast and effective distribution of traction even when moving off on a slippery surface. Volvo's advanced DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) stability-enhancing system is fitted as standard. DSTC cuts in and helps stabilise the car if it registers any tendency to skid.

The Volvo XC90 is designed and equipped to impact as little as possible on the global environment and to offer a clean and healthy interior climate. Energy-efficient diesel engines with particle filters produce low emissions of carbon dioxide and soot particles.

Volvo's IAQS (Interior Air Quality System) effectively reduces the amount of particles, pollen, gases and certain unpleasant odours in the air entering the cabin. In addition, all textiles and leather are certified under ├ľKO-TEX 100, an international standard, which ensures that the interior trim is free from allergy-inducing substances and emissions.

© UTUSAN MELAYU (M) BERHAD, 46M, Jalan Lima Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin, 55200 Kuala Lumpur.

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