Preview: 2015 Volvo XC90

By Bradley Iger

August 29, 2014

After more than three years of development, Volvo has finally unveiled the next generation of the XC90. More than just a simple makeover of the SUV, the XC90 is the culmination of an 11 billion dollar overall investment in new product research and development for Volvo from its parent company Geely, and is the first all-new vehicle Volvo has developed since severing its ties with Ford. Moreover, the XC90 features Volvo's new line of technologically advanced drivetrains, the company's new modular Scalable Product Architecture platform, and a look at the automaker's latest design language in a finalized production form.
Externally, while not as radical and sporty as recent concepts like the XC Coupe, the new XC90 still retains much of the elegance and simplicity that was showcased in concept vehicles Volvo has trotted out over the last few years, punctuated by Volvo's t-shaped "Thor's Hammer" LED running lights. Inside the new XC90 the story of modern and minimalist design is much the same, though Volvo's infotainment revisions, in particular, are more radical than they might appear at first glance.
Taking a page from Tesla's playbook, the center stack is dominated by a tablet-sized, vertically oriented touchscreen which allowed designers to eschew much of the busyness seen in the previous generation's control scheme. Top trim levels of the XC90 will get premium touches like a crystal shift knob made by Swedish glassmaker Orrefors, diamond-cut ignition and volume controls, and an optional 1,400-watt, 19 speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four cylinder motor we first saw on the 2015 S60 and V60 we drove earlier this year will come standard on the new XC90, here generating a rather impressive 316 horsepower. Even more impressive is the top-spec drivetrain, which adds a plug-in hybrid system to the mix, bringing the total output to approximately 400 horsepower (exact figures have not been finalized yet).
Of course, being synonymous with safety, Volvo has made sure to incorporate the latest in accident prevention and passenger protection technologies in the new XC90, including a road departure system that detects if the SUV is on a doomed course and tenses up the seatbelts to protect the occupants, and an intersection braking system that detects if the vehicle is being brought into the path of an oncoming vehicle and applies the brakes accordingly.
Pricing for the XC90 T6 AWD starts at $48,900, and 1927 First Edition models, the number of which signifies the year Volvo was founded, will also be available at launch with a host of premium features at $65,900. Reservations of the limited run model will start on September 3rd.
Check out the press release below for more details on the all-new XC90, and don't forget to keep an eye on the 2015 Volvo XC90 overview page for updates as we have them.
World première: the all-new Volvo XC90
Months of speculation ended today when Volvo Cars unveiled its all-new Volvo XC90, delivering on its promise to introduce a visually striking, premium-quality seven-seat SUV with world-leading safety features, new powertrain technologies, an unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency and a superlative interior finish.
Three years in the making and part of a USD11bn investment programme, the new XC90 marks the beginning of a new chapter in Volvo's history, capturing its future design direction, incorporating its own range of new technologies and utilising its new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) technology.
"This is one of the most important days in our history. We are not just launching a car but re-launching our brand. Today marks a new era for our company. The XC90 paves the way for a portfolio of exciting new cars to come over the next few years," said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group.
The limited First Edition of the XC90 comprises 1,927 individually numbered cars that celebrate the year Volvo was founded, and in a world first they will only be available for sale by digital commerce at
"Anyone wanting to be among the first to own the best SUV in the world will need to act fast. The huge interest in the all-new XC90 indicates that the First Edition will sell out quickly," said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service of Volvo Car Group.
Fully equipped
The First Edition cars, which have uniquely numbered tread plates and a distinctive badge on the tailgate, are powered by a high-performance petrol or diesel engine from Volvo Cars' new four-cylinder Drive-E family. The supercharged and turbocharged T6 has an output of 320 hp and a maximum torque of 400 Nm, while the D5 twin-turbo diesel engine has 225 hp and 470 Nm. The engines are teamed with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Onyx Black exterior and 8-spoke, 21-inch Inscription wheels are combined with an interior featuring nappa leather seats in Amber, a Charcoal Leather dashboard and Linear Walnut inlays.
Volvo's new face
The new XC90 will be the first Volvo car to carry the company's new, more prominent iron mark, which has the company's iconic arrow elegantly aligned with the diagonal slash across the grille.
Together with the T-shaped "Thor's Hammer" DRL lights, the iron mark introduces an entirely new, distinctive and confident face for Volvo's forthcoming car generation.
The XC90's larger bonnet with its new topography, the beltline and the sharpened shoulders connecting with the tattoo-like, new rear lights are other important design signatures that will be mirrored across the range.
To add more visual muscle from the side, the XC90 comes with a range of wheel sizes up to 22 inches.
"The overall impression, both exterior and interior, has a strong connection to the key elements of the Swedish lifestyle: generous space, celebration of light and focus on wellbeing," said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design of Volvo Car Group.
First SUV without compromises
The XC90 is hard evidence of the Volvo-by-Volvo strategy. Its outstanding combination of luxury, space, versatility, efficiency and safety will bring the crossover segment into a new dimension, just as the original XC90 did in 2002.
