This is the new Volvo XC90, undergoing cold-weather testing in heavy disguise. Though the camouflage hides much of the new XC90’s styling (save for the trademark pronounced shoulderline), we’ve already got a good idea what the car will look like, and the technology on board too.
2014 Volvo XC90 – what’s new on the outside?
The styling: it’s much less curvy and cuddly. The XC Coupe Concept, shown at the 2014 Detroit motor show, is essentially the new XC90 is three-door coupe form – a racey bodystyle red herring to distract from the sharp creases and concave grille details which will appear on your new XC90.
Meanwhile, the split LED headlights and slim rear clusters which wrap around the tailgate are adapted from the Volvo Coupe Concept from the 2013 Frankfurt motor show. Both the Coupe concept and XC Concept have been penned by Volvo’s new design boss: ex-VW designer Thomas Ingenlath.
And what’s new underneath?
Next up: the platform. ‘Modular’ is the biggest buzzword in car manufacturing right now: whether it’s referring to chassis, engines or even infotainment systems. Having multi-compatible parts saves money, cuts build times, makes repairs cheaper – and should make your next car easier to repair.
Volvo’s version of the strategy is ‘SPA’, or Scalable Platform Architecture. The underpinnings can support anything from a seven-seater SUV like the XC90 to a smaller crossover (new XC60) or even Volvo’s next round of 3-series rivals, the future S60 and V60 twins.
There’s also insider talk of an Audi A6-rivalling ‘S90/V90’ saloon and estate family spin-off, and even a sporting coupe to inject some sex appeal into Volvo’s amiable but somewhat vanilla image.
And in the engine bay?
One-size-fits-all again. No more straight-five or V8 engines for the 2014 XC90: it’s all turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pots, in either petrol or diesel form. Flagship models will rely on electrically-boosted hybrid powertrains for extra grunt, rather than thirsty five-, six- and eight-cylinder powerplants.
Any new safety tech?
Loads! Remember, Volvo is pursuing a ‘no fatalities in our cars by 2020’ target, and the new XC90 is at the heart of that life-saving push. So, in addition to now-familiar radar-guided cruise control and anti-lane departure systems, the new XC90 will sport upgraded pedestrian-detection.
Like the new Mercedes S-class and facelifted Audi A8, Volvo’s system can reportedly detect pedestrians and animals after dark, and alert the driver accordingly. The car is able to spot barriers at the roadside and avoid collisions, and there’s plenty of autonomous driving ability too.
Volvos claims the new XC90 is ready to auto-steer around obstacles if the driver doesn’t intervene, and even go off alone and find itself a parking space, if legislation allows.