2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark (car review)

XC is an abbreviation for Cross Country, with X representing ‘Cross’ and C, ‘Country’. To us, the 2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark SUV just stands for pure XCellence. Sophistication, elegance and class oozes from every angle.

Its iconic R-Design front grille and headlamps, colour-keyed sills, bumpers and door handles, the illumination package and puddle lights – it’s all there. Gloss black integrated roof rails and window surrounds take it all up a notch too.

Draped in Platinum Grey, with the undertones of brown, it’s an almost regal looking vehicle, especially when it’s rolling on 22-inch 5-spoke diamond cut alloys. LED active bending headlights, with active high beam and a wash system also feature.

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It’s automotive craftmanship and technology at its finest. The optional ventilated charcoal Nappa leather-accented seats inside don’t hurt either. Inside, you’ll also find genuine wood décor, and handcrafted crystal gear shifter by Swedish glass magicians Orrefors.

Heated and ventilated fully adjustable front seating offers a super comfortable place to sit, that also feels sculptured for maximum enjoyment. Volvo even had the audacity to treat us with the optional massage functionality, a feature we reckon is an absolute must have.

2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark
2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark

Keeping in mind the XC90 is a 7-seater, the second and third rowers haven’t been forgotten either, and the Ultimate comes with second-row outer cushion heating, power folding outer rear head restraints, a mechanical release and flat floor functionality.

A centre arm rest, cup holders, two USB-C charging ports, climate control, ventilation from all angles and a hidden centre booster seat for those smaller humans also feature. The middle row does feel quite firm though.

If you end up drawing the short straw (no pun intended) and find yourself in the third row, fear not, because there’s cup holders, storage compartments, access to your own air vents and the opportunity to slide the second row for extra leg room.

Four-zone electronic climate control, CleanZone interior air quality system, subtly integrated window shades, and an after run parking climate and humidity sensor all highlight just how much Volvo prioritises occupant comfort too.

On the tech front, a 9.0-inch vertical touchscreen infotainment system is your command centre, with all the big SUV’s accessories and functions controllable from this glorified iPad. That includes DAB+ digital radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

dash
Inside the 2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark

Of course, it’s never a good idea to be fidgeting with your climate control on a 9.0-inch screen while attempting to navigate through any driving scenario. To that end, Volvo has joined forces with Google, with complimentary 4-year access to Google Assistant.

You also get Google Maps and Google Play Store, making controlling everything as simple as “Hey Google, change the temperature to 22-degrees”. The whole Google integration offers a great source of family entertainment for those long test drives home too.

“Hey Google, what sound does…” delivered many laughs and ensured the driver had attentive passengers. Dual USB-C ports up front, a wireless charge pad and a kick-ass optional Bowers & Wilkins 1,460W high-end audio system delivered pure eargasms too.

Your orchestra features a 19-speaker sound system, including the iconic tweeter-on-top centre speaker. It’s quality built equipment, featuring four room modes, delivering detailed, crisp and clean audio for your listening pleasure.

The XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark offers 680-litres of boot space, before the rear seats fold completely flat. A concealed space-saver, hooks and tie-down points all feature, although there’s no sunglasses holder.

rear seats
Inside the 2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark

The powered tailgate tech is bang on, no meltdowns or malfunctions, using the remote key, touch or foot gesture, with compliance first time, every time. The drive is just as pleasing as the XC90 looks too.

Comfortable, smooth and responsive, at no point does it feel underpowered, despite only having a mild hybrid four-cylinder turbocharged engine with an e-charger and 8-speed automatic transmission. The combo works harmoniously alongside the all-wheel drive.

No need for gimmicky flappy paddles, just a wholesome driving experience. Packing 220kW of power and 420Nm of torque, it’s capable of the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.7 seconds. It’s no slouch, and tips the scales at 2,090kg.

Even rolling on 22’s doesn’t affect cabin noise or ride comfort. There is minimal body roll through corners and braking is more than adequate. The XC90 just feels solid, stable and safe. It even sounds decent should you find yourself heavying the go pedal.

Adaptive lighting, auto high beam, a 12-inch digital instrument cluster and Volvo’s super clear 360-degree camera system all do their part in making your driving experience that much more pleasing and enjoyable.

boot
Inside the 2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark

Fuel consumption is a claimed 8.2-litres/100km from the 71-litre tank, with real world testing averaging around 9.2-litres/100km. The 2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating too and is loaded with driver assistance goodness.

They include city safety, driver alert, oncoming lane mitigation, hill descent control, blind spot monitoring, and run-off-road mitigation. Our test vehicle, including the optional extras detailed below, was priced at $117,540 plus on-roads.

Optional extras like a panoramic sunroof, the audio upgrade and Climate Pack we had, and active chassis control with air suspension can easily have you leaving the dealership with empty pockets, but we reckon it’s worth it if you want the whole kit and kaboodle.

There’s six exterior colours on offer, including Denim Blue, Thunder Grey and Onyx Black, while inside, you can opt for Charcoal or Blond leather accented, or ventilated Nappa leather accented trim (the latter is part of the Climate Pack).

The 2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assist. It’s the car for all occasions, whether you have a big family, a lot of mates or if you just want some space for selfish indulgence.

2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark
2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark

You can find out more on the Volvo Cars Australia website. If you need finance, check out CreditOne.

 Our test vehicle was provided by Volvo Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark, contact your local Volvo dealership.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
9
Exterior styling
9
Interior look and feel
8.5
Technology and connectivity
8.5
Family friendliness
9.5
Value for money
8

SUMMARY

Pros – spaciousness; ride and comfort; safety, connectivity and technology.
Cons – needs a more customisable instrument cluster; missing a sunglasses holder; could do with a full panoramic glass roof.
Jason Fernandez
Jason Fernandez
Jason Fernandez is a lover of hero cars. He's owned some of the best from the Japanese and Euro performance houses, but JDM cars hold a special place in his heart. To Jason, every vehicle is a blank canvas, just waiting to get its own personality. Well known to the Sydney car scene, Jason has a passion for all things automotive.

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<strong>Pros –</strong> spaciousness; ride and comfort; safety, connectivity and technology.<br> <strong>Cons –</strong> needs a more customisable instrument cluster; missing a sunglasses holder; could do with a full panoramic glass roof.2023 Volvo XC90 Ultimate B6 Dark (car review)