"SPA has enabled us to create the world's first SUV without compromises," says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. "You get the in-command feel, generous interior space and flexible capability combined with the agility and smooth comfort of a much smaller and lower car. The adrenaline rush that is key to true driving pleasure is delivered by powertrains that offer an unrivalled combination of power and clean operation. And since the XC90 carries the Volvo badge, world-class safety comes as standard."
Unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency
The new XC90 offers a range of two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E engine options, all of which provide an outstanding combination of performance and fuel efficiency.
The top-of-the-range XC90 Twin Engine, which combines a two-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor, offers an unrivalled combination of power and clean operation: around 400 horsepower with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle).
Most comprehensive standard safety package
The all-new XC90 offers the most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated standard safety package available in the automotive industry. It includes two world-first safety technologies: a run-off-road protection package and auto brake at intersection capability.
In a run-off-road scenario, the all-new Volvo XC90 detects what is happening and the front safety belts are tightened to keep the occupants in position. To help prevent spinal injuries, energy-absorbing functionality between the seat and seat frame cushions the vertical forces that can arise when the car encounters a hard landing in the terrain.
The XC90 is the first car in the world with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. This is a common scenario at busy city crossings as well as on highways, where the speed limits are higher.
City Safety becomes the umbrella name for all Volvo Cars' auto brake functions, which are standard equipment in the all-new XC90. It now covers vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians in front of the car, day and night.
"The new technologies will take us a significant step closer to our vision that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020," says Dr Mertens. "Our starting point on safety is the same today as it was when the company was created almost 90 years ago: real-life situations. We study data. We crunch numbers. We innovate. The result is one of the safest cars ever made."
Three focus areas will help Volvo Cars to reach Vision 2020: safety, connectivity and autonomous drive.
"With the XC90, we are taking the first step towards self-driving cars. A new function that automatically follows the vehicle ahead in stop-and-go traffic will provide a radically simplified, semi-autonomous driving experience," said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management of Volvo Car Group.
Luxurious interior
The XC90's interior is the most luxurious to have been designed for a Volvo. The most striking feature is a tablet-like touch-screen control console, which forms the heart of an all-new in-car control system.
This system is virtually button-free and represents an entirely new way for drivers to control their car and access a range of Internet-based products and services. It also helps create an interior that is modern, spacious and uncluttered.
"The new interior is pure and uncluttered, while still radiating the sophisticated confidence and formality that luxury SUV customers expect. The simplicity is perfectly in tune with our Scandinavian design heritage. It opens up generous surfaces and gives us the opportunity to create a modern, luxurious interior architecture," says Mr Ingenlath.
The new XC90's interior combines materials such as soft leather and wood with handcrafted details including a gear lever made of crystal glass from Orrefors, the famous Swedish glassmaker, and diamond-cut controls for the start/stop button and volume control. Craftsmanship has been in sharp focus throughout the development process.
The genuine seven-seater features new, innovatively designed seats that also free up interior space for passengers in both the second and third seat rows. The third row offers class-leading comfort for two passengers up to 170 cm tall.
One of the top audio systems in the world
The XC90 features one of the top audio systems available in the automotive world after Volvo Cars audio experts joined forces with their counterparts at the renowned British audio equipment company Bowers & Wilkins.
The top-of-the-line system in the XC90 features a 1,400 Watt Class D amplifier and 19 Bowers & Wilkins speakers. It also includes one of the first air-ventilated subwoofers in a car. Integrated into the car body, it turns the whole interior space into a giant subwoofer.
The latest sound-processing software has ben used to manage the timing of the sound and co-operation between the speakers. This brings the emotional experience of a world-class live performance into the car.
Volvo Car Group in 2013
For the 2013 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 1,919 MSEK (66 MSEK
in 2012). Revenue over the period amounted to 122,245 MSEK (124,547 MSEK), while net income amounted to 960 MSEK (-542 MSEK). Global retail sales for the year amounted to 427,840 (421,951) cars, an increase of 1.4 per cent compared to 2012. The operating profit was the result of cost control and strong sales and was further tangible proof of Volvo Car Group's progress in implementing its transformation plan. For the full year 2014, the company expects to stay in black figures and predicts to record a global sales increase of a good 5 per cent.
About Volvo Car Group
Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world with sales of 427,000 in 2013 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.
As of December 2013, Volvo Cars had over 23,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company's main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium) and Chengdu (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China)