We were recently invited by Volvo to attend their exclusive launch of the all new XC90 4 Wheel Drive vehicle at the London Golf Club in Maidstone, Kent. The launch was intermingled with their Volvo World Match Play Championship, so it was all set to be a great day for Volvo.
This has been a keenly awaited update to the current model, which has been available since way back in 2002, although it has seen some changes in that time. The arrival of the XC90 also demonstrates Volvo’s commitment to safety and the use of advanced technologies. Several billion pounds has been invested in steering Volvo’s future, and this was evident from the first glimpse we got of the amazing new XC90.
As part of the privileged few at the launch, we were honoured to witness the passion of Senior Volvo Design Lars Larsson, who gave the presentation. It’s at these sort of launches and releases that you get to know some of the in depth facts, figures and technologies that go into making vehicles exceptional.
A True 7 Seater
You often see claims about the use of an additional row of seats, suggesting they are suitable for large adults to travel in comfort. The Mercedes GL has proven this is possible with their luxury SUV, but many claims by other manufacturers have proven to be less than accurate. The XC90 however is another exception. Its rear seats are not only extremely comfortable, but they can accommodate a 6ft stocky adult with ease.
The Safest Volvo ‘Ever’
When we think of Volvo, we immediately think about their association with safety. The new XC90 is not only following in that tradition, but leading on to a new level.
Volvo have developed a new system named IntelliSafe, which is able to prevent collisions by applying the brakes when an impact is anticipated. These ‘impacts’ are not exclusive to stationary solid objects. With clever use of new technologies and a vehicle equipped with an astounding amount of sensors and cameras, the safety system is able to detect pedestrians and cyclists as well.
The seatbelts have also been developed to make use of the new safety features, tightening to hold and protect passengers if a collision is suspected. And let’s not forget Queue Assist, which monitors the position of the vehicle in front during slow moving or crawling traffic conditions.
Interior Features and Comfort
Of course you can squeeze as much innovation into a vehicle as you like, but first impressions of passengers is always down to the refinement of the interior.
Fortunately, the XC90 doesn’t let us down here either. It has a much more luxurious look and feel than the previous model, making it a real contender for a Chauffeur Driven Luxury SUV. There is more legroom in all three rows than was available in the previous model, thanks to more clever design tweaks. The fit and finish of the quality leather interior was as good as we have come to expect from other market leading marks in the prestige sector.
The dashboard has also taken the modern trend, and whilst its touch screen display is not as large or dominant as you will find in a Tesla Model S, it certainly turns the convenience of such a device into a statement. There just remains a single row of ‘conventional’ controls for things like volume control and hazard switches.
Just when you think you’ve seen safety and innovation push the boundaries as far as they can go in a moving vehicle, something like the XC90 comes along and forces the goal posts beyond all comprehension. This will be serious competition for the current market leaders in the Luxury SUV sector and rightly so. It won’t be bought by people just because ‘It’s a Volvo’ or ruled out for the very same reason. It will be a purchase made on the merits of this Swedish wonder.
And even if the XC90 isn’t for you, you can rest assured that whatever brand you do choose to drive, they’ll need to learn fast from Volvo. The only way to keep up will be to implement this sort of technology in all cars and so we’re sure that we’ll all benefit in the long run.