Invites come in often here at Highsnobiety for test drive opportunities with automakers in exceptional places. Banff, Alberta, Canada is no exception. In fact, when the invite came in from Volvo to head to the Canadian Rockies for a test drive some of their 2020 SUV options, it was clear our drives would be about performance both on and off the road.
Banff is home to some of the best natural views, on par with the island of Kuaii in terms of scene, but less so remote and more connected to North. In many ways, it is also reminiscent of the northern Scandinavian landscape and Sweden where the automaker calls home, bringing the drive and experience a bit closer to help those in attendance utilize the performance and safety features that Volvo has been known for. With a goal of having no auto deaths in a Volvo by 2020, it is clear the commitment to remains strong.
During the drive, I test drove an array of new 2020 Volvos: Volvo XC90 T8-E Inscription luxury SUV, the new V60 Cross Country wagon and XC60 T8-E Polestar performance SUV. But the two that spoke to me most were the Volvo XC90 T6 AWD R-Design and Volvo V90 CrossCountry.
The Volvo XC90 T6 AWD R-Design is the most sport leaning vehicle in the XC90 class. Like the luxury-class T8-E Inscription, the T6 AWD R-Design features a strong, audio system from Bower & Wilkins, along with Nappa leather, but is tuned for driving. 20 inch alloy wheels stick you to the road, while a chilled-out interior design keeps you comfortable and moving.
A big portion of my R-Design drive took place on Canada Route 1 on the way to Kicking Horse Mountain, where the Volvo team secured press the opportunity to drive up the otherwise closed off mountain. I was switched into a Volvo V90 CrossCountry for the drive up, itself quite a powerful vehicle for traversing mountain road, and shared much of the appeal that the XC90 provided but in a more to the floor package, and more affordable in price.
The appeal of Volvo’s new 2020 line is clear for those looking for safety and reliability in an SUV with improvements across their flagship XC90 vehicle that further refine the look - both external and interior - for a class of drive that is looking for subtle luxury. Volvo doesn’t scream hot or hype, but it doesn’t have to: once you're driving in one and experience the handling and countless safety features standard in their vehicles, you’ll understand why millions have been devout fans for decades.