It’s not all EV at Volvo: XC90, XC60, S90 and other hybrids in line for updates

Volvo is going big on electric cars but it will not neglect its existing range of ICE hybrid models in the coming years with a major updating programme planned

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Volvo has plans to update its combustion-engined mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid models into the second half of this decade, with bosses revealing that they hope to “give some love” to the likes of the XC90, XC60, S90, V90, S60 and V60.

The Swedish brand is gearing up to start production of its first car on the new SPA2 platform – the Volvo EX90 all-electric flagship SUV. That car should be on sale globally by 2025, by which point the current XC90, which uses the older SPA1 underpinnings, would be reaching the natural end of a product cycle that started back in 2018.

But speaking at a press conference where the brand announced record profits for 2023, Chief Operating Officer Bjorn Annwall said that while Volvo remains on target to be a pure-electric brand by 2030, it will bring upgrades to at least some of its original SPA1 vehicles in the meantime.

“Clearly the transition [to electrification] happens at different timescales around the world,” Annwall said. “That’s a strength of Volvo - we have this balanced portfolio. While we are introducing EX90, we still have XC90. And I don’t think they are going to cannibalise each other on sales that much; we’re going to sell more EX90s in Northern Europe, but we’ll sell more XC90s in Eastern Europe; more XC90 in central United States, more EX90 in the western United States. 

“Clearly the XC90 and our SPA1 cars have been very successful; they have strong, timeless design in their appearance right now. We have updated the infotainment with Android embedded, and so forth. But there is a next step you can do on exterior styling, interior design and also infotainment. That’s clearly something we’re are investing into; they’re not huge investments and it’s something we know very well how to do, because we’ve been doing it for 97 years.

“So yes, for some of the key PHEV/MHEV cars, we’ll make those investments; we’ll come back to you on which cars and at what time, but clearly they will continue to play a very important, complementary role in our portfolio.”

Volvo no longer has a combustion engine department, having previously split off that division to form a new company called Aurobay. It’s conceivable that Aurobay, which is also part of Geely, could provide more efficient petrol powertrains to help the likes of the XC90 and XC60 into the second half of the decade, although since Annwall chose to omit engines in his list of potential improvements, the tweaks are more likely to extend to software, non-metal exterior components like bumpers and headlights, and interior finishes and materials.

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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