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.
Producing 394bhp and 650Nm of torque, the range-topping ‘Twin Engine’ model has fuel economy and CO2 emissions of around 110mpg and 60g/km – that’s some way behind the 148mpg, 44g/km Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV but then the Volvo has a 190bhp power advantage.
Turning the front wheels is a 2.0-litre petrol engine from Volvo’s new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family, but to give the feel of a much larger-capacity engine a supercharger boosts low-end response, while the turbo takes over as the revs build up. Spinning the rear axle for four-wheel drive is a 79bhp electric motor, fed by a battery pack that runs along the spine of the car.
Badged ‘T8’, the plug-in XC90 can be switched between no less than five different driving modes – Off Road, AWD, Pure, Hybrid and Power – selectable via the Tesla Model S-style portrait-orientated central touchscreen. Select Pure and an electric only range of 25 miles is possible before the engine kicks in to help propel the car and charge the batteries.
The only other engine choices are a pair of 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E diesels, including the 223bhp, 470Nm D5 and the 187bhp, 400Nm D4 returning around 47mpg and 56mpg respectively. An Eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive will come as standard.
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 full details on the safety and parking assist systems that will be fitted to the new XC90 luxury SUV, set to debut later this year. It claims the seven-seat SUV will be one of the safest cars on sale, with two groundbreaking world firsts in terms of accident prevention.
One involves ‘run-off incidents’, when cars leave the road due to driver error or bad weather. The XC90’s system automatically tightens the front seatbelts, while the seats are designed to minimise spinal injuries if the car encounters a hard landing.
The other world first is a ‘junction brake’ system that stops the car if the driver tries to pull out in front of an oncoming vehicle at a junction. Like the Mercedes S-Class, the XC90 also knows if it’s about to be rear-ended, and will flash its tail-lights to try to alert the inattentive driver behind. Plus, the car tightens its occupants’ seatbelts and applies its brakes to cut the whiplash risk.
On-board sensors monitor the risk of a rollover during high-speed changes of direction. If you’re near the limit, the XC90 limits engine torque and applies the brakes to slow the car. If it’s already too late, curtain airbags for all three rows of seating immediately inflate.
Also available in the new XC90 is automatic city braking, which recognises not just other vehicles, but cyclists, pedestrians and animals, too. An advanced exposure camera means this works at night, as well as in daylight.
Meanwhile, road sign recognition is standard, there’s blind-spot monitoring and automatic parking, and the XC90 will also drive, brake and steer itself in slow-moving traffic.
The suite of safety technology is a major part of the brand’s ‘Vision 2020 policy’, which boldly states that no occupant should be killed or seriously injured in an accident in a new Volvo by the year 2020.
Click through to page two for more details on the new XC90, including more safety innovations, exclusive pictures and infotainment details.