Here’s hoping Volvo’s library books aren’t this overdue.
The Chinese-owned, Swedish automaker is just months away from introducing its all-new XC90 SUV. When it debuts in August, it will replace the current model, which debuted in 2002.
That makes it the oldest new vehicle on the market. Twelve years is an eternity in the auto world, where new generations turn over in as little as five years. But Volvo got the ball rolling on its latest model Tuesday, finally debuting detailed photos of its interior.
The new XC90’s interior emphasizes simplicity and elegance over anything else. The center of the dashboard is dominated by a large touchscreen that replaces nearly every physical button on the dash. Only a few actual buttons for volume and climate remain below the screen.
Switching to a screen-dominated layout echoes what many luxury automakers are doing. Not only does it help the inside of your fancy new vehicle look the part, but it also cuts down on cost for the automaker to make one common screen to share across all of its vehicles rather than build and produce each model’s interior separately.
But not all touchscreen systems are created equal. The setup in Tesla’s Model S is the industry leader and basically performs like you glued an iPad onto the dashboard. Meanwhile, Cadillac’s CUE touchscreen system is the dunce of the class and often has users pining for a physical button that actually works.
The rest of the XC90’s interior will be adorned in your traditional lux garb, including Nappa leather and birchwood. One standout is the crystal gear-shift lever made by Swedish glass maker Orrefors.
The new Volvo will be a seven-seater, with all middle and third rows divided into separate seats that fold individually. The third row will offer “class-leading comfort” -- but only for people 5-foot7 and under, so pick your chair accordingly.
Just what powers the new XC90 hasn’t been released yet, but expect efficiency over brute power. A 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission is likely the base setup. Expect it to pump out at least 300 horsepower. A plug-in hybrid version is expected later.