Los Angeles — While the rest of the auto industry was busy polishing their images, Volvo engineers were sweating over drawing boards (actually I think they use computers) reinventing the SUV, for a second time.
Volvo first reinvented the SUV in 2002 when they launched the original XC90. More car-like than the traditional truck-based SVUs, the XC90 took a fresh approach and created a vehicle that revolutionized the segment. It was more fun to drive and much safer than the others, too. The result was an award winning luxury SUV that gave owners an alternative to the dozens of traditional off-roaders.
Literally new from the ground up, the 2016 Volvo XC90 is a clean sheet design from the new modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, to the revolutionary Drive-E and Twin Engines, to the state of the art control systems, to the best seats in the business.
In addition to being comfortable, ergonomically supportive and smaller in volume, the new seats have a multitude of adjustments, so an individual can create their ideal seating positon including adjusting the side bolsters and the length of the bottom cushions. The seats can also massage, heat or cool your bottom side and back. The second row is actually three individual seats that recline and can slide forward or back. Plus there?s Volvo?s integrated child booster cushion available in the second row center seat.
The most interesting new feature is Volvo?s Sensus user interface. The nine-inch color screen mounted in the center of the dash controls audio, navigation, communications and vehicle functions in an intuitive touch system that allows the driver to touch, drag, pinch and use all the other movements those of us with smart phones or tablets use on a daily basis. There?s no dial, touch pad or buttons, only a very easy to operate touch screen. The system responds quickly, too, so you don?t have to wait around for a reaction.
Volvo is breaking new ground with a pair of new engine options.
?The XC90 T8 is a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one,? says Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group.
Combined the motor and engine produce around 400 horsepower and improve 0 to 60 mph acceleration to 5.6 seconds. Fuel economy also jumps to an estimated 59 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). The electric power comes from the battery which is charged using a traditional electric vehicle plug-in, from regenerative braking and from a crankshaft mounted generator. The XC90 T8 can run on electric only with a range up to about 25 miles. A unique feature of the hybrid system is the driver?s ability to select and control various aspects of the power usage or let it work automatically. The T8?s hybrid technology may qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $4,600 and possibly some local and state incentives.
Volvo is entering new territory with the XC90, but it?s also a whole new kind of SUV for the industry and should drive the Chinese-owned Swedish company into the lead on many fronts. The 2016 Volvo XC90 is a ?must drive? for anyone thinking about a new SUV or crossover purchase, or for that matter any new luxury vehicle.