2016 Technology of the Year Finalist: Volvo Sensus

A Tablet-Sized, Beautiful Infotainment Experience

Anyone used to a modern smartphone or tablet is familiar with touchscreen basics: swiping, pinch-to-zoom, the notion of a "home" button. And usually, responsiveness. Think of Volvo's Sensus infotainment system as taking that experience and planting it right into the center console.

Other infotainment systems have some of what Sensus brings to the table, but virtually none do it as well as this one. Interacting with Sensus is mostly intuitive, and the hardware backing it up is quick. There's no balky transitions or freezing when switching between major functions. In addition, the homescreen displays the most important basic functions as four tiles that quickly expand when you want to interact with them. Want to use a different feature or app? Hit the home button to return to a familiar anchor screen. Swipe left from the home screen for vehicle settings, or right to get into app selection.

The 9-inch touchscreen is well-integrated, nestled into a high-gloss bezel and flanked by two center vents. A few physical buttons are tucked away below, but Volvo gathers most major functions (like climate control) in Sensus alone.

The graphic design is classic Volvo, with a modern dark motif with highlights in a very Scandinavian blue. It's clean and uncluttered, and easy to see important information at a glance. Being able to use the nav system's map in a portrait form factor is a more effective way to get oriented and plan a route.

If there's any criticism to be leveled at Sensus, it's that some staffers found the menu structure of the settings page to be unintuitive, having to hunt to find certain settings.

Volvo XC90 Information

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