Volvo is still keeping exterior pictures of its new XC90 SUV under wraps, but images of the interior reveal a touch of real luxury – a crystal gearshift crafted by Orrefors Glassworks in Sweden, and diamond-cut controls for the stop-start button and volume control.
They are among a number of classy gimmicks that Volvo says will complete one of the most technically advanced cars in the world. Other neat touches add a Scandinavian flavour: tiny Swedish flags stitched into the leather seats and light-coloured wood grain in the cabin.
The Swedish carmaker – now owned by China’s Geely group – is drip-feeding interior images of the SUV before the first official pictures of the complete car are revealed in August.
Prominent in what Volvo says is a minimalist cabin (above) is the large touchscreen, home to a new type of entertainment system that will make its debut in the XC90. The touchscreen is aligned in a portrait layout, in the same way as the touchscreen in the all-electric Tesla S sedan. Expect more digital instruments in the XC90.
The XC90 is the first model to be build on Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) that allows for the use of the latest technology and increased interior space. The design of the seating layout, it says, frees up space in both the second and third rows to make the XC90 a “genuine” seven-seater.
Each row is covered by a curtain airbag and all seven seats have seatbelt pre-tensioners. The second row remains a three-abreast bench, although each seat can be individually reclined or slid fore and aft. As for the third row, often cramped in SUVs, Volvo says passengers up to 1.7m tall will find it comfortable.
Volvo’s interior design director Robin Page (in New Zealand a few years ago when he was interior design chief for Bentley) said the XC90 seats offer excellent comfort and support as well as various seating positions.
“Just like classic Scandinavian chairs, our new seats prove that seats don’t need a lot of thick padding to be comfortable,” he said. “The full seat core has an ergonomic shape that resembles the human spine. A multitude of adjustment possibilities makes it possible for the individual user to create an ideal seating position.”
• The latest spy photos of the XC90 were taken not in Sweden but in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen. Volvo was believed to be testing the SUV’s pedestrian safety systems, although its engineers on site remain tight-lipped. It chose Copenhagen in 2012 to test the ‘city safe’ systems in the V40 range.
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