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Design: masculinity and flexibility the Scandinavian way



  • Masculine design – but not macho
  • "Cockpit forward design" – compact seven-seater capability
  • Innovative flexibility
  • Light, space and function
  • Exterior Styling Kit

"Masculine, but not macho; muscular, but not aggressive," is how the new Volvo XC90 is described by Peter Horbury, former Vice President and Chief Designer at Volvo Car Corporation.


The muscular stance is the synthesis of a number of traditional yet unique Volvo features:

  • the upright front with its dark, egg-crate grille
  • the V-shaped hood, further emphasised on the Volvo XC90
  • the broad, pronounced shoulders
  • the characteristic tail lamps


"Nobody should be in any doubt that this is a modern Volvo," says Peter Horbury.


The muscularity of the Volvo XC90 is matched by chamfered corners front and rear, promoting a gentle, non-aggressive impression, helping the vehicle to look more homogenous.


"Cockpit forward design"
Peter Horbury is happy to talk about the "cockpit forward design" in the Volvo XC90, where the passenger compartment has been moved as far forward in the vehicle as possible, and where the sloping windscreen is positioned further forward than in most other SUVs.


This has allowed Volvo to make a seven-seater SUV within compact overall body dimensions. The Volvo XC90 is 4.80 metres long, just 87 mm longer than a Volvo V70.


The tailgate on the Volvo XC90 has a rather sporty angle. This is one way of announcing that this is no regular estate car, since the vertical tailgate is such a well-known design feature of the Volvo V70 and XC70.


The incline of the tailgate also means that the roofline is truncated, making the vehicle look shorter and giving it a thoroughly modern sporty stance on the road.


The tailgate splits into an upper and a lower half. The lower section can be used as a seat or table.


The bumpers of the XC90 seem to embrace the vehicle and the tough, dark coloured, composite panels provide a protective cradle. This emphasises the vehicle’s higher ground clearance and its SUV appeal.


Interior with a Scandinavian flavour
The interior of the Volvo XC90 is characterised by airiness, space and quality materials.


The large glass panels allow plenty of light to enter the passenger compartment, and the cleanness of the layout and interior trim further boosts the feeling of space and elegance.


Facing the driver is one of the car world’s clearest and most ergonomically designed instrument panels.


It is characterised by Scandinavian simplicity of line and functionality: plenty of information from a small number of meticulously designed instruments.


Compared with those found in a passenger car, the instruments and controls are angled slightly up towards the driver’s eyes. Together with the high seating position, this enhances the feeling of control – the single quality that SUV buyers generally prize most highly.


The seats in the Volvo XC90 are designed to allow it to be easier to climb in and out of the vehicle.


Focus on flexibility
The interior of the Volvo XC90 offers what is perhaps the greatest flexibility in the SUV class. Despite its compact dimensions, the vehicle offers generous interior space. The Volvo XC90 can be ordered either as a five-seater or in seven-seater configuration.


No matter which variant the customer chooses, both the second and third rows of seats can be folded down to create an entirely flat luggage compartment floor no less than 1.89 metres long, 1.13 metres wide and with a volume of 2404 litres (SAE).


The middle row of seats, designed like seats in a regular passenger car, has a three-part backrest to offer maximum flexibility. The middle seat in this row can be equipped with an integrated child booster cushion. In a 7-seater the child seat can slide forwards so that it is positioned partly between the two front seats, thus improving contact between the child and the parents in the front seats.


The third row features two separate seats, offering full comfort for children or for adults of modest build.


"Everyone rides in Business Class in the Volvo XC90, nobody travels economy class. It is true that the third row isn’t built for full-size adults, but a modern family rarely needs room for seven grown-ups in the car", concludes Peter Horbury.


Exterior Styling Kit
For owners who want to reinforce the elegant, powerful image of their Volvo XC90 there is an Exterior Styling Kit, which is fitted by the dealer.


It consists of:

  • Running Boards. Fitted along the sides and under the doors. The Running Boards, made of aluminium, protect the sills from denting during tough driving. They also become footsteps when climbing into and out of the car.
  • Side décor. Colour-coded design kit that covers the front wheel arch, lower part of front and rear door and the rear wheel arch. Increases the sporty image of the car and protects the side of the vehicle.
  • Skid plate. Fitted at the rear. Further enhances the rugged image of the Volvo XC90, and highlights the ground clearance of the vehicle.
  • "Aquarius" 17-inch wheels. Sporty nine-spoke aluminium wheels.
  • Roof ribs. Seven rubber ribs mounted lengthwise on the roof.
  • Mudflaps. Mudflaps shaped to fit the wheel-arches of the vehicle. Effectively protect the sides of the vehicle from gravel thrown up by the wheels.
  • Crossbars. Aerofoil-shaped design roof load carriers, which are an asset to the car’s appearance even when no roof load is being carried. Made of aluminium for an exclusive impression.



XC90 (2002-2014), Design
Descriptions and facts in this press material relate to Volvo Cars' international car range. Described features might be optional. Vehicle specifications may vary from one country to another and may be altered without prior notification.
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