Press Releases

Design: masculinity and flexibility the Scandinavian way


For immediate release

Design: Scandinavian style with flexibility and muscles


  • Muscular design
  • Vehicle architecture allowing for seven-seat 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, Vice President and Chief Designer at Volvo Cars.


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

  • the upright, dark, egg-crate grille with Volvo diagonal and emblem
  • the V-shaped hood, further accentuated on the Volvo XC90
  • the broad, pronounced shoulders
  • the characteristic tail lamps incorporating design language of the sedans and wagons


"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-aggressiveness, while giving the vehicle a more compact impression.


Smart vehicle architecture


Peter Horbury is happy to talk about the vehicle architecture of the Volvo XC90, an architecture based on the concept of transversely mounted engines.


"The concept dates back to 1991 and the introduction of the Volvo 850, and has proven to be extremely beneficial to us - and our customers. The beauty of the concept is that it gives you more space to work with. This is why we have managed to create a compact SUV with three rows of seats," explains Peter Horbury.


The Volvo XC90 is a seven-seat SUV with compact overall body dimensions. It's 188.9" long, just 3.4" 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 not a regular station wagon, 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 70/30 proportions. The upper section is light and is easy to open and close, while he lower section can be used as a seat or a platform to access roof mounted accessories.


The bumpers of the XC90 seems to embrace the vehicle and the tough, dark colored, plastic panels provides a protective cradle. This emphasizes the vehicle's higher ground clearance and its SUV character.


Interior with a Scandinavian flavor


The interior of the Volvo XC90 is characterised by airiness, space and quality materials. The large glass windows 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 into 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-seat or in seven-seat configuration.


No matter which variant the customer chooses, both the second and third rows of seats, as well as the front passenger seat, can be folded down to create an entirely flat luggage compartment.


The middle row of seats, designed like seats in a regular passenger car, has a three-part backrest with a 40/20/40 split 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 forward so that it is positioned just behind the two front seats, thus improving contact between the child and the front seat occupants.


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


"Everyone rides in Business Class in the Volvo XC90, nobody travels economy class," 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 aluminum, help 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 doors and the rear wheel arch. Increases the sporty image of the car and protects the side of the vehicle.
  • Rear skid plate. Further enhances the rugged image of the Volvo XC90, and highlights the ground clearance of the vehicle.
  • "Atlantis" 18-inch wheels Sporty six-spoke aluminium wheels.
  • Roof ribs. Seven rubber ribs mounted lengthwise on the roof.
  • Mud flaps. Mud flaps shaped to fit the wheel-arches of the vehicle. Effectively protects 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 aluminum for an exclusive impression.
XC90 (2002-2014), 2003
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.