Range Rover beware, the all new Volvo XC90 has launched

It’s not every day that you announce the  future of your company, but that is exactly what Volvo did today with the all new XC90. This SUV will be the mainstay of the small Swedish automaker, and its success – or failure – could make or break the company. Fortunately for all of us, it looks like the Swedes have done a bang-up job.

While it was officially launched today, ahead of a planned late-2014 release date, Volvo has only dished up details about the interior. Still, that is more than enough to chew on for the time being, because the XC90 might now have one of the best interiors in the entire industry.

Three rows of seats fit easily into the vehicle, allowing plenty of leg room thanks to a redesign of the seat cushions. Instead of going the easy route to comfort, Volvo has designed extremely thin seats that fit the human body – especially the spine – like a glove. Or, if you prefer: full body catsuit. 

Coming from another automaker, I might be worry that this approach would translate into less comfort, but Volvo knows its way around a seat. The ones in the S60 and XC60 are already the tops in the business.  Besides there are four zones of climate control, two in the front and one for each of the back seats. If that isn’t enough, ventilated heated and cooled seats that massage as you go are also available.

But there is more to the XC90’s interior than just clever Ikea-style seats. It comes with the full range of luxury elements, buttery leather, gorgeous matte wood and even genuine crystal highlights. A crystal shift lever is  normally the sort of thing that only graces a bespoke Rolls-Royce, but now you will be able to get it on your family hauler.

Thankfully the interior doesn’t look too bling-y as a result of all of the luxury touches. Instead as Peter Mertens, Volvos Senior Vice President of Research and Development says: “Our new interior architecture is pure and uncluttered, while still radiating the sophisticated confidence and formality that luxury SUV customers expect.”

For the techies, Volvo has included it’s all new infotainment system. This looks like a big-ass iPad seamlessly integrated into the handsome dash. There are practically no buttons, giving the driver a simple, uncluttered interface. Volvo hasn’t released details about what it will run on this system, but Apple Car Play will likely be an option down the road.

Technically, there are still a great many unknowns about the XC90, but we do know that it will be the first Volvo built on the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture platform. This modular platform will eventually be used across Volvo’s entire product range, so here’s hoping it’s a good approach. Fortunately this platform was designed concurrently with Volvo’s new $11 billion Drive-E powertrain program, and thanks to our reviews of the S60 and V60, we already know that is dynamite.

 A lot remains to be seen before we can even say the XC90 will be a good car, let alone the savior of the brand. Foremost, we need to drive it.  However, if today’s details are anything to go by, the new SUV is off to a good start. The new interior looks to be good enough to cause even Range Rover owners to experience pangs of jealousy, and Volvo appears to be making big strides technically. I for one am excited to see how it all comes together. 


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