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It has been 12 years since Volvo pioneered the seven-seater SUV, and now there’s finally a new one – the 2015 Volvo XC90. The second-generation family hauler is a big deal for the Swedish carmaker as it is the first step in the brand’s US$11 billion (RM34.7 billion) rejuvenation.

The first production car built on the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), the new XC90 features the company’s new design language, with T-shaped “Thor’s Hammer” headlights flanking the large grille. That grille contains Volvo’s updated iron mark badge with the little arrow finally aligned with the iconic diagonal bar running across the grille.

The sculpted bonnet, sharp crease along the beltline and bulked-up haunches above the wheel arches give the car some added muscle, further bolstered by new wheels measuring up to 22 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, Volvo’s distinctive rear design is updated with slim “tattoo-like” tail lights.

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Two exterior styling themes will be available for the new XC90. The Urban Luxury package features body-coloured lower trim, polished stainless steel details such as the front and rear skid plates and side scuff plates as well as 21-inch polished alloy wheels. The Rugged Luxury pack, on the other hand, has matte black trim, stainless steel skid plates, illuminated running boards and 22-inch wheels.

We’ve seen the interior before – it was revealed a month ago – but it’s good to run through the specifics again. The cabin is said to be the most luxurious for a Volvo to date, with soft leather and wood teamed up with handcrafted details such as the crystal glass gearknob from Swedish glassmaker Orrefors and the diamond-cut start-stop button and volume control knob.

The seats have also been designed to free up space in both the second and third rows without sacrificing comfort. The rear-most seats provide “class-leading comfort” for two passengers up to 170 cm tall.

An important new feature of the interior is the portrait-oriented tablet-like touchscreen, an integral part of the new in-car control system. The display reduces dashboard clutter, controlling everything from music to navigation to even the climate control. Also included are a suite of internet-based services, “state-of-the-art” voice control as well as native integration with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.

The XC90 will be offered with a range of two-litre petrol and diesel Drive-E engines – part of Volvo’s new Versatile Engine Architecture (VEA) family of powertrains – as well as an eight-speed automatic transmission. Two petrol options will be offered: a 254 hp, 350 Nm turbocharged T5 as well as a 320 hp, 400 Nm supercharged and turbocharged T6.

Diesel models include a 190 hp, 400 Nm D4 that consumes around 5.0 litres of fuel per 100 km, as well as a 225 hp, 470 Nm twin turbo D5 that is claimed to offer class-leading fuel consumption of around 6.0 litres per 100 km.

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At the top sits a new “Twin Engine” T8 plug-in hybrid model with a supercharged and turbocharged petrol mill powering the front wheels and a 60 kW (80 hp) electric motor driving the rear wheels. Together they churn out around 400 hp and 640 Nm, while being capable of a 40 km all-electric range as well as carbon dioxide emissions as low as 60 grams per kilometre.

As befits a Volvo, the new XC90 will come with a raft of safety features and will be key to the company’s aim of zero accident fatalities or injuries in a new Volvo car by the year 2020. Two new world firsts include Safe Positioning which reduces injuries if the car runs off the road, as well as an automatic braking function at junctions if the car senses the driver is about to turn into an oncoming car.

All of Volvo’s auto brake systems are now packaged under a single umbrella, called City Safety, and they will all be standard on every new XC90. These features now protect against vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, and are now functional both day and night.

GALLERY: Volvo XC90 at the 2014 Paris Motor Show

 

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