The first Volvo XC90 was launched way back in 2002, but now Volvo has finally taken the wraps off the all-new XC90 model. The large premium SUV is due on sale in the UK in spring 2015 with a starting price of £45,785 for the D5 AWD Momentum model.
On display at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the second-generation SUV is dripping with the Swedish manufacturer’s technological know-how and will become of one the safest, most hi-tech and most economical SUVs on the market when first customer deliveries begin in April.
With longer, taller and lower dimensions than the current model, the new Volvo XC90 will be the first all-new car to emerge under the brand’s current Chinese ownership. It faces off against rival premium SUVs like the BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and Mercedes M-Class.
As well as gaining new owners, Volvo has also embarked on a new design direction with its flagship SUV. Wrapped in sophisticated new metalwork, the XC90’s styling cues adopted from the Volvo Coupe Concept are clear.
The prominent chrome trimmed grille is a first from Volvo and will become a trademark feature on future models, as too will the T-shaped LED daytime running lights. An elongated but chiseled bonnet cuts back into the car’s shoulder line, stretching all the way to the tapered rear lights, exaggerating the XC90’s broad stance.
The bold redesign extends to cabin, too. A new tablet-like touchscreen is the centerpiece, replacing a multitude of buttons and dials with a clean, clutter-free dash. Elsewhere, there are swathes of wood and leather throughout the cabin with handcrafted highlights such as the crystal-glass gear level and diamond cut designs for the starter button and volume controls.
The reveal of the second-gen XC90 isn’t just the re-launch of the SUV it also signifies the rebirth of Volvo. Key to the SUV’s new footprint is the adoption of the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which will underpin a whole new portfolio of models currently under development from Volvo.
It’s lighter, stronger and therefore safer than the platform employed by the current XC90 and also significantly increases passenger space in the second and third row of seats. Volvo claims the rearmost seats will comfortably accommodate adult passengers as tall as 5ft 6in.
The innovative XC90 running gear brings with it a lineup of new and efficient petrol and diesel engines. All will be 2.0-litre four-cylinder units and part of the new Drive-E family.
The 316bhp T6 petrol is both turbo- and super-charged, while the 222bhp D5 diesel is twin-turbocharged, with both engines mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
A new 390bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain will also be offered in the XC90, which combines the 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. Despite being the most powerful variant it’s also the most efficient thanks to CO2 emission of only 60g/km. Its closest rival, the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, only manages 79g/km.
Only all-wheel drive XC90s will be available form launch in April 2015, with a front-wheel drive 187bhp D4 diesel offering arriving September next year.
Alongside the huge leaps forward Volvo has made with efficiency of the XC90, the SUV also boasts two world first safety technologies.
A run-off road protection package tightens seatbelts and activates energy-absorbing technology in the seats when the car detects challenging terrain ahead.
Another system is the auto-braking feature, which cuts in if a driver pulls out in front of on coming traffic. Both safety systems bring Volvo closer to its vision of nobody being seriously injured or killed in any of its vehicles by 2020.
The brand is so confident in its latest product it claims the new XC90 is not only one of the safest cars ever made but also the world’s first SUV built without compromise.
Following its debut in Paris, customers will be able to place orders before the end of the year with a price tag of around £40,000 expected.
Although the new XC90 won’t arrive in showrooms until April, Volvo has announced 1,927 First Edition models will be available to order exclusively online from 3 September 2014. Prices will start at £68,785 with every available option included.
The limited production run number represents the year the Swedish brand was launched, with each model fitted with uniquely numbered tread plates and a distinctive rear mounted badge.
Customers can spec the XC90 First Editions with either the 316bhp petrol or 222bhp diesel engine, both of which being 2.0-litre, four-cylinder motors. The eight-speed automatic transmission also is fitted as standard.
All 1,927 of the First Edition models will be finished in Onyx Black and ride on 21-inch alloy wheels. Inside, amber coloured nappa leather seats and charcoal leather dash with walnut inlays differentiate it from the standard model.
The minimalist dash remains, as does the tablet-like touchscreen, which gives customers access to a range of Internet based services. Like the standard XC90 models, the First Editions will also feature the run-off road and auto-braking safety systems.