The new Volvo XC90 is likely to be revealed full this year, set to go on sale priced from around £40,000 in early 2015. We could see it for the first time at the Paris Motor Show 2014, but for now our exclusive images give us a glimpse at how the car will look.
The second-gen XC90 will be a big step as part of Volvo’s development under Chinese owner Geely, and as you can see the design will be influenced bythe recent Coupe, XC Coupe and Estate concepts seen at various industry motor shows.
Slimmer headlights sit either side of a new grille shape, featuring distinctive T-shaped LED running lights. A smooth crease follows the shoulder line, while kinked horizontal tail-lights give the rear an unmistakable signature at night.
The XC90 is the first model built on the brand’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), which will underpin all future large Volvos. Plus, it’ll come exclusively with the new range of 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel Drive-e engines, and for the first time there will be a front-wheel-drive alternative to the standard four-wheel drive.
Our spies had previously caught the SUV testing (see the gallery above), but as prototypes disguised with XC70 bodywork – although the stretched wheelbase, raised ride height and taller body gave away its real identity. Plus, 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.
We've also had the chance to ride in the new Volvo XC90.
Volvo has yet to release power and emissions figures for the XC90, but in the V40 the 187bhp D4 engine returns 74.3mpg economy and emits just 99g/km of CO2, while the 242bhp T5 petrol claims 47.9mpg and 137g/km. A flagship XC90 hybrid will use a supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine to drive the front axle and an electric motor at the rear for a total of around 400bhp and 600Nm of torque.
All XC90s will get an eight-speed auto, but Volvo has confirmed the SPA platform will support a manual box for use in its saloons and estates. The SUV will also feature class-leading safety tech, with all the passive safety and collision avoidance systems standard on every model. Inside, Volvo’s designers have followed Tesla’s lead with a 9.3-inch portrait screen compatible with Apple’s new CarPlay interface. The sat-nav, audio, climate and car settings are controlled with swipe and pinch gestures, like on a smartphone.
This clever screen tech will allow for a stylish, button-free dash design, so the cabin will take cues from the Concept Estate seen at last month’s Geneva Motor Show. Expect it to carry over the practical seven-seat layout, but with more space in each row as well as an increase in the current model’s 1,837-litre maximum boot capacity.
Volvo has described the Volvo XC90's interior as "most luxurious interior ever," with a host of high quality materials such as soft leather, wood and a handcrafted crystal glass gear lever. Even the volume control switch is diamond-cut. “These details are designed to become the jewels of the interior,” said Robin Page, Volvo Cars’ interior design director.
Sitting at the centre of the interior is a new portrait-orientated touchscreen. This system allows drivers access to apps for things like music streaming and a word-first ‘Park and Pay’ system. It’s all been designed to be easy to use, too.
As ever in a Volvo, the seats are important. ‘Comfort’ chairs come as standard, featuring “an ergonomic shape that resembles the human spine” but there are optional ‘Contour’ versions, too. These offer a bit more lateral support.
The XC90 is a full seven-seater, with three individual seats in the second row and class-leading comfort in the third. Volvo says that passengers up to 5’5’’ will be comfortable in the rearmost seats.
Volvo has released details on the infotainment system in the next-generation XC90 – set to be fully revealed in August – claiming it’s “the most modern in-car control system on the market.” Most features are controlled through a large touchscreen mounted in the centre console, arranged in what Volvo calls “a set of tiles.” Navigation is at the top, with media and telephone further down, with climate controls at the bottom.
Press any of the tiles and the others get smaller, while still remaining on screen. The touchscreen interacts with a heads up display for the driver as well as the digital instrument cluster. Drivers can also use steering wheel-mounted controls to access different functions. Available as part of the infotainment package are a range of apps like internet radio, park-and-pay and music streaming services.
“The XC90 will not only tell you when it’s time to visit the garage but also suggest an appointment for you at your Volvo dealership. The Connected Service Booking application is the first step in making the dealer workshop fully integrated into the connected eco-system,” said Dr Müller.
Volvo has revealed further information concerning the new sound system that will feature in the second-generation XC90, claiming it’s “one of the top audio systems available in the automotive world.”
Developed in partnership with British audio equipment manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins, the top-spec Premium Sound system features a 12-channel HARMAN 1,400 watts amplifier, which feeds into 19 speakers.
Included in this set-up is an air-ventilated subwoofer that has been integrated into the body of the car – rather than simply attached as a freestanding box – in one of the first automotive applications of its kind.
According to Volvo, the Bowers & Wilkins system has been developed for the XC90 using acoustic technology originally designed for facilities such as the Abbey Road Studios in London, and is backed up by sound processing software from Swedish specialists Dirac Research.
This technology manages sound timing and speaker co-ordination, and has also been used to offer a setting that recreates the unique acoustics generated by the Gothenburg Concert Hall in Volvo’s home town.
Also included below the Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound system in the XC90’s range of sound set-ups is a High Performance unit, using a smaller 224W amplifier, only 12 speakers and can be optioned to include the fresh air subwoofer.
The second-generation XC90 will represent a landmark in Volvo’s development under Chinese owner Geely, and as our exclusive images show, it will get a chic new design inspired by the recent Coupe, XC Coupe and Estate concepts.
The crisp new grille is flanked by slimmer headlamps, and bisected by T-shaped LED running lights. The pronounced step along the current car’s shoulder line has made way for a smooth crease, while kinked horizontal tail-lights give the rear an unmistakable signature at night.
Auto Express caught a glimpse of the new seven-seater at a preview 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].”
In addition to the test mules and exclusive pictures, 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.
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.