Volvo’s new XC90 is big, brave and possibly even brilliant. The first all-new model since the Swedish brand was bought by Chinese car maker Geely was revealed in Stockholm on Tuesday.
The seven-seat SUV introduces the new exterior style previewed by the company’s recent string of eye-catching motor show concepts.
In the metal, the XC90 verges on regal, exuding Scandinavian calm and confidence.
The large, vertically slatted grille and distinctive daytime running lights shaped like a ‘T’ laid on its side are features that will be seen on all of the next generation vehicles from company.
Inside, the XC90 is simple yet revolutionary. Volvo’s adoption of a large, ‘portrait’-oriented central touch screen for many controls has almost eliminated instrument panel switch infestation. This look and layout will be adopted by all near-future models.
The XC90 also marks the beginning of the end of Volvo’s reliance on Ford vehicle platforms. The US giant owned the Swedish company from 1999 until 2010, when it was sold to Geely. Volvo developed and engineered an all-new platform dubbed Scalable Product Architecture to provide the basis for all future large models, beginning with the XC90.
Volvo designed the SPA so that only engines with four or fewer cylinders will fit inside it. Although the XC90 is large, all its engines are 2.0-litre fours. The D4 and D5 are turbo diesels, the T5 is a turbocharged spark-ignition engine, while the T6 petrol-burner has both a supercharger and a turbo. All ae teamed with an eight-speed automatic. Topping the range is the T8 plug-in hybrid, which adds the power of a 60kW electric motor driving the rear wheels to the 236kW of the T6’s four driving the front wheels. Volvo promises V8-rivalling sub-7.0 second 0-100km/h acceleration time for the T8, and Prius-beating fuel efficiency.
It wouldn’t be a proper Volvo if it didn’t introduce some notable safety improvements, and the XC90 does just that.
It will be the first in the world to feature an auto brake at intersection system, which prevents the XC90 being turned across the path of an oncoming vehicle when this would cause a crash. The SUV will also come with a seatbelts that tighten automatically when sensors detect that the XC90 is about to run off the road or be rammed from behind.
This SUV is a hugely important model for Volvo, which is counting on the XC90 to lift both the brand’s image and the prices it can charge. A first drive is still months away, but the XC90 appears to have the qualities to do the job Volvo wants done. It’s great to look at and has a seductive interior, plus some innovative drivetrains and safety features. This could turn out to be the most admirable Volvo in ages.