Volvo considers its XC90 SUV its most important car, and the 2016 model its most important generation to date as it marks a new era for the company. This generation of XC90 is built on a new platform developed by Volvo, which it calls Scalable Product Architecture.
In many ways, the new XC90 looks like a fairly conventional SUV. Volvo, however, fits it with a wealth of new technologies. In the US, it will be offered in either gasoline or plug-in hybrid form, both with all-wheel-drive.
Volvo has always highlighted safety, and the new XC90 will include the latest driver assistance features. Along with Volvo's City Safety feature, which automatically brakes to prevent low-speed collisions, the car will also hit the brakes to prevent turns into the path of fast-moving traffic.
The base XC90 will come with a 2-liter four cylinder engine using a turbocharger and a supercharger to produce 316 horsepower. The plug-in hybrid version adds an electric motor to the mix, with total output, according to Volvo, of 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. European customers will also get the option of a diesel engine.
These gauges appear to be analog in the photo, but they are actually virtual gauges shown on an LCD. Volvo calls it an "adaptive digital instrument cluster," meaning it will show different themes depending on the drive mode. The XC90 will include a head-up display for driver-critical information.
Volvo redesigned its Sensus infotainment interface for the XC90, adopting a portrait-style touchscreen similar to that in the Tesla Model S. The touchscreen adds infrared sensors so it will work for drivers wearing gloves. Volvo refers to each function shown on the screen as a tile.
Volvo turns to Scandinavian neighbor Nokia for navigation, implementing the company's Here maps. Fellow Swedish company Ericsson provides the cloud platform on which the navigation system runs, suggesting an online system. Unlike the home screen, the navigation tile is expanded in this photo.
Volvo shows the expanded screen for audio from a Bluetooth streaming source. As in other newer cars, the Bluetooth connection allows full music library browsing and selection. A list of recent audio sources are stacked on the left, which could be convenient, but Volvo does not show how a driver browses all audio sources in the car.
Volvo detailed the premium sound system for the XC90, which uses 19 Bowers & Wilkins speakers, a 1,400-watt Harman 12-channel amp, and digital signal processing software from Dirac Research. Volvo notes that the "Concert Hall" audio profile reproduces the acoustic qualities of the Gothenburg Concert Hall in Sweden.
The impressive list of Bowers & Wilkins speakers details seven Nautilus tweeters, seven midrange speakers, four cone woofers, and an air-ventilated subwoofer built into the architecture of the car. One tweeter sits front-and-center on the dashboard, what Bowers & Wilkins refers to as its "tweeter-on-top technology."