Volvo changes the game with all-new XC90

It’s finally here: the all-new Volvo XC90, a car that has long been rumored to help transcend the modern SUV marketplace. And if first glances are any indication, then that is exactly what this vehicle will do.

Let’s start with the exterior, where the new model is a stark contrast to the XC90’s of yesteryear. For the most part, this is a positive, as the newest iteration combines modernity with sleekness to produce something powerful and futuristic, yet still rugged and sexy. Volvo has chosen the all-new XC90 to unveil a new iron mark logo, which is far more prominent than on past models. Attached to a large grill, with a notable diagonal slash across it, the new XC90 seems to wear the Volvo badge with a little more pride than prior models; a sign that the brand is evolving into something truly worth being proud of.

The exterior is highlighted by the headlights, which feature LED daytime running lights in a sideways T-design, earning them the labeling as “Thor’s Hammer” lights by Volvo. It’s a creative touch, but more importantly, it works. From the front and the front three-quarter, the XC90 is a true beauty; it’s a gem in the sometimes bland world of luxury SUVs. The back takes a little bit more getting used to: it’s clunky and awkward from a few angles, but refined and sporty from others. The taillights – traditional Volvo wagon style – work incredibly well, while the angles of the trunk fall a little flat.

If the exterior is a partial victory, then the interior is a championship. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the words “Volvo” and “luxury” mixed about as well as oil and vinegar, but the all-new XC90 is not only a worthy player in the high-end luxury SUV landscape, but a game changer as well. The interior of the XC90 feels like stepping into a Scandinavian penthouse. There’s soft leather and fine wood, there are hand-crafted touches, there are diamond-cut controls, and, most stunningly, the gear level is crystal glass from the legendary glassmaker Orrefors.

But where Volvo really hits a home run with the interior is the control console. Thanks to this touch-based system that is nearly as intuitive and easy to use as an iPad, the XC90 is able to eschew most of the buttons prevalent in SUVs, making the cabin more spacious, more modern, more attractive, and easier to use. The interior is wildly spacious (Volvo claims that passengers up to 5’7” tall will be perfectly comfortable in the third row), and the sound system is stunning: 19 Bowers and Wilkins speakers, and a 1,400 Watt Class D amplifier.

So how does it check out under the hood? Another victory for Volvo. The base engine is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo and supercharged engine which manages to pump out 316 hp. The other option is the twin engine, which combines the base engine with an electric motor: the result is a low emission (60g/km) engine that somehow hits 400 hp (and, it’s worth noting, the XC90 will be the world’s first seven-seat plug-in hybrid).

By now, Volvo has solidly made their name synonymous with safety, so it should come as no surprise that the XC90 is dominant in this category. It is everything you would expect safety wise, and adds an incredible technology that is so far unseen in the auto world: automatic braking if you turn in front of a car that is approaching more quickly than you might expect.

The MSRP is $48,900, and, rather than making you pay for each and every feature, the XC90 comes standard with the navigation package, 19” wheels, and a panoramic sunroof. For those looking for a little more, there are two exterior packages: the Urban Luxury package and the Rugged Luxury package, both of which really add to the deal. And for those wanting to commemorate Volvo’s success, 1,927 First Edition XC90s will be sold (1,927 to commemorate the year that Volvo was founded)

Watch out, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. There’s a new sheriff in the luxury SUV town.

Photo Credit: Volvo

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