The new Volvo XC90 is expected to be revealed this year, and will likely go on sale in early 2015, priced from around £40,000. We expect to see the car for the first time at the Paris Motor Show 2014.
Some teaser shots from Volvo give us an idea about how the car will look. And now our spies have snapped a test mule that gives us our first idea of the car's proportions.
Our spies have previously caught the SUV testing, but as prototypes disguised with XC70 bodywork – although the stretched wheelbase, raised ride height and taller body gave away its real identity.
Now, the XC90 has been spied winter testing in its native Sweden. This mule shows that the car will be similar in size to a BMW X5. It's likely that this test car has been undergoing calibration tests for the new ESP system, given the rollcage and racing seats visible inside.
New Volvo XC90 design
In addition to the test mulese, a selection of teaser images released by Volvo reveal aspects of the new XC90's styling. The Volvo’s looks will be heavily influenced by the Volvo Concept Coupe that was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, as well as the Volvo XC Coupe revealed at the Detroit Motor Show.
The XC Coupe is a design study that gives us a glimpse in to the future styling of the manufacturer's SUVs and estates. The concept doesn’t directly preview a production model but it shows Volvo's SPA architecture, first featured on the Concept Coupe at Frankfurt but which will eventually underpin larger models from the S60 upwards. It will debut in production form on the new XC90.
As you can see from the teaser pics, the nose of the XC90 is dominated by Volvo’s new floating grille. It’s much bigger than the Concept, and sports an enlarged version of the trademark Volvo logo and iron mark.
Each side of the grille the XC90 will get new headlights that feature T-shaped LED daytime running lights. What’s harder to make out is the new bonnet design. This is very simple and features a broad flat surface with scalloped areas on either side, intended to show how solid the front of the car looks.
The final front-end feature shared with the Concept is the pair of upkicked strakes in the bumper. These are inspired by the cow horn bumper of the original sixties P1800 coupe.
At the rear, the Concept has C-shaped LED tail-lights. But for the XC90, which has vertical lamp units, this has been reinterpreted to give a sort of tattoo-like effect.
New Volvo XC90 interior
Volvo’s senior vice president of design, Thomas Ingenlath, has confirmed to Auto Express that the XC90 will feature an iPad-sized central touchscreen in the middle of the dash.
This means the XC90 won’t require many buttons, as the various functions will be controlled via the touchscreen. Ingenlath added that this means there will be more budget to allow the buttons that are left to be made from a posh, glossy finish.
Volvo’s Sensus Connected Touch infotainment system will also be available on the XC90. This Android-based system uses apps like Spotify music streaming and TuneIn internet radio, as well as full web browsing, Google maps navigation, weather information and mirroring functions from an Android or Windows smartphone – although not Apple’s iOS phones as yet. Sensus Connected Touch also allows the downloading of approved apps through Volvo’s Asteroid marketplace.
New Volvo XC90 safety technology
The XC90 is set to be one of the safest cars on the road when it launches, and will feature some all-new safety technologies. Volvo claims that the new SPA platform will allow it to reinforce its focus on safety, with the aim of achieving no fatalities or serious injuries in a new Volvo by 2020.
The safety cage of the SPA architecture is constructed from a mix of different steel grades, increasing its strength and rigidity. Adaptive cruise control with steer assist will also be introduced on the new XC90.
Smart seat belt pre-tensions, which increase the retention before and during a collision, will be fitted alongside new camera, radar and sensor technologies helping detect and prevent accidents before they occur. The new features also include detection and auto brake for large animals and pedestrians when driving in the dark.
The XC90 will also get the pedestrian airbag from the V40, plus active high beam headlights, which detect oncoming vehicles ahead and deaden an area of light so as not to blind drivers, while keeping the main beam on.
New Volvo XC90 engine technology
Volvo has confirmed that the XC90 come with the option of the highest-power version of the firm’s new in-house powertrain.
It’s the same unit that features in the Concept Coupe – an all-new alloy 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Its lower revs are boosted by a supercharger, while a large turbo kicks-in at 2,300rpm. It produces 302bhp, which can be boosted by an electric motor on the back axle for a total output of around 400bhp and 600Nm torque.
Volvo has also confirmed it is working on a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which will also be used in the Volvo V40 later in its life.
And we know that the XC90 will get an innovative new technology for all its diesel engines.
The system is called i-ART and replaces the fuel pressure sensors in the common rail with a small computer fitted to each cylinder, which controls fuel injection and monitors exactly ho much is needed for each combustion cycle.
The extra precision this offers means this new range of four-cylinder engines will be much more efficient than before but the technology also boosts power as well, and the new Volvo XC90 will also use an eight-speed auto for the first time.
Derek Crabb, Vice President of Powertrain engineering at Volvo was reported as saying that this “was the second step in the diesel revolution” and it would also make the current range of six and eight-cylinder diesels “look like dinosaurs”.
The new car marks a landmark in Volvo’s development under Chinese owners Geely, and is the first model that is built on the company’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA). This modular platform will underpin all future large Volvos including the new S60 and V60 models, as well as replacements for the current V70 and S80.
That’s not the only first, though. The XC90 will also debut Volvo Engine Architecture – a new range of four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol and diesel engines designed to fit into one engine installation, whatever the model.
Hybrids and plug-in hybrids will be part of the new four-cylinder Volvo Engine architecture programme, with the plug-ins reserved for bigger models.
Petrol engines will produce from 140 to 280bhp, with diesels producing 120 to 230bhp.
Auto Express caught a glimpse of the new seven-seater at an event at Volvo’s Gothenberg HQ. The front was dominated by an oversized, upright Volvo grille and large ‘iron mark’ badge - similar to the one shown in this design sketch released in 2011 - while from the side, it was more reminiscent of the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg in size.
Volvo’s Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Peter Mertens, told Auto Express, “The new car will be only slightly bigger on the outside, but with more space inside. The look will be a development of the latest Volvo designs, but won’t draw too much from the Concept You car [shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011].”
Mertens also confirmed that the XC90 will shed around 150kg compared to the previous model, with savings made from the use of four-cylinder engines and the new Scalable Platform Architecture. There will be no V6 or V8 models offered.
SPA uses lightweight high strength materials such as boron steel – a material pioneered by Volvo. The platform can be stretched length-ways or width-ways, meaning long wheelbase cars will be easier to engineer, although it’s unlikely we’ll see a stretched XC90.