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27 August 2014

This is the brand new Volvo XC90

Time to get excited people: Volvo’s rediscovered its groove in the shape of new seven-seat SUV

Vijay Pattni
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So, here it is. Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for the really brand new Volvo XC90... 4x4s just got interesting.

Why? Because this is an important car, and an exciting one. It won't have escaped your attention that this new XC90 is really quite attractive, with its ‘Thor's Hammer' headlights, chunky, utilitarian silhouette and big, sweeping rear lights.

Then there's the completely new chassis. Underpinning this new XC90 - and all next-generation Volvos - is the Scalable Product Architecture, which is a modular skeleton that allows Volvo lots of flexibility. Things like different powertrains, electrical systems and various tech things are all possible without designers worrying about the fundamentals of wheelbase, overhangs and vehicle height.

The upshot of this new tech is that this new XC90 promises "the agility of a much smaller and lower car", according to Volvo senior VP Dr Peter Mertens. It's still big, though, so we'd avoid booking that year-long pass to the Nürburgring just yet.

It's four-wheel drive, gets a new eight-speed automatic gearbox and full air suspension for the top models. Engines are all of four-cylinder 2.0-litre capacity - you'll be offered a turbocharged diesel with 185bhp and 400Nm of torque (24kpl), or 220bhp and 470Nm (20kpl). There's also a plug-in hybrid with a super and turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine driving the front wheels, with an 80bhp electric motor for the rear axle. Total power sits at a nice, round 395bhp and 640Nm of torque. That's damn near 400bhp, in a Volvo XC90.

It's a clean, neat design inside, too, with a configurable display in front of the driver, a head-up display, a ginormous touch-screen tablet in the centre and a gearlever rendered in crystal. The seats even have tiny Swedish flags sewn into the sides. Which is a nice touch. Needless to say, there's a smorgasbord of connectivity with Apple and Android compatibility.

Oh, and because this is a Volvo, it'll be safe. Massively safe. Volvo tells us the new XC90 gets "the most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated standard safety package available in the automotive industry". Things like automatic braking, self-driving in stop-start traffic, a ‘run off road' protection package, pre-crash protection, whiplash protection, blind-spot info and road-sign reading capabilities are all present and correct.

This is so Volvo can realise its Big Ambition: by 2020, nobody will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo. That's quite a claim. And it's quite a car.

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Tags: xc90, volvo

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