New Cars for 2015: The New Volvo XC90
This is an excerpt from the first automotive column at Examiner.com written by Sebastian James, publisher of Hybrid and Electric Car News. Be sure to click through to finish, and subscribe to his posts.
“This is one of the most important days in our history. We are not just launching a car, but re-launching our brand. This day marks a new era for our company. The XC90 paves the way for a portfolio of exciting new cars to come in the following years,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group.
On August 27, 2014, Volvo launched into a new generation of cars and technology. The 2015 Volvo XC90 is the first result of an $11 billion dollar investment in new product architecture, engine technology and vehicle production infrastructure.
This isn’t a normal launch spun by Volvo’s PR people. The 2015 XC90 is their vision of how it will compete in the future. In fact the carmaker is building 1,927 numbered special ‘First Edition’ SUVs to commemorate this turn in strategy.
Why 1,927? 1927 is Volvo’s founding year.
With the new XC90, Volvo introduces a new brand new logo, seen farther above. It’s a much larger badge, or ‘iron mark’ as it is officially called. The new iron mark is bigger, bolder and carries a little more attitude than the average Volvo.
The rest of it is a bigger and bolder as well:
The 2015 XC90 is squat and muscular, with an imposing grille. It sports menacing lower air intakes. Sweden has finally made a car bad guys can drive.
Don’t think so? Compare it to the 2014 model:
The badge looks big on the 2014, but only because the grille is so small. There is no prominent lower air intake. The headlights are conventional, and the hood is much more angular. The roof is tapered and tall. Bad guys would use the 2014 to rob cupcake stores.
What else does Volvo have cooking in the 2015 XC90? Hybrid power. From not just one, but two available ‘Drive-E’ 4-cylinder hybrid power trains assisted by a beefy electric motor. According to their technical specifications, the gasoline hybrid generates 320 horsepower and 400 lb/ft. of torque at 5,700 rpm. The diesel hybrid is weaker on horses, but generates 470 lb/ft of torque. 0-60 times are 6.9 seconds and 7.8 seconds, respectively. Not bad for a 4,450 pound vehicle.
“There are no compromises when you drive an all-new XC90,” said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “In the past you could either have power or low CO2 emissions. But with the all-new XC90 you can have both. With our new Drive-E powertrains, we have created a family of intelligent petrol and diesel engines with power curves that give exciting driveability at the same time as delivering world-beating fuel economy. With seven people in the new XC90, carbon dioxide emissions per person and kilometre are outstandingly low.”
Volvo’s engineers estimate the hybrid assist helps the gasoline engine achieve 31 MPG on a combined road/city test loop. Fuel economy for the diesel is a whopping 41 MPG. These claims haven’t been vetted by European or American regulators, but final MPG numbers are expected to be in this range.
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