Volvo have just revealed their future and it comes in the shape of a big brawny SUV which we in India aren't too familiar with but will begin inthe days to come. That's because there is no ignoring this all newXC90, in sheer design terms it's got what every SUV needs, tremendousstreet presence.
This new Volvo sits at the premium end of the market and true to formoffers several innovative firsts for Volvo. The biggest new change isthe lightening of any baggage of the past. You see previous generationVolvo's always carried something away from their previous owners. Sofor the first time in many years this new XC90 is very much a pureVolvo, no Ford and its Premier Automotive Group fingerprints or DNAhave been left behind.
The other radical change is the styling. We're not sure we entirelylike it but I'm sure the are those who would beg to differ. And thatdebate is a good thing because it at the very least means Volvo's doget noticed. There is a new grille leading things from the front andalong with it several new design changes elsewhere. Detailed exteriorflourishes give it the necessary attention it needs as well as elevateit to loftier perch than before.
This new change in position is a bit of a gamble if you ask me,because according to Lex Kerssemakers, senior vice president Volvo Car Group,this SUV could make or break Volvo. It might seem more prudentto have introduced a new XC60 which would have assured them of volumesat the very least. But the intent was to showcase the best Volvo coulddraw from their design, engineering and safety value propositions andthe flagship XC90 became the ideal canvas.
So to complement that change in position you also get what we easilythink are one of the most stunning interior designs to grace a car.With the intent to minimize activity inside this cabin almost all thebuttons on the dash board have been replaced by a single touch screenin the shape of a tablet. It controls all functions and then some. Andjust in case there are those like us who believe touch-screens in acar are an unnecessary distraction, this SUV also takes voice controlto a whole new level.
Another fantastic touch is the crystallized gear knob and thebejeweled drive mode selector and engine start stop button. That lastelement is a fairly large knob unlike the simpler more practical pushbutton found in most cars buts it's just a sensational item to have inyour car that we really shouldn't be complaining.The cabin is spacious and offers seven seats across three rows. Thethird row however definitely is a compromise and we wouldn't want tobe stuck in there for too long. We expect to see a long wheelbaseversion in the immediate future and that we feel should resolve thatspace issue for the third row.
This new XC90 also has a whole new architecture underpinned by what isknown as the Scalable Product Architecture or SPA. It allows Volvo tobuild several permutations and combinations, scaling up and down theirmodel chain at minimal cost.On to the engines and another radical change is the departure ofanything with more than four cylinders. Henceforth all Volvos will bepowered by four cylinder engines and there is some developmenthappening to downsize to three cylinder engines for future Volvos.
The engines India will get is obviously going to be the diesel, butthere is a 185 and a 220PS diesel engine on offer and which of thesemakes the final cut isn't entirely clear yet. All these engines aremated to 8-speed automatic transmissions. The idea here is to reduceemissions and enhance efficiency and a turbocharged diesel makes acompelling case for itself.
And finally there is no ignoring the safety elements in this SUV.There is a host of active and passive safety elements incorporated butthere are also several new features that bring Volvo cars a stepcloser to their goal of not letting a single person die or be injuredin a Volvo, deadlined for 2020.
Another interesting feature is Volvo's idea of cloud computing thatwill bring all of their cars under a single network umbrella allowingquicker and better communication between cars, the company andworkshops. All in all this is Volvo taking their first step towards anautonomous future and in the new XC90, its a big step indeed!