Our first look at Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) will be on display in Stockholm in two weeks’ time, when the 2015 Volvo XC90 makes its official premiere. To tide us over until then, Volvo released a detail shot of the vehicle’s front end, including its T-shaped headlights that designers dubbed “Thor’s Hammer.”
There’s no sign of Chris Hemsworth anywhere in Volvo’s teaser image, but we do recognize the “Thor’s Hammer” headlight design from the trio of Volvo concepts from this past auto show season. While the Volvo Concept Coupe, Concept XC Coupe, and Concept Estate all featured stylish, more stretched LED running lights, the 2015 Volvo XC90 takes a shortened and more squared-off approach. Next to the “Thor’s Hammer” lights we can also see part of the vertically-slatted grille, a design cue that was prominent on all three of the aforementioned Volvo concepts.
The Swedish automaker has teased various components of the next-generation 2015 Volvo XC90 over the last year, including its interior, which features an Apple Car Play-compatible infotainment system and 19-speaker premium sound system, and powertrain lineup. In addition, we now know that the SPA platform for 2015 Volvo XC90 will include a new integral link rear axle with a lightweight transverse leaf spring. Up front, the XC90 will use a double wishbone suspension. A five-mode electronically adjustable air suspension will also be available.
Volvo claims that the XC90’s new SPA platform, which will roll out to the rest of the brand’s product lineup over time, offers unprecedented versatility and space-saving abilities. Particularly for the top-of-the-line 2015 Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid, the SPA will apparently accommodate the hybrid system’s battery pack without significantly impinging on interior space.
The Twin Engine T8 model uses Volvo’s 2.0-liter turbo- and supercharged Drive-E four-cylinder gas engine paired with a rear-mounted electric motor for a total of 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. The gas engine drives the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-electric range tops out at 25 miles. As for other engine choices, a 2.0-liter turbo inline-four making 254 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque will be used for the base T5 model, while the T6 model employs the turbo- and supercharged 2.0-liter good for 320 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Two turbocharged diesel variants, dubbed D4 and D5, will be available as well; the D4 will be rated for 190 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, with a claimed 47 mpg; and the bulkier D5 will have 225 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque and a claimed 39 mpg.
Active safety and self-parking technologies will play a major role in the new XC90, which will look to put Volvo back on the cutting edge of automotive safety. The new tech includes pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, run-off road protection, intersection crash prevention, low-shock seats and seat frames, pre-tightening seatbelts, rollover stability control, traffic jam assist, active bay and parallel parking with rear-traffic warning, and a 360-dergee Surround View camera system. The entire vehicle is electrically interconnected, with infotainment, safety, and connectivity features all plugged into one another.
No doubt the 2015 Volvo XC90 will be far different than what we’ve seen from the first-gen model, which was first manufactured in 2002 with five- , six-, and eight-cylinder engines. This next-gen luxury SUV will feature roughly 90 percent new components, and its improved safety, technology, and efficiency will point the way for the future of Volvo’s vehicle lineup.
Look for the 2015 Volvo XC90 to go on sale in early 2015 after it debuts in Stockholm in two weeks.