We firmly believe that the least distracting infotainment systems are those controlled via a rotary dial – as with the BMW X5 or Audi Q7, for example - rather than touchscreens.
Volvo has chosen to go down the touchscreen route. Now, as these systems go it has its plus points, such as its large, extremely high-definition 9.0in tablet-style screen. As with all touchscreens, though, the small screen icons are trickier to use on the move than physical buttons or options selected using a dial controller, and with so many operations incorporated into the screen, the Volvo’s menus can be confusing to work through. Familiarity will at least make that last point a less contentious one. It’s also not quite as instantaneous as the best systems out there in responding to your inputs.
No doubting the fulsome amount of features it offers, though. You get DAB radio, Bluetooth and voice control functionality, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which facilitate using your smartphone’s apps from the screen, are part of a reasonably priced add-on.
A system called Volvo On Call offers on-board Wifi, and you can also download an app to your phone that lets you activate the climate control remotely, so you can get the temperature just right on hot summer afternoons or cold winter mornings, and forward a route map to the sat-nav.
The standard 10-speaker stereo sounds good, but there’s an excellent 18-speaker Bowers and Wilkins hi-fi upgrade, although this will cost you a minor king’s ransom.