Chickdriven Tested: Surviving the holiday rush with the Volvo XC90

Not just for its safety features, the Volvo has evolved into a more trendy and sexy look.

We all have different opinions and priorities when buying a vehicle.  Usually for men, they look at the more serious things like engine displacement and design of the vehicle. They sometimes sacrifice things women would feel important in buying a vehicle like the overall look. Oh yes, remember those big bad rims and cut shock-absorber springs that make you feel riding a kalesa instead of a car? Well, again, everyone has different priorities, which is why we are introducing the Chicdriven Test. Below are the different criteria used to test a vehicle and a quick explanation of the test.



Storage: Nothing sours a good shopping trip like when your purchases do not fit in the car. As a multitasker, we women tend to do everything in one trip, thanks to our multiple and simultaneous intelligence. Men are somewhat single-minded in a task so storage usually only goes as far as if their golf clubs can fit. While for women, it can go as far as grocery, plants, furniture, etc. Can it handle regular grocery purchases or several big-ticket items bought on special times of the year? Let me call this the Christmas Raffle level. Or is it good enough for regular holiday fares like the mother of all storage tests: The S&R Sale?

Ride:  Let’s face it, our men often pester us to dress up faster and we’re forced to put on makeup in the car. How we are able to put makeup on as the passenger tests the ride. The test is done on the same route (Alabang-Daang Hari-Cavite) at speeds of 60-80 kph. Test is done by several individuals with different car makeup skills. The levels are: day makeup (usually of big-strokes makeup); night makeup (more tricky applications which requires blending and precise strokes). Special mentions are false eyelashes (requires a precise hand and a stable ride with minimum body roll), liquid eyeliner (requires the most precise strokes, the best damper/shock absorbers).


Interior Space:  How comfortable is the inside cabin of the vehicle? Is it good for Carrie & Mr. Big (child-free couples), Pro- RH bill advocates (1-2 kids max) or anti-RH bill advocates (3 kids and above)? We will talk about car seats, strollers and yaya space in this section.

Other things that we will tackle are fuel economy, look and accessories.

The Volvo XC90

My Christmas ride was a 3.2L gasoline-powered Volvo XC90. I rode it for several shopping and grocery trips, my doomsday preparations, and it almost made it to a Christmas raffle level, but it just couldn’t fit the washing machine. It was a good companion on the crazy traffic jams last-minute shoppers had to deal with. We used to own an old Volvo when I was in high school, so I was familiar with its ride, accolades, claim to fame and shortcomings. When you buy a Volvo, you buy safety. It used to come in such a boxy design that when it comes to looks … well let’s just say they are really safe.

Come the modern era, the design of the Volvo has evolved into a more trendy and sexy look. You still buy it for safety, though, especially (in the Philippines) in a country badly needing nationwide lectures on road safety. The XC90 has the Blind Spot Assist, there are two warning lights to let you know there is a car beside you and a Park Assist Warning when backing up. I would, however, opt for the park assist camera, which comes in extra. I think this is a big help for women drivers. They have the usual passive safety stuff like airbags everywhere and collision bars in places you need them.

The makeup test

Driving the XC90 had a sturdy feel. The vehicle felt no lag or heaviness while driving; it is responsive enough when you step on the throttle.  Handles well on long-distance drives.

The seats are also very comfortable giving you ample elbow space while driving and taking a nap in the back. The interior space, which actually seats seven people comfortably, has a smart and easy, one-hand middle chair removal for backseat access (need this when your other hand is preoccupied with bags or a baby and you need to slip in your two other offsprings in the back). There is an indicator where the car seat should be placed, which for me is very helpful.


Doing the ride test, doing the night makeup was easy, especially with the lighted vanity mirrors and a good seat and mirror distance ratio. It can reach liquid eyeliner level, but the person needs to be more of an expert “in car makeup.” We weren’t so lucky with the false eyelashes.

Things I really like with the Volvo XC90:

1. The seats—luxurious and really comfortable

2. The look—I’ve always liked the look of the Volvo. Stands with a lot of substance and trendy enough to look cool.

3. The rid—sound and solid. You really feel safe.

Things I am not so cool with the Volvo XC90:

1. Dashboard and accessory panel needs updated dials.

2. The Volvo is good for a long-distance drive but it is not the most fuel-efficient drive (as it was a 3.5L gas-powered version). There is, however, a diesel version.

So it all boils down to priorities. I would definitely think the Volvo is a strong option especially for family cars because of its safety heritage. It’s like buying a helmet; don’t scrimp on it because … well it’s your head.

Volvo is distributed by Viking Cars Inc.

For comments and suggestions, please email me at [email protected]; like  us on Facebook/chicdriven or follow us at twitter @chicdriven.

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