Volvo hints at more polished XC90 for 2015
|Diana T. Kurylko covers Volvo and various other U.S. import brands for Automotive News.|
It won’t go on sale in the United States until next March, but Volvo has begun to take the covers off the redesigned XC90 crossover.
Volvo released images and a video of the interior of the 2015 XC90, and it is decidedly more upscale than the outgoing model. The crossover, previewed with the awkwardly named XC Coupe concept shown at the Detroit auto show in January, will be formally unveiled in August. It goes on sale in Europe later this year.
The XC90 is the first vehicle based on Volvo’s new modular scalable product architecture -- or SPA -- platform that will underpin all of its larger vehicles. And it means Volvo is gearing up to replace most of the cars it sells today in the United States.
According to Volvo, SPA allows for a roomier interior, improved drivability and “the inclusion of the latest safety features and connected in-car technologies.”
The current XC90 went on sale in 2002 and hasn’t kept pace with the competition. Much of the blame can be ladled onto Ford Motor Co., which owned Volvo but did little to nurture the brand, and then sold it to China’s Geely in 2010.
Volvo says the redesigned XC90 has a clean interior that takes its inspiration from Swedish design, long known for uncluttered functionality and geometric lines. It has three rows of seats for seven passengers and improved interior room -- dimensions haven’t been released.
The next Volvo XC90 was previewed in January with the XC Coupe concept.
Thomas Ingenlath, the Volvo Car Group’s senior vice president for design, summed up the simplicity in a statement: “The most striking feature is a tablet-like touch screen control console, which forms the heart of an all-new in-car control system.”
There are almost no buttons. Drivers access Internet-based products and services the way they use their iPads and iPhones: with a swipe.
The XC90 interior combines wood and leather with a crystal glass gear lever made by Swedish glass maker Orrefors, and diamond-cut controls for volume and the start/stop button.
“These details are designed to become the jewels of the interior,” says Robin Page, Volvo’s interior design director. “They add a bit of exclusive playfulness rather than pure functionality.”
Volvo says the second row has three individual seats that recline. And all seven seats will be covered by improved side curtain airbags.
Information on the XC90’s powertrains and technology will be released in July, Volvo says.