Press Releases

US version: Unique vehicle architecture gives Volvo a competitive edge



  • More space
  • Faster reduction of emissions
  • Very efficient crumple zone area due to the slim engine configuration
  • The Volvo vehicle architecture gives obvious advantages to customers

You could say that Volvo Car Corporation began paving the way for the Volvo XC90 already in the beginning of the 1990s.


The Volvo 850, introduced in 1991, included a new power train concept, which still, well into the new millennium, gives every new Volvo a competitive edge.


The original concept includes a transverse in-line five-cylinder engine, partnered with an extremely compact gearbox. An in-line six-cylinder engine was added with the introduction of the Volvo S80 in the late 1990s.


Three major benefits
While a traditional north-south orientation of the engine requires a longer engine bay, the transverse solution offers the designers more freedom without compromising Volvo’s extremely stringent safety standards.

  • This unique Volvo vehicle architecture makes it possible to maximize the interior space. For the XC90 it means 7 seats in a compact package.
  • The in-line engine has a "warm" and a "cold" side. With the "warm" side facing rearwards, there is only one, short flow of exhaust fumes to the catalytic converter. This means that the emission reduction becomes more efficient.
  • An SUV needs strong low-end torque – Volvo XC90 gives max torque already at 1 500 rews/minute. The in-line engine is ideal for turbo charging, giving the opportunity to tailor the low-end torque for excellent takeoff performance.


"In recent years, this architecture has given us extra legroom in the rear seat of the Volvo S80, more luggage space in the Volvo V70, the dynamic coupe-look of the Volvo S60…and now it’s time for the XC90", says Hans Wikman, Project Director Volvo XC90.


Seven seats where others struggle to seat five
Just like the S60, it has the cockpit forward design. The windscreen and the passenger compartment have moved forward – further than in most other SUVs.


"This means that we can provide added roominess within a given footprint, and the XC90 is compact for an SUV. It is just 90 millimetres longer than a Volvo V70 – and we can seat seven people in a size, where most competitors struggle to seat five. And we still have adequate of luggage space behind the third row", says Hans Wikman.



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.
Media Contacts

For information on how Volvo Cars process your personal data in relation to Volvo Cars Global Newsroom click here.

Volvo Cars Newsroom makes use of cookies in order to optimize your user experience on this website. The cookies on the website do not store personal information. For more information, read our Cookies Policy page.