The XC90 has always been a great way to carry lots of children, airbags, and things around. Problem is, it’d getting quite old these days. Alas, there’s now a new Volvo XC90! It’s been what… 12 years since the first XC90 was launched and we’ve now just got a second generation.

Think about that for a second. In 2002 the Mercedes ML and BMW X5 were still in their first generation. The Range Rover was in it’s third. The Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 didn’t even exist! Today the ML and X5 are in their third generations, the Range Rover in it’s fourth, and the second-gen Cayenne has just had a facelift. But as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
Volvo have spent several years and billions of Krona getting it’s new generation cars ready and the XC90 spearheads this development. It’s not just a next generation XC90, it’s a leap in generation for Volvo’s cars.

It features a new styling theme that’ll carry on to the rest of the Volvo range in the near future. It still looks like a Volvo with it’s minimalist Swedish lines but with a bit more bling and modernity. It features new ‘T’ shaped daytime running lights which Volvo have so nicely named as “Thor’s Hammer”. As a Marvel fanboy this makes me incredibly giddy.
I’m not so sure on the new grille though, it’s very… Blingy. I guess the big wigs at Geely had something to do with that. Whatever. Maybe it’ll grow on me. A shame as the rest of the car’s design is beautifully elegant and restrained. To be brutally honest I’m not all that excited by it. Maybe it’s the beige colour or maybe I had my expectations too high. It is a Volvo after all. But it is a handsome looking thing.

Gone are the crossover looks of the old XC90 and in is a more blunt and boxy SUV shape. The old XC90 managed to look good even right up to the end of it’s lifecycle. This new one certainly looks like part of the Volvo family and like nothing else on the road. It’s got stance and presence. And it definitely looks more posh. In black you’d think a drug dealer or a dotcom millionaire was behind the wheel. At the rear are the usual vertical Volvo taillights but with a new twist. They’re thinner and cooler than before.
This design revolution continues inside. It’s very IKEA-chic in there. Smooth designs and minimal buttons. Volvo have opted to go against the German rotary controller and instead have everything controlled via central touchscreen so there are literally very few physical buttons on the dash. Thankfully you still get 7 physical seats and what appears to be enough room for a dog or two.

Available as an optional extra are Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto system, the XC90 being the first Volvo to have these available. Connectivity is one thing but if you don’t have a decent sound system for your music to go through then what’s the point? Volvo have obviously asked this question because in the XC90 you may choose to have a 1400W 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system for all your ABBA tunes. Mamma Mia! There’s even an air-ventilated subwoofer integrated into the car’s body which that turns the air inside the cabin like a massive subwoofer. Sounds a bit like Mercedes’ FrontBass?
Volvo have made bold claims about the new tech in the XC90. It comes with two new safety tech. One is a “Run Off-Road Protection Package” which tightens seatbelts and gets all the safety nets ready when it detects the driver has lost control and gone off road. Which is confusing in a 4×4. Oh wait I forgot, this is a Yummy Mummy car. They’d never dare take this off road! Even if they do the new seats feature energy absorbing frame and cushions to prevent spinal injuries.

Another new tech feature is a “Auto Brake at Intersection” feature which will brake the car if it thinks you’re about to cut off a car. The City Safe system also gets nighttime capabilities which means it’ll stop you from hitting people, animals, and cyclists alike at night. Good. Volvo hopes no one will die or be seriously injured by a Volvo by 2020.
The XC90 sits in Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) which will go on to underpin future models too. There’ll be a range of Drive-E engines available running on petrol or diesel fuel. At launch there’ll be a D4 and D5 diesel and T5 and T6 petrol. The T6 petrol is particularly noteworthy as that is both turbo and supercharged resulting in 320bhp and 400NM of torque.

However I’m more interested in the range-topping T8 model. It takes the 2.0-engine from the T6 and pairs it with a 80bhp electric motor powering the rear wheels. Combined power is around 400bhp yet it only emits 60g/km of CO2. Imagine that powertrain in something like a V60! All XC90s will come with a new 8-speed auto and will drive either the front or all four wheels.
It’ll go on sale in Europe sometime during the Spring next year and is expected to cost in the €40-50,000 price range. That puts it in around the same price range as the X5, Range Rover Sport, Q7, ML-Class, and Cayenne. So…. What will it be? Would you have the XC90 over it’s rivals or would you prefer something else to drive up and down suburbia?

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Ken Saito
Words cannot begin to describe how much I love cars but it's worth a try. Grew up obsessed with them and want to pursue a career writing about them. Anything from small city cars to the most exotic of supercars will catch my attention.


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