The look of this second generation XC90, according to its exterior design manager Anders Gunnarson, needed to be 'timeless'. If, like its predecessor, its model life must stretch across the decades, then you can certainly see why. Hence the considerable depth of thought that's clearly gone into a sense of style reflective of brand values both old and new. So many large luxury SUVs appear bulky and intimidating: this isn't one of them. On the outside, this refreshed XC90 offers subtle upgrades to the original award-winning exterior design, such as new wheels, exterior colours and a revised front grille, among other details. Otherwise, things are much as before, with a sculpted bonnet flowing into LED front headlights with a distinctive so-called 'Hammer of Thor' design.
Up-front, the cabin is simple, elegant, very uncluttered and dominated by a huge infotainment colour touchscreen that's presented portrait-style on the centre console. We like the technical niceties too: the CleanZone interior air quality system for example. This automatically switches to recirculation mode if outside conditions change - say in a polluted city centre or when you enter a smoky tunnel. Middle row passengers get individual seats that slide and recline for greater comfort on longer journeys. And even third row folk get decent standards of space. Unlike a rival Audi Q7 TFSIe, you can have third row seating in this XC90 T8 model. Out back, there's 397-litres of luggage space with all the seats in place, or 775-litres up to the windowline with the third row folded.