As we predicted after poking around the Volvo XC90 last year, everyone’s favorite Swede was destined for a good year. After picking up the Motor Trend Truck of the Year calipers no one on this staff was surprised the XC also claimed North American Truck/Utility of the Year honors. It’s beautiful outside and in, plus it is packed with technology like semi-autonomous lane keeping, a supercharged and turbocharged engine with an available plug-in hybrid option and an easy-to-learn central infotainment system called Sensus.
Once upon a time Volvos were known as cars that looked like a loaf of bread or, worse yet, a refrigerator. That stigma began to erode when the original S90 sedan, which had clearly been styled exclusively with a t-square, was replaced with the wind sculpted S80 sedan in 1999. The once stodgy brand known also as a leader in safety innovations began to transform while under Ford’s ownership into a fashionable Swedish brand in such a way that comparisons to IKEA were inevitable. Having been sold off to the Chinese automaker, Geely, in 2009, Volvo has recently been under yet another transformation. For 2017 the S90 sedan returns and is nothing short of a stunning executive class car. The exterior features the shouldered fenders inspired by the original S80 sedan and a grille and hood shape reminiscent of the legendary P1800 sports coupe from the 1960s. The interior sports very natural materials (the finish on the woodgrain makes you want to reach out and run your fingers over the surface) and rich hues in the same vein as the also excellent XC90 crossover. The S90 is offered with either a T6 supercharged and turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder or a T8 Twin Engine (deceptively also a 4-cylinder) plug-in hybrid powertrain that delivers up to 410 horsepower. The S90 also makes available a large animal detection system that offers a warning and brake support. This isn’t surprising coming from a company originating from a country where moose collisions are considered a normal driving hazard. With as good as this car looks, we can’t wait to see the much rumored wagon version of this car.
We could have setup a full camera crew and spent a day at the Volvo display diving into the impressive details of the upcoming XC90 crossover SUV, but that will have to wait until this fall when we can get our hands on one of these stunning luxury rides from Volvo. If it seems like Swedish manufacturer has been a bit quiet these past few years you’re not alone, and we can hardly blame them considering the challenges of new ownership and the inability to borrow from a corporate parts bin for any aspect of their new XC90. But after our first chance to sit in and poke around the tastefully restrained yet modern design, we can confidently say Volvo fans are in for a treat. Beautiful textures, materials and technology make up possibly the most inviting cabin we’ve seen come along in years–certainly at the sub-$60k starting price. Couple that to impressive advancements in powertrain offerings, including a 2-liter four cylinder that is both turbocharged and supercharged and can be paired with a plug-in hybrid system to produce 400hp, and you’ll see why Volvo might have been too busy to draw attention to itself the past few years. Color us impressed and put this on your must watch list this year.
Volvo is in the midst of rolling out a stunning range of concept cars to hint at what is coming from the Scandinavian brand in the coming years and this shooting brake style hatch is a good indication of what kind design cues will be applied to the upcoming 2015 XC 90 crossover. We’ll be expecting great things after seeing concepts like this.
Sweden’s lone surviving auto brand chose to highlight a new plug-in hybrid concept vehicle called the XC60 Plug-in-Hybrid. While the vehicle looks like a conventional XC60, the SUV utilizes a 280 hp turbo four with an electric motor. The XC60 has three drive modes. One mode runs exclusively off of electric power, the next is a fuel saving hybrid mode, and the last is a performance hybrid mode with a combined 350 hp. Read more…