Pieces of the all-new Volvo XC90 puzzle will be revealed progressively over the coming months before the complete picture comes together at its late-2014 unveiling.
Volvo this week gave us an early look at some of the innovative technologies that will debut in its second-generation luxury SUV, including autonomous steering assistance as a safety and convenience feature, road edge and barrier detection systems, and enhanced pedestrian detection and avoidance capabilities.
A company insider told CarAdvice the design of the new Volvo XC90 would become clearer in September, with the Swedish car maker potentially poised to reveal a concept at the Frankfurt motor show previewing the SUV’s new styling.
Our source confirmed the production car’s final design has been signed off, and praised the work of the brand’s recently appointed vice president of design, Thomas Ingenlath.
“It’s a cool-looking SUV that may well surprise some people,” our source said of the new XC90, the first Volvo model penned under the former Volkswagen Group designer’s lead.
“If you look at what Volvo is historically doing over the last 10-15 years, the design stuff has been really ramped up. Volvos aren’t big and boxy like they used to be, and this is another leap forward from that point of view.
“It would be wrong for anyone to have a radical departure from what people know and like and are used to, but by the same token you’ve still got to keep moving.”
The second-gen Volvo XC90 will become the first vehicle built on the car maker’s versatile new Scalable Project Architecture (SPA) platform.
The company has previously said SPA’s added flexibility has given its designers unprecedented freedom to create exciting lines and significantly improve aerodynamics.
“The proportions can give entirely different appearances even though the components used are exactly the same,” said Volvo R&D senior vice president Peter Mertens.
“The comparison between a donkey and a thoroughbred racehorse is an excellent example: each has a head, a body and four legs. But they are perceived entirely differently because of the proportions of their individual body parts and between their body parts.”
The extensive use of aluminium throughout the XC90’s chassis, front structure, doors and powertrains and the switch to a new family of four-cylinder engines will contribute to a weight saving of up to 150kg over the outgoing model, which in return promises benefits in fuel consumption, performance and vehicle dynamics.
Volvo Australia corporate communications manager Oliver Peagam told CarAdvice the new XC90 was expected to reach our shores around the first quarter of 2015, four to six months after its international unveiling.
Peagam described the first-generation XC90 (pictured) as a massive success for Volvo in Australia, where almost 14,000 have been sold since 2003, helping it earn and retain the title of the country’s top-selling seven-seat luxury SUV since 2007.