Volvo kicks off the long road back with the new XC90 SUV

Abigail Bassett
Contributor
Motoramic
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2015 Volvo XC90

It's been some 14 years since Volvo last took a big swing at a midsize SUV with the XC90 — long enough for the Swedish firm to have found a new owner in China. That new global managment has finally begun to inject Volvo with enough vision – and money — to make it a luxury player again, and those plans launch in earnest with the 2016 XC90

The new SUV gets some characteristically Volvo visual updates. Headlight design that Volvo calls “Thor’s Hammer,” after the Norse god of thunder, an updated grille and new, more angular body contours, and available 22-inch tires give the car a striking stance. The interior gets even more striking updates: the seven seats can come covered in Napa leather, and Swedish crystal maker Orrefors supplies a crystal-glass gear lever.

Much like Tesla, Volvo has banished the traditional buttons that most of us are used to. The large touch screen offers the ability to mirror either Android or Apple device screens as well as access a number of Internet available options like finding and paying for parking, streaming music from your phone or setting up a WiFi hotspot to run your tablet. You also control climate, and vehicle diagnostics from the touch screen.

Volvo has always been synonymous with safety, and the new XC90 is no slouch. It includes a new “run-off road system” that tightens safety belts if the car senses that it has suddenly gone off the tarmac, and automatic braking that stops the car if it senses that the driver has turned into oncoming traffic.

At the top of the range Volvo will offer its Twin Engine, a supercharged and turbocharged 2-liter engine with an electric motor that delivers right around 400 hp according to Volvo. Volvo’s T6 engine — a supercharged and turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine — will put out 320 hp. Both come paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The First Edition of the new Volvo XC90 sold all 1927 units in just 47 hours online. The XC90 will be in Volvo showrooms as of spring of 2015 — the most important fresh start for Volvo in years